To say that data can be found in a variety of places would be an understatement. In fact, given that 2.5 quintillion bytes of digital data are being created every day, the more-accurate observation would be that data can be found everywhere.
This is good news for businesses, and it’s no secret that by capturing, organizing, analyzing, and interpreting data, many organizations have been able to improve their own processes, and better target their marketing efforts, as well.
But there’s more to using data than just being able to locate it. After all, even data that has been refined down into actionable information still needs to be presented to decision makers in a way that is coherent. Otherwise, the useful insights it provides will likely be completely overlooked, making the entire process little more than a waste of time. Unfortunately, 48% of employees find themselves having to make do with data that is not optimized for the end user.
This is a major problem across a variety of industries, because the tools that organizations rely on for their data reporting needs can play a significant role in the overall success of the business. To combat this trend, the most effective reporting tools use data visualization. Data that is visually displayed is easier to comprehend at a glance, and allows for more information to be digested quickly. Data visualization software and easy-to-use dashboards help to bring reporting and visualization together in a way that is accessible to users at all levels.
At their most basic, data reporting tools are designed to assist in the presentation of information, so that the end user can easily comprehend the data being shared. But within this definition is the unspoken rule that data reporting tools need to be designed for ease of use. This is because the tools in question need to be accessible by leaders and decision makers themselves. When the tools are overly complex or difficult to use, then the entire process becomes an ongoing IT project, and when that happens, the tools lose much of their effectiveness.
An intuitive interface, when coupled with built-in automation options, and designed to function effectively across all platforms and devices (including mobile devices) eliminates the need for constant IT assistance. This is of extreme importance, as one of the most valuable advantages offered by advanced reporting tools is their ability to create reports in real time.
Change happens rapidly in the business world, and obsolete information—even if it’s only a few days out-of-date—can cause real problems for organizations that rely on it. Advanced data reporting tools that rely on real-time processing are capable of always providing information that is current to the minute, so that decision makers can be sure that they’re working with most up-to-date data available. By reducing the need for IT involvement, these tools help ensure that users really are getting the most current data, no matter what.
The BYOD debate of the last few years has given way to the reality of the era of the mobile office, and it is becoming increasingly common for employees at all levels to use their own mobile devices for business-related tasks, which many do to great effect. In fact, high performers are 3.5 times more likely than underperformers to use mobile reporting tools to analyze data while underway.
Reporting tools that are compatible with a variety of devices and platforms mean that no authorized user will ever have to go without a valuable report, simply because he or she isn’t currently in the office. This advanced compatibility is often made possible thanks to the existence of cloud-based applications.
And given that no two businesses are exactly the same, customizable reporting tools that can be adapted to any business, and that can scale with the business as it grows, allow organization the freedom to operate the way they were designed to. Taken together, these traits help to define a tool set that is not only highly effective, but also easy to master.
Of course, not all tools offer the same advantages, and finding the right tool is often a matter of knowing what is available on the market. By researching various data reporting tools, becoming familiar with online reviews, and taking advantage of free trial periods, there’s no reason why any business should be unable to locate a reporting solution that fits its needs.
It may seem obvious, but information is meant to inform. With the right reporting tools, organizations gain the benefit of having reliable, factual information on which to base their decisions, for better-informed decision-making all around.
Data may not be hard to come by in this day and age, but that doesn’t mean that businesses shouldn’t recognize its value. The right data reporting tool can make a significant difference in terms of how data is being used in the workplace, by ensuring productivity and functionality, while also improving efficiency. In the end, data is only valuable when it’s used correctly, and with superior reporting tools, doing so is as simple as pushing a button.