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Reset: Data Reporting 2.0

By Graham Spicer, Sales Director, UK & EMEA, of SplashBI

May 24 2021 -In todayís climate, businesses are sinking in data. The sheer volume of data about employees, customers, suppliers, products, and results has never been so vast and yet so inevitably important. Without a clear understanding of what data businessesí collect, analyse and interpret - there could be a missed opportunity if a data reporting platform isnít incorporated in business strategy.

To explore this matter further, Graham Spicer, Sales Director, UK & EMEA, of SplashBI investigates the powers of visual reporting and how businesses can unleash data-driven insights through the evolution of data reporting.

A true survival kit

Reports have become the backbone of any business - large or small - and an important part of business survival and strategy. Using a successful data reporting platform allows departments and senior management teams to look for new opportunities and trends - vitally important in the aftermath of Covid-19.

Reports, generated on a frequent basis, provide a detailed and critical analysis of how the business is tracking in all areas of the business - from HR to sales, or to operational departments. More than ever, reports have become widely recognised as an important asset to inform decision-making and data-driven results for senior leadership and managerial departments. Using a selection of ad-hoc reporting and self-service reporting enables businesses to gauge performance over lengths of time and to analyse what has worked well and what could be learnt - or not repeated.

Before the developments of IT infrastructure, vast amounts of paper (and printing) included tables and charts but soon these methods became outdated - not forgetting prone to error. With the introduction of automation and visual representation of data, employees were able to work smarter and more intelligently - adding filters and time frames and seeing results in real-time. With the opportunity to embed technology into everyday exercises, businesses large or small were able to implement strategic business decisions with the help of senior leadership teams straightaway - removing the month-end headache and mundane practices.

Unleash the power

Over the last couple of years, the world of Business Intelligence (BI) has been shifted. Data became big(ger), meaning that businesses, of all shapes and sizes, needed to include the advances of technology within established IT infrastructures to help transition easily to cloud-based computing. This has resulted in actionable data visualisations and interactive dashboards - with 'old fashioned' spreadsheets taking a backseat for now. As a result, reporting became widespread and advanced analytics wasnít just for the analysts.

Today, complex data analysis has now become easier for everyone with the introduction of self-service reporting platforms. Advances in technology remove unnecessary stress and extensive hours of collecting, filtering, and using data to make important data-driven decisions. Using self-service reporting or even ad-hoc reporting has highlighted the positive impact of putting data back in the hands of individual teams, departments and management. Moreover, this transition allows individuals to spend time exploring the meaning of the data (something which they are passionate about) - rather than inputting data which could lead to the possibilities of errors. Today, the rise of self-service reporting has also brought more attention to the growing necessity for modern businesses to adopt a data-driven culture. Now decisions are made on facts and observations - avoiding haste or gut.

Improving systems and changing archaic processes within the entire business - despite how big or small - might seem daunting and time-consuming for everyone involved. However, with recognition being the main focal point, teams can become more strategic, embedding a data-driven, digital-first approach to yield significant rewards for the future survival of the business. These changes can be readily adopted and the transition as seamless as possible.

The future of reporting

As businesses ride the wave of the effects of last yearís challenges, senior leaderships have quickly become aware of the importance of viewing data in real-time. Senior leadership teams need data that can be understood and actioned, quickly and efficiently. Browsing data in a visual format across multiple dashboards helps businesses to strive towards targets and goals - rather than having to unpick the data at hand each time.

Before, reporting requirements started off as a tool for pinpointing patterns in businessí data, but as time has developed, requirements and urgency have increased. As time moves on, this has evolved into a robust, streamlined solution, bringing data reporting platforms alive in real-time. Around us, technology is constantly evolving - and the process of implementing any self-service reporting has become simpler and straightforward. Employees want to be able to spend time exploring the meaning of the data - rather than tracing through report after report.

Straightaway, employees can become more effective in the role, as the implementation and adoption time is halved! Now, employees look forward to month-end reporting.

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