I never know what information I want to look at until I see a report with actual data. But then when I want to change the report, my technical support people say that it is too late. HELP!
According to Jim Rust, the work around in this situation is a technique called rapid prototype modeling. You use this to manipulate real data to see if the presentation of the information is useful for decision making. You try different approaches, and only when you have a final product do you begin the process of developing the internal systems to generate the information on a regular basis. The best users of this technique are people who are cross trained as decision analysts, data handlers, and modelers. These people are few in number and worth their weight in gold. Once the prototype is working well for decision making, the specifications can easily be documented for routine generation of the data. See Dr. Rust's bio for how he applies these skills.