Decisions Blog

Archive for May, 2010

“What they really, really want”

A colleague just pointed out to me an article on stock management in the CILIP Gazette dated 28 Jan. written by Susan Wills , Stock Development Manager at Kensington and Chelsea. It contains some very good ideas:

  1. monitoring reservations as a clue to demand,
  2. monitoring supplier selection with an annual update of specification in the light of a stock audit
  3. Use of a council geo-demographic service (Mosaic) to analyse borrower postcode distribution

More important than this however, Susan Wilks describes a management culture predicated on data rather than opinion. It contains the classic line:

“We need to be much more proactive in the way that we respond to customers by considering what information we can use to improve predictions of what they might want – before they ask us”

A brilliant article. It is on page 4 of the Gazette.

Self Service Terminal Reporting for Talis Bridge Pro

Self Serve 1 In October last year I blogged about the use of Talis Decisions to monitor the usage of Self Service terminals in Libraries. These devices are expensive and managing them effectively is important.

We are in the closing stages of developing and testing a number of standard reports very much along the lines of last October’s posting. This suite of reports is currently being beta tested and it is hoped that they will be available in the next few weeks for Talis Bridge Pro users to install and run. Please contact if you would like to be advised when these Talis Decisions reports become generally available.

Note that the first release will be for Talis Decisions XI R2 (given the number of libraries still using this version). A release for XI R3.n will follow shortly thereafter.  The package contains:

  • A set of 11 pre-written Talis Decisions reports as a BIAR file
  • Full step-by-step instructions for installing and running the reports
  • A user guide designed for non technical staff using the reports
  • A couple of image files used to embellish the reports visually

The reports are designed to be distributable as-is, but because they are just written in the normal Talis Decisions environment, it is easy to modify colours, graphics, chart types and/or remove unwanted reports:


The full documentation of installation was intended to make it easy for libraries using Talis Bridge Pro to install and run the reports themselves: but as ever we can structure consultancy projects to assist in this process. Speak to your Account Manager if you think you may require this kind of assistance.

Talis Decisions Days

Over the last couple of months we have had a couple of Open Days at the Talis offices focussed on Talis Decisions. These have been well attended – there must have been 35 – 40 people attending across the two events. From the feedback we received afterwards, the events also appear to have been much appreciated by those who came.

For me the most interesting part of these days has been the reasons folk have given for attending. For many there seems to be a desire to get more out of Talis Decisions. The kinds of things people have been saying are:

  • “…come to see if what we are doing is right”
  • “…looking to pick up tricks for using it – been using it the same way since it came out…”
  • ”…don’t feel we are getting the best out of it…”
  • “…looking for hints and tips…”
  • “…want to understand what more can be done in Talis Decisions than in the earlier [v5i] versions of Business Objects…”
  • “…know we aren’t using it to its full extent…”
  • “…interested in worked examples…”
  • “…want to know how to get more out of it…”
  • “…like to reduce our use of Excel for management reporting…”
  • “…want to understand the kinds of things it will do…”

Accordingly as part of the day, there was a top-to-bottom worked example around stock management and Brian Crampton did a “clinic” on report authoring based on some of the questions raised by attendees. We are also planning to supplement the existing Training videos with a 2 or 3 additional ones that look at Talis Decisions from that slightly higher level of “what kinds of things can you do with it” rather than just “this is how you create a chart, build a variable or schedule a document”.

If you attended one of these days, we would be interested to know whether what you learned has turned out to be helpful in practice. If you didn’t, attend would this kind of event be something that you would hope to attend if we held further ones in the future?