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Scheduled reporting

Report Scheduling requires a subscription to Rational BI Professional.

Introduction

Scheduled reporting makes it easy to stay up-to-date with the latest insights from your reporting. By setting up a schedule, Rational BI will refresh your report at the designated times and dates, take a screenshot and make a PDF copy and distribute it to all subscribers in a convenient format that doesn’t require them to be logged in to Rational BI to consume the data.

This type of reporting is especially useful for users that may not otherwise be using data and by delivering the report and insights directly to users you can ensure that everyone can have the latest data in front of them, right when they need it.

Setting up a new schedule

To set up a new schedule, navigate to the report you would like to deliver and select Scheduled Delivery from the triple dot menu in the header bar.

Name:

Enter a name for the new schedule. The name will be used to identify the schedule in management screens and will not be shown to recipients.

Recipients:

Enter a comma-delimited list of email recipients. If you would like to distribute the report to a large number of recipients, it may be a good idea to create a distribution list in your email system and send the report to the distribution list.

The report emails will include a link to unsubscribe from the scheduled delivery. The schedule will be paused when the last recipient unsubscribes.

If you send the report to a distribution list, all recipients will be unsubscribed from the scheduled report if any of the recipients uses the unsubscribe link included in the email.

Subject:

Provide a subject line for the email. This should ideally be descriptive of the contents of the report. Rational BI will send the report with the user that initially created the report as the sender. If you would like to change the sender to another user, recreate the schedule from that user.

Email contents:

You can optionally provide text to be included in the body of the mail. If you provide any text here, it will be shown before the screenshot of the report.

Delivery time:

Indicate the time of day you would like the report to be sent.

The time of day is calculated based on the time zone of the account. To see or update the account time zone, navigate to the administration menu and select the account settings menu.

The delivery time is the earliest time the report will be refreshed. The report delivery may happen at a later time depending on several factors such as:

  • The time it takes to fully refresh the report. The system will allow several minutes for the report to refresh fully but may cancel the refresh if the report does not complete within a reasonable time. Errors will be indicated in the schedule history.
  • Delivery latency. When sending to email recipients, the intermediate systems may require some time to handle and forward the report to recipients.
  • Schedule queueing. Rational BI maintains a queue of reports to refresh in order to maintain an acceptable load on the various systems involved. For example, remote SQL connections have a maximum allowed concurrency in order to protect remote database servers from overload. If the queues are full, reports will wait for open processing slots.

Rational BI makes an effort to always deliver reports with minimum latency and provides sufficient concurrency to ensure that it is not the bottleneck in these scenarios while simultaneously protecting remote systems.

To improve performance when scheduling multiple reports using the same remote database connections, it may be helpful to stagger the delivery schedules in order to balance database load.

Delivery Date Selection

Select the days when the report should be delivered. Rational BI provides rich options to set the delivery schedule based on your preferences. In cases where delivery schedules can’t be expressed using the provided options, multiple schedules can be set up to complement each other.

Create the schedule by clicking on Set Schedule.

Managing your scheduled reports

To manage your reports navigate to the home page and select the Schedules section. The schedule list contains all schedules created within the account.

To inspect or edit a schedule select it from the list.

The schedule overview page

Schedule information and status can be found on the schedule overview page. The left part of the screen shows a view of the report as it was rendered when it most recently published.

The right side of the page indicates the type of the schedule as well as the owner of the schedule. The report will be delivered on behalf of this user. To change the owner, delete the schedule and recreate it under the desired user.

Schedule summarizes the delivery schedule in text form. To change the schedule, use the Change Schedule button on the delivery tab.

Status indicates when the report was most recently delivered as well as when it is next scheduled for delivery.

Updating the list of recipients

To update the list of recipients, edit the list on the delivery tab. Each recipient should be separated with a comma (,).

Unsubscriptions, complaints and bounces

Emails will be removed from the recipient list in response to certain events:

Unsubscriptions

When a recipient clicks on the Unsubscribe link in the email, the corresponding email will be removed from the recipient list, and the event is noted on the History tab.

Bounced emails

Emails can bounce (fail to deliver to the intended user) for multiple reasons. If the failure is temporary, Rational BI will note the delay in the delivery history, and the report resume delivery as soon as the error has been resolved. Typical temporary errors can include email server outages or a full mailbox.

Emails can also temporarily bounce when a user has an out-of-office auto reply message set.

Temporary failures will be noted in the history tab, but the email recipients will not be removed from the schedule distribution list.

Permanent failures include a mailbox that does not exist, email server rejections and other unrecoverable problems. In such cases, the problem will be noted as a hard bounce on the delivery history tab and the recipient email will be removed from the distribution list. Add the recipient back when the problem has been resolved.

Since permanent failures affect the recipient and not an individual report, Rational BI will remove the recipient from all delivery schedules that include that email address even if the failure occurred while delivering another report.

Spam Complaints

If the system receives notice that the user has filed a spam complaint for an email delivered by Rational BI, the system will remove the email from all distribution lists and add the recipient to a system-wide blacklist which prevents any further email from being sent to the user in the future.

The system does this to protect the reputation of Rational BI as an email sender in order to maintain high delivery ratios. Rational BI takes spam seriously and will investigate each spam report to ensure the safety of the system.

The system-wide blocklist is not user configurable. To remove a user from the blacklist, contact support@rationalbi.com and indicate why the block should be reversed.

Delivery Failures

If the report fails to render for any reason, delivery will be suspended.

Failures can include a mis-configured report, a report that takes too long time to refresh, or a server failure.

When a schedule has been suspended, the report won’t be delivered until it is re-enabled.

Re-enabling a suspended schedule

If the schedule has been suspended, navigate to the Delivery tab and click the button to re-enable delivery. If the report is overdue for the next delivery, it will be put into the queue for immediate delivery, otherwise it will be delivered at the next scheduled interval.

Delivering a report outside the normal delivery schedule

To run a report immediately without waiting for the next scheduled delivery slot, navigate to the delivery tab and select Run Now. The report will be put into the immediate run queue and delivered to recipients as soon as possible.

Changing the schedule of the report

To change the schedule of an existing report, select the schedule tab and click the Change Schedule button.