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In Operational reports details are usually more important than the summary information. These reports answer questions that are asked frequently, so the same report can run a large number of times. For this reason, operational reports are "pre-canned" reports usually created by speciailzed specialized report designers (power users or specialists). The design process for a good Operational report can easily take several hours to tweak the design of the resulting document to perfection.

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Operational reports regularly get sent out to customers and business associates. As with all printed material, companies put a high emphasis on the graphical appearance of the resulting document to convery convey the right public image.

Operational reports can run off the operational systems and operational reporting engines were traditionally part of ERP systems and other business applications that require printing capabilities.

Pentaho Reporting was originally developed as a operational reporting tool. Its detailed layouting and formatting capabilities stem from this requirement. As part of the reporting process, Pentaho Reporting can access and incorporate data from analytical datasourcesdata sources. The main focus for the Pentaho Report Designer lies in the document generation, and thus Pentaho Reporting is not a suitable replacement for analytical query tools.

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