Reporting Software
Published December 04th, 2016 by

What Is Reporting Software and Its Features You Should Look for

What Is Reporting Software and Its Features You Should Look for

Process visibility and analytical data insight are some of the benefits that customers can get from reporting software. Now that data is any company’s secret weapon when it comes to running the business smoothly and competitively, it is essential for them to employ a strong data capturing and processing system. In this case, a good IT-based technology is the best pick, in this case, a reporting software.

Why Is a Reporting Technology a Must-Have for Every Business?

What is reporting software? Basically, it is expected to give valuable information to the company or organization to help it make appropriate and smart decisions concerning the present and future state of its business. It should also have fast and reliable data mining and processing capabilities. It should be capable of processing big data in terms of volume and variety. Essentially, it should be flexible to cater to small or enterprise-scale businesses of varying industry or nature.

A variety of reporting tools and software are available in the market. From basic reporting to more complex big data analysis, there will always be reporting software that could cater to specific requirements. There are also certain types that are scalable so it can grow with your company.

The benefits of reporting software are important for all types of industries, organizations, businesses and even personal use. It is essential even in the fields of research, engineering, military, government and political organizations. Thus, it should be capable of handling important reporting software components, as stressed by ClearPoint Strategy, which includes scorecards, customization, reports and integration.

Bad or inefficient reporting software is as good as resorting to traditional manual methods. So it is important to take note of your real and immediate needs prior to scouting for your reporting software options. What is the best reporting software to use? It should have the right features and should seamlessly integrate with your existing business systems like document management, accounting and payroll, time-tracking, HR, sales and marketing, and business development.

It should also be capable of soliciting data across multiple sources and be powerful enough to demonstrate strong analytics capabilities. According to a Deliotte report entitled “The Analytics Advantage,” 49% of its respondents said that analytics is the feature that they found most beneficial; especially that it positively influences their decision making.

Non-negotiable Features of an Enterprise Reporting Tool

IT people find relief in the fact that many of their responsibilities are now being delegated towards the end-user. Most business software are developed with intuitive user interfaces which make it easier for non-technical savvy users to operate. It is also an advantage that users can easily access information sources about the functions and operations of different software in the internet.

Good reporting software for small business should help it thrive in the local business scene. It must also help in accelerating the business growth, leverage and profitability in the market.  On the other hand, good reporting software as a service should be strong enough to adapt to the demands of enterprise-scale businesses. It should serve as a solid investment for any business type, whether you are starting out or you want to take a step up in the global market.

When looking for the best reporting software for your business, it is best to do your research first. Knowing your priorities, business direction and budget will help you find the appropriate one for you. To maximize its benefits, look for the following non-negotiable reporting software features:

  1. Applications

Of course, good reporting software should be capable of returning different kinds of reports based on the Key Performance Indicators you want to consider. It should create different kinds of reports in various formats and designs to suit distinct preferences and needs. It should also deliver reports in a timely manner, and must have exporting functions.

Ad-hoc reporting is important as it lets the end-users create and distribute their reports easily without the need for someone from the IT department to intervene. The software lets you choose the elements you want to include in the report. After that, the report can be exported to be sent using email or a web browser.

Pivot table reporting is essential as it gives the end-user vast options to view data in different perspectives. You can choose the elements you want to view in relation to each other. You can customize how row and column data are arranged to suit your viewing preferences. This feature is essential when making different case scenario analysis through data manipulation, which is helpful when making comparisons or in predicting trends.

In-depth data mining and interactive reporting lets you deconstruct data components to its basic units. This is done for the user to analyze the underlying details in ways that may be overlooked. High-level business decisions can benefit from the information arising from this type of reporting.

Dashboards are invaluable tools that should be integrated with any kind of reporting software. It gives the user a variety of ways to arrange data using graphs, charts and tables to aid in the presentation of data. The software makes these interactive and shows KPI performance in real-time so that managers can take action when an opportunity arises. This tool integration can benefit sales force automation most.

Ranking reporting is a feature that lets you assess different sets of business case scenarios by ranking associated elements using specified criteria. With analysis, you can now know the best and worst solutions you should be adopting or avoiding.

Drill-down reports are similar to in-depth reporting in the sense that it can let the end-user find more details from graphs, charts and tables instead of stand-alone data. This is also essential for high-level reporting, which needs data to be expounded and explored.

  1. Security features

Good reporting software is not all about visual and detailed representation of data to be used for analysis, but it should also give the end-user better control over what goes in or goes out of the system. It should give the user the capability to authorize access and limit action and controls to maintain data integrity.

Application-level security lets you give access to your employees in a per-role basis. Depending on their designation in the company, you can designate the sets of data and the applications he or she can only modify or access. You can input the information of all your key organization members in its user-menu system so that you can easily designate access to certain applications and data areas to certain users.

Multi-tenancy security allows you to give access to multiple users within a single application but vary the type of data they can view or modify. This allows you to effectively segregate roles but mimics a collaborative environment to execute the work faster and more efficiently.

Single sign-in security enables the end-users to input their usernames and passwords one-time and the software instantly stores the information and recognizes the users. This eliminates the repetitive task of signing-in again whenever the system prompts you after a long period of inactivity. This makes it easy to switch within multiple work windows without worrying you’ll be signed off once you leave the page. When sharing an access terminal with other end-users, however, it is best to sign out of the system after you access it to prevent unauthorized access.

Security over multiple databases is also possible, as the software allows you to create different kinds of database for data that need to be segregated. You can assign access to end-users to certain databases which they only use, and this minimizes unintentional modification of other data outside their job scope and knowledge.

End-user privileges and parameter security lets you personalize the access points of individual users and save it to their system profiles. You can authorize the applications and databases relevant to their roles, and set parameters to the actions they can apply.

  1. Value-added features

The latest reporting software is the one that offers value-added features on top of its functionality. Added benefits will empower your software in creating and delivering intelligent and comprehensive reports in a timely manner.

Smart alerts allow your business intelligence software to prompt key users when certain thresholds are reached by some crucial data. Its real-time update capabilities allow you to act on these alerts with efficiency and provide solutions before further damage is incurred. These are also valuable integrations to the software’s dashboard.

Multiple-platform access allows you to be more fluid in working with your reporting software. Mobile capabilities enable you to access reports or modify them with ease even when you are out of the office and away from your desktop. It also allows you to continue the work in your office once you get back, right from where you left off when you worked from your mobile phone.

Email integration is an essential feature wherein you can seamlessly disseminate important team reports directly from where you created them. You can also automate the system in sending multiple reports within pre-defined schedules.

Lastly, good reporting software lets you do white labeling, or the customizing of your software to suit your business’ theme in order to stay consistent with your existing business interface.

Adopting the best reporting software for your needs will make a great investment for your business. Let help you through our best reporting software reviews and list of software providers.

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