Balance & Best Practices: Public Folder Strategy
There are a variety of strategies for implementing roles for BusinessObjects - who develops universes, develops reports, schedules, publishes to corporate folders, migrates content, etc. What is interesting is that no matter where an organization starts out, eventually almost all organizations seem to end up at the same place (some slower than others)! A place of balance.
Today I thought I'd talk about Public Folder Strategy. Some organizations start out with it completely locked down -- there is some central IT person or team responsible for publishing content to these folders. The benefit of this is that support for these reports is typically clear, there is a change control process for changes/updates, the reports maintain some form of integrity and/or trusted information, and there is often a consistency to the look and feel. Of course, the downside is that the reports aren't always maintained by the subject matter experts, changes are slow to get implemented (due to the change control process/gatekeepers), and since they can't be modified the reports are often copied and tweaked, resulting in multiple versions of essentially the same report.
On the flip side, some organizations leave public folders wide open, which is a very flexible model for the end users, but means that there are often a proliferation of similar reports, confusion about the difference between the reports (why do they give different numbers? which do I use?), and essentially a mess.
And then there is "balance". What a lovely thing, balance. In the case of public folders, most organizations find their way to a blended solution with some public folders being 'corporate' folders maintained by a central group and others being open to a set of trusted/power users or a department/team. This offers the best of both worlds, opening up an area for quickly changing reports to be easily shared between team members and corporate 'sanctioned' reports to be made available with the appropriate controls.
Water always tries to get to sea level and the blended solution above seems to be the sea level of public folders. Of course there are always exceptions, but I've stopped being surprised when the exceptions eventually morph into the rule.