Business intelligence reporting falls into two parts. The first is reporting, as it is strictly defined. In a more general sense, ‘reporting’ refers to any method of gathering information.
The first case involves presenting user-friendly and analyzed data gathered from various sources. In the second sense, reporting involves presenting data and information, and it includes analysis as well, so end users can see, understand, and act on the data.
There are many ways in which business intelligence reporting can be classified. One key distinction is to differentiate between managed and ad-hoc reporting based on who prepares the report: managed reporting is prepared by technical personnel, such as developers; non-technical users prepare ad-hoc reporting. Reports can also be classified based on their most important features, such as data tables, crosstab reports, visualization features, etc.
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3 Types of Business Intelligence Reports
In terms of the types of BI reports CX teams can create, there are no limits. Here are a few that are most common.
- BI Reporting for predictive
As a subset of business intelligence, predictive analytics builds on BI reporting. Based on past and current data, it provides accurate forecasts.
Due to their ability to remove a substantial amount of uncertainty from decision-making, predictive analytics tools are becoming increasingly popular.
BI reports of this type help predict future events, but they can also provide insight into the likely cause of previous events.
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- BI reporting for performance management
BI-centric reports help you manage performance by providing access to metrics based on performance in one place. By comparing performance-based KPIs, you can identify and analyze productivity trends. In the long run, they boost performance and contribute to the success of a business.
The employee dashboard includes key performance indicators, such as hours worked, training costs, productivity, and more. The ability to gain deeper insights into employee data enables you to formulate strategies that boost your employees’ performance, productivity, and satisfaction.
A daily review of this data allows companies to adjust their operations before poorly performing operations significantly impact their bottom line.
- BI reporting for financial analysis
To conduct financial planning efficiently, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and other senior executives must report on financial analysis.
This type of report provides key financial indicators in an engaging and compelling manner. In addition to gross profit, this includes total assets, operational costs, operating income, and gross margin.
Business analysts can reduce risks and costs using these metrics, which result in the following insights:
- The profit and loss for the year under consideration
- Expense breakdown by month
- Distribution of revenue
How to Create Quality Reports
Understand your stakeholders
A quality BI report begins with answering the question: To whom am I reporting? Based on the needs of the stakeholders who will use the report, include only the information they need—creating reports requires precision.
Make sure you include the most important KPIs. If non-essential information is included, it can create confusion or cause stakeholders to draw a wrong conclusion.
Depending on the stakeholder, monthly reports with detailed metrics may benefit some, while daily performance reports with a live data connection may be more attractive for others.
Analyze metrics correctly
The next step is to select the right metrics or KPIs for the report after determining the relevant stakeholders. When choosing, you should consider the following factors:
- 1. Do you have long-term or short-term business goals?
- 2. In the decision-making process, what role does the target audience play?
- 3. Which metrics will help you tell a comprehensive data story to empower you to take the right actions?
3. Visualizations of data
Visualize your data to tell a compelling story. You should ensure that the visualizations complement your purpose. Use colors consistent with the client’s brand if you are creating a client report. Professionalize your report by embedding logos.
Make sure that the space is well-defined to prevent the report from looking cluttered. Provide high-level details on a single screen and drill down for granular details using data filtering capabilities.
4. Data monitoring
Improve the value of your BI report by leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms. Huge amounts of data should be monitored frequently to detect anomalies that might affect a business. Business organizations should use data alerts to send notifications to take immediate action.
5. Create a culture of data-driven decision-making
Ensure that employees can use data to make decisions. Take steps to increase data literacy: the ability to read, manipulate, analyze, and draw robust conclusions from data.
Data communication, understanding results, and putting information into perspective are essential skills for everyone in an organization. Therefore, make sure you choose a business intelligence tool that has an easy-to-use interface.
Business intelligence tools that are adaptable. You should be able to adapt to changes, monitor processes, and identify problems quickly. BI technology is constantly evolving as businesses encounter larger datasets. Stay up to date with advancements to give your business an edge.
With Ascend Analytics, you can stand out from the competition. Give your organization access to data in a new way and unlock its true potential. In all business functions, use data to empower decision-making. Ascend Analytics can help you to:
- Improve security
- Increase your market share
- Ensure that your decisions are based on facts
- Deliver an exceptional customer experience
How BI Reporting Tools Can Help You
Implementing a BI reporting process in your company has several advantages. Self-service BI tools allow non-technical users to create their reports.
The use of BI tools can help employees gain a better understanding of key business metrics using data. Data from reporting can be used to make better decisions and shared with others. Leaders can use data from business intelligence to support their decisions.
By aggregating data from multiple departments and enabling users to interact with it, BI reports help companies to see the bigger picture. Because big data reporting tools reduce the time spent analyzing data for reports, you can do all of this in less time.
It is also possible to automate the publication of reports on BI platforms based on security permissions (Not every BI platform can perform these functions, however, and you should evaluate BI tools accordingly).
Although many BI software platforms are available, not all of them will meet your business needs.
Ensure that the platform you choose offers:
- A plug-and-play capability. Your existing data infrastructure can be used with the right platform, and no additional infrastructure is required.
- An intuitive user experience. An easy-to-use query and output system should be accessible to non-analysts.
- Customizable dashboards. All users can generate visual-driven insights at-a-glance through this platform.
- A scalable solution. With the platform’s flexibility, your business can grow as well.
