Well this is my first post on the CivCRM Blog and I am very honoured to have been given the privilege by David Greenberg. We are a CRM consulting company - meaning that we provide consulting and advice to companies who require a CRM system or who have a CRM system in place but want to know how to use it to its full capacity.
For those of us that have tried CiviReport with ACL's and custom data, we'll be aware of the issue that in order to use the custom data in reports the user must have Access All Custom Data privilege enabled. This is not the desired functionality and thanks to funding from Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research a patch is available which cures the problem, allowing you to use ACL's with Custom data without compromising the CiviReport functionality.
You can get the patch from the following JIRA issue
The goal was to allow a Civi admin to go to the Advanced Search page, enter criteria and then view results as a list of contacts, with all that individual's contributions appearing in an indented list below the contact. Selected data would then be exportable in a complete form, with all available info about the contact. A list of each donor's contributions are pivoted and laid out as columns at the end of the row, along with various, calculated LYBUNT flags.
I seem to spend a large amount of time helping people to get data back out of CiviCRM. I'm a big fan of the reports framework and up until 4.2 I made a number of improvements to the core reports for my customers. However, from 4.2 I switched to doing reports in an extension. I have been doing almost all my reports in the extended reports extension and have been playing with a few ideas in that extension. Some of them are well developed, others are in the early stages.
So as every consultant, there is a bit of new projects, maintenance, stuff you do for free for the community, new ideas, meetings, pre-sales, funky developments & the dreaded admin part (invoicing/timesheet).
A couple of weeks back I wrote here some thoughts about letting users manage and modify their own private collection of reports without actually having site-wide "administer reports" privileges. I've since gone ahead and written up the code to make this happen, and I would love to get feedback from the community on its usefulness and ways to improve it.
I recently completed a conversion of about 8 years of history from a 5 year old Blackbaud Kintera site to a Drupal CiviCRM solution. Confused yet? Don't worry, all we be revealed in time. As a way of giving back, I am planning to share my experiences good and bad, what worked, what did not, what I learned and what I will and won't do next time.
Note: You can see videos of these features in action on NS Web Solutions' case study page for this project.
Update: Some of the code for these features is available on GitHub. See my comment below.
CiviCRM offers an incredible set of features straight out of the box. At NS Web Solutions we're sometimes asked to provide a CRM system with some pretty unique features, and we've found that by relying on CiviCRM's wide array of hooks and customization features, there's a lot that can be done.