Growing or even maintaining a business requires careful attention to key metrics. Sales, new customers, returns, downtime, and other data points can vary based on industry, but every company has something they need to keep track of to function, thrive, and compete in their industry.
Although automated reporting of current metrics is helpful, businesses can’t thrive without in-depth business intelligence (BI) that digs deeper into the data. The difference between the two is key to unlocking a company’s full potential in a competitive market.
Automated reporting shows current and past accomplishments of a business, while BI answers questions of why and how a situation has occurred. However, the capabilities of each are complex and nuanced, with far-reaching implications for various industries.
Automatic reporting provides micro reports of business insights to give employees like fulfillment managers easier and faster access to information they regularly use to help them make short-term decisions.
Automated report generation can be scheduled to run daily, weekly, or whenever a company needs information to be gathered. They can be automatically sent to relevant parties to guide business decisions.
An automated report can contain customer metrics and demographics, internal data on employee speed and task completion, net and gross profits, and other data. The results can help companies immediately adjust spending, orders, and more.
Automatic report software typically has pre-set data visualization programs that can display data consistently every time. However, this software can be customized to meet the needs of managers and analysts. The best software must also include a full suite of BI features to aid in future growth.
BI can answer more complex questions about what factors are driving business growth or losses. In order words, automated reporting can report on which areas are working well and which ones are not, while BI can help leaders decide why they are working and how to improve overall performance.
BI analytics can be run regularly, but usually not as frequently as automatic reports. They are more likely to occur quarterly or as leaders consider operational changes and innovations. Automated reporting is intended for management to use while simply monitoring for potential problems and sudden growth, while BI analytics is designed for more in-depth investigations.
With BI, leaders can answer questions like why sales have increased, whether specific marketing campaigns are having an effect on customer demographics, or how employees have become more productive. These questions are critical to leaders who want to maximize profit and growth by replicating past successes.
BI is very similar to predictive analytics, but with the critical difference that predictive analytics is focused on the future and potential events that can influence business growth. Potential areas for predictive analytics include how and where to market services, how long successful services will continue to remain profitable, and which customer demographics are likely to change in the future.
Data Visualization and Reporting Tools
One of the strengths of modern BI software is that it can display data in a variety of ways. Users can create custom reports with little to no programming knowledge, as long as they know where to find the exact data they wish to use.
Common programs like Microsoft Power BI are powerful yet easy to learn with some basic training. Power BI can create customized dashboards that users can access at any time. Live data and data for set periods are just a few clicks away, reducing the amount of time staff spend analyzing data and automating reports.
Programmers can add additional non-native features to Microsoft Power BI and other software with APIs and other customized applications. This added flexibility helps businesses with highly specialized reporting automation needs or complex datasets.
Applications in Different Industries
Nearly every organization needs data analytics of some kind, and automated reporting systems are the easiest way to accomplish this. The exact needs of each industry will vary, but the ability to analyze different needs can help companies reach their goals.
Healthcare organizations need automated reporting to analyze patient intake, and BI to discover why those patients chose their organization. BI software can securely analyze data and compile reports that help organizations maintain practices that work and search for solutions when plans fall short.
Manufacturers often need automatic reporting to keep up on internal issues, like machine downtime and production speed. Oil and gas professionals have similar needs but are under even more pressure to keep up with constantly changing market demands.
Financial services need automated reporting to stay on top of account openings and closures, insurance payouts, fee intake, and other metrics. To better understand client wants and needs, companies can use BI with more in-depth data analysis to determine what services to offer in the future.
Reducing Stress on IT Departments
Some companies try to use their IT staff to pull data and create reports on key metrics manually. While this can work for a start-up with limited resources, it is not a sustainable practice for a growing business. It also pulls IT staff away from other key tasks like troubleshooting and updating systems.
The solution is to embrace the newest technologies and automation. Reports generated by specialized software will be much faster and eliminate human error, making them a more reliable option for businesses of any size.
Investing in user-friendly BI software also allows individual users to generate and modify reports as often as they want and use auto reporting to keep up with changes. With the right software training, everyone from marketing staff to CEOs can generate and automate reports that answer their questions.
Services from Syntelli
Syntelli Solutions is a leader in data analytics and AI, including report automation tools and business intelligence. We provide services to a broad range of industries, including healthcare, oil & gas, manufacturing, and financial services.
We can help you store and organize data, develop new APIs for existing systems, make data analytics programs run faster and much more. We also have forward-thinking services like predictive analytics and customized machine learning programs. Contact us today to book an appointment and learn more about our data science solutions.
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