Today’s Reporting Challenge – Catering to Different Users in Different Ways
Today’s business user expects immediate access to their data for reporting purposes; but while some only need to view basic reports and select key performance indicators, many require the ability to dig deep through the data in order to uncover critical insights that can be used to better manage business performance. Understandably, supporting these varied requirements creates a higher level of complexity within a business reporting framework.
The challenge is in presenting data in a variety of formats to give the right data to the people who need it as swiftly and efficiently as possible. Some of this has been accomplished with the increased availability of interactive dashboards that visually present key performance information at a high level with drill downs to lower levels of detail. What continues to be an issue, though, is enabling non-technical users to create their own analytical views and reports across multiple data sources.
As vendors like my company look to address this issue, there are many variables that we must take into consideration. Basic end users often don’t understand their own data or related complexities like data joins or the steps required to set up sorts, filters and other reporting functions. As a result, they get frustrated and either drop the reports they need or call IT for help along with countless other users.
On the flipside are more advanced yet largely non-technical power users who need the ability to create complex analytical views or reports containing cross tabs, charts, drill downs and calculations. If they are unable to produce what they need within the reporting system, they will likely import the data into Excel and manipulate it as needed. Unfortunately, what they produce is often not easily reusable by others and typically reflects information from a separate data silo that quickly becomes outdated.
A comprehensive BI solution will address both issues with a flexible environment that consists of a single, highly organized and consistent repository of data from multiple sources and various data delivery mechanisms that can be tailored to match the ability and requirements of every type of user. The solution will take basic users through a simple step-by-step process to build their reports, or it will systematically push pre-defined reports and alerts to these users based on their data analysis requirements. Advanced users will be empowered with the functionality needed to develop complex analytical views using pre-defined reporting templates that can be easily customized by them without having to invest in another BI solution to accomplish this.
As user demands continue to evolve around reporting and data analytics, business intelligence vendors like Silvon will continue to adapt our solutions to ensure that different user types with different skill levels are effectively (and easily) accommodated.