Read our article to explore the Top 10 Big Data Analytics Tools in 2022.
You can use Ascend Analytics as your single source of truth regarding all these features. A centrally managed data set allows for a more comprehensive and accurate analysis.
You can save hours and days of the time by connecting to your cloud data warehouse with one-click integration instead of manually connecting tools.
You need to connect your BI reporting tool to your warehouse to access all your warehouse tables. In this step, you can preview data, create worksheets, and visualize your results. In addition, you can join other data sources besides a table.
Examples of BI Reports
Reporting in business intelligence can encompass a wide range of uses, from static reports to interactive dashboards to embedded analytics. It’s important to consider the big picture when planning your BI strategy, regardless of the immediate need you may have.
Reporting capabilities and use cases for business intelligence are listed are:
- Without waiting for data analysts, self-service BI tools allow users to explore data and gain insights.
- Users can easily analyze data with self-service BI without having to write code. In addition, users can explore data freely in any direction with modern BI platforms. It utilizes an associative engine that recalculates analytics after each click and highlights data relationships.
- Data visualization and dashboards improve understanding, facilitate collaboration, and share information across organizations. Dashboards with rich data visualizations such as charts, graphs, and maps help stakeholders collaborate and understand data.
- Through drag-and-drop tools, modern BI tools make it easy for users to create their dashboards and interact with the data.
- As a result of static reports and alerts, stakeholders can keep track of their business and act quickly. Static reports can be created and shared in popular formats using BI software, and real-time alerts can be sent when KPIs cross a threshold.
- Augmented analytics enhance human intuition, automate tasks, improve search and natural language interaction, and provide advanced real-time analytics using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
- Embedded business intelligence refers to business intelligence capabilities integrated into applications, products, portals, or processes as part of the software development cycle. Employees, partners, customers, and suppliers do not need to switch to a separate application by accessing data and insights directly within their workflow.
- Mobile BI allows users to explore analytics, create analytics, and collaborate from anywhere.
Mobile BI makes it easy to collaborate and share insights even when users are offline. The way we work today, users should be able to access and analyze data from anywhere.
Benefits of Business Intelligence Reporting
BI reporting has several benefits, including:
- Enhance workflow efficiency
Managers, employees, and stakeholders often anticipate comprehensive reports from IT departments, especially if the organization relies on data from multiple sources. Due to the lengthy nature of this process, the workflow may be slowed.
Non-technical users can easily analyze and create ad hoc reports with centralized data sources. In addition to boosting workflow speed, it also speeds up the entire process.
- Real-time and historical analysis of data
Making a simple presentation from a large amount of data can be challenging, even for experienced managers. For analysis and insight generation, business intelligence reporting provides centralized access to data.
BI reporting creates sophisticated reports based on real-time and historical data.
- Streamlined procurement
A BI-based report can help streamline procurement processes if you deal with a high turnover of goods and services. With BI reporting, key functions within the department can be visualized in a robust manner. You can find patterns, trends, and insights about workflows
using the procurement dashboard.
The procurement dashboard improves supplier relationships, reduces costs, and streamlines procurement processes using primary KPIs such as compliance rate, supplier numbers, and purchase order cycle times.
BI reporting encompasses tracking processes and forecasting based on artificial intelligence and predictive analytics. A successful outcome can be achieved when the right decision is made at the right time. Insights can be gained from multiple angles through reporting.
Forrester found that firms using data management software for decision-making have a 58 percent likelihood of exceeding their sales targets compared to non-data-driven competitors. As well to increasing consumer trust by 8 percent, they also increase compliance by 173 percent.
Best Practices for Business Intelligence Data Reporting
1. Be sure to prepare your reports with the analysis in mind. Data should be formatted in a way that allows quick and intuitive analysis, and columns should be named in a consistent and understandable way.
2. Don’t overload the end user with too many objects if you’re the report developer or system administrator. By carefully selecting the objects end-users can see and report on, you can build a report for them that is as clean as possible, eliminating clutter and unnecessary data.
3. Ensure sensitive data is protected and that users and groups are granted or denied access to reports, columns and records based on role-based security, authentication, and authorization.
4. Use the Web to create interactive, powerful, and easy-to-navigate reports that place the least possible strain on the system.
5. Place your reporting layer over your company’s most commonly accessed data sources. A data-source neutral reporting solution aims to bring together data from traditional and non-traditional sources, such as databases, Web services, RSS feeds, Excel, etc.
6. End-user adoption is driven by training. Without proper training, adoption and value creation are much slower and more difficult to achieve.
7. In business intelligence, a seamless user experience promotes user adoption and ultimately drives more value from BI initiatives and products. End users will struggle to adopt the system without a logical and usable interface.
Collecting data in today’s digitally driven world is important but analyzing it to its optimum capacity is even more crucial if a business wants to enjoy sustainable success in the face of constant change.
Reporting and business intelligence play a crucial role in obtaining underlying figures to explain decisions and present data in a way that directly benefits the business. As we mentioned earlier, no industry isn’t currently affected by the importance of data and analytics.
Ascend Analytics is for leaders who want to build a resilient, data-driven organization. Find out how Ascend Analytics can help your company implement business solutions using digital data, starting with four key focus areas:
- Achieve alignment between leadership metrics and business objectives.
- Identify critical decision points by building data sources.
- Utilize specific use cases to grow value.
- Disseminate data widely.
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