Owing to the A.I. revolution, and technological advancement, businesses rely on numbers and metrics.
Everything boils down to interpretable results that are presented to decision makers through robust software reporting tools. After all, data in its raw form is just something that isn’t any more useful than a gold vein, waiting to be unearthed.
Analogies aside, today’s fast paced industry verticals are operating under the influence of metrics and performance. Weak areas are either made to undergo a correctional plan, or there’s an entirely new strategy in place to redo things.
Meanwhile, there’s some form of reporting system, or software for reporting that serves as a gate keeper. Particularly, if we talk about stage-gating processes in project management, report creation software essentially helps to pivot the strategy in the right direction.
In this post, we’ll talk about different aspects of software reporting tools; why they’re important, and IF they’re the only breed of programs that your business could benefit from.
The million-dollar question is the key difference between software reporting tools and business intelligence tools.
What are Software Reporting Tools
Otherwise known as reporting software, or report building software, these programs are used by businesses to create organized and comprehensive reports.
These tools can be used to summarize data into meaningful information that is then presented in a clear and concise format. Common reporting tools include spreadsheets, database management systems, business intelligence (BI) software, graphical dashboards, custom-built software solutions, and ERP applications.
In that regard, spreadsheets are often used as an entry-level reporting tool due to their ease of use and familiarity with most users.
Data from multiple sources can be entered into spreadsheet cells with calculations built using formulas for quick summarization of data.
Then we have database management systems. Common examples of these systems could be Microsoft Access or Oracle, as they provide the capability for more robust querying of databases with multiple layers which allows for a more granular