About this blog

As with my website, my blogs espouse the philosophy “not all performance problems are technical” and that in most stable environments user behaviour / usage patterns are typically the source of most correctable performance problems. So if you are into bits, bytes, locks, latches etc this is not the place for you, but if you are after ways to genuinely enhance performance and work with your systems and customers to achieve better, more predictable performance, read on.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Better Date and Elapsed Time Reporting Formats for Business Users

I am a business user, so why say to me “it ran for 0.049 days”?

All too often I see reports created by technical staff and DBAs being presented to management and business users with elapsed times (such as concurrent request run times) calculated in days or seconds and this often causes frustration amongst report recipients. Here are some typical examples:-

• A concurrent request run time of 1 hour and 10 minutes is commonly reported as:
  • 0.0486 days or
  • 4,200 seconds
 • An incident report that states the issue occurred 20-Sep-10 12:24:23. What is often more helpful to the user is to understand the day of the week of the incident; was that a Monday (our high processing day) or a Tuesday? And seeing the seconds reported usually adds no value at all…

What you should remember when dealing with management or users is they usually hate having to perform mental gymnastics to calculate a time, what is 0.02 days or 1,454 seconds?

Would it not be better if the time was quoted as 28 minutes? I believe it’s always preferable when presenting information to management and business users to convert elapsed time to Days, Hours and Minutes.

The following is an example report showing both YY:MM:DD and DD:HH:MI formats:
 

 The full article including example SQL can be found at:
 http://www.piper-rx.com/pages/tips/date_time_formatting.pdf

Remember; always make life easier for your target user. They will appreciate it and in turn will be more likely to be supportive when you need it!