Collecting data with today’s technology is relatively simple to do. The difficult part is figuring out which software to utilize. With a multitude of data reporting tools available, IT professionals have a choice of diverse and powerful options. Whether in the cloud or an application on the computer, data reporting tools vary in cost and the features they provide. With seamless software integration, you can link these reporting tools to your smartphone, tablet, or all in one PC. If you are searching for a data reporting tool, continue reading this post for important considerations before proposing or purchasing a solution.
When it comes to ease-of-use, the data reporting tool you choose needs a streamlined interface with intuitive dashboards. Many of the free data reporting tools have limited functionality and are difficult to use. Getting the simplicity your users need may mean spending a few dollars a month on a fully functional version. Rolling out a data reporting tool with an easy to use interface will shorten the learning curve and increase the adoption rate of the software. The best way to determine ease-of-use is to do your homework and test the software yourself. As the IT professional, you can determine if it makes sense to include a few power users in your testing to get the end-user buy-in.
Think about the possible integrations with existing software that you will need for your data reporting tool. Seamless integration allows your reporting tool to work universally on all mobile devices and workstation computers. A seamless integration with third-party apps, plug-ins or extensions that you currently use, is key to business continuity. End users should be able to access a third-party app, for instance, through a transparent interface. Some companies offer built-in “wizards” while others offer API capabilities for custom or third-party applications. IT professionals should be diligent about verifying data reporting tools integration. Read reviews and take advantage of free trials or monthly subscriptions, if available.
Variety of Reports
When displayed in raw form, data by itself is not particularly useful or attractive. The reporting tool you choose should be intuitive and present data in a way that helps in the decision-making process. Some data reporting tools include both static and dynamic reports. Others offer ad hoc and operational reporting along with dashboards and scorecards. If your company is dependent on data analysis, you will want to evaluate the software’s reporting capability carefully. Additionally, consider whether your organization needs the ability to produce customized reports since not all data reporting tools are equipped with this functionality.
Having a data reporting tool that has built-in flexibility and meets the changing needs of your company is crucial. This may seem logical but not all data reporting tools have software architecture to support this. Scalability is one of those options that is not always built-in. There may not only be limits on the number of users but also on the amount of data the reporting tool can query at any one time. Another option not inherent in data reporting tools is cross-platform access. Many are solely browser-based and are not mobile-ready. A data reporting tool that has a dedicated mobile app may be necessary for your organization if the power users are always on-the-go. Give this area some thought as you do your research and potentially consult with the management team.
Dashboards and reports are the most common customizable features within a data reporting tool. Dashboards serve as an excellent way to store and display relevant information. Set specific priority levels, goal requirements, references and programs. Without an organized dashboard this key information can be difficult to visualize and be distracting to your users. Analytic reports and dashboards help you monitor all activity across different departments. Consider the value of customizable dashboards as you are looking for the best data reporting tool for your company.
IT professionals tasked with selecting a data reporting tool must do their homework. Meeting company expectations and satisfying the needs of various stakeholders within the organization, is a challenging undertaking. The key is knowing what is available and involving the players in the process. These tools are fairly easy to operate, and easily accessiable from your computer, iPhone, or Android phone. By considering the options in this post carefully, you will be prepared to select the right data reporting tool for your company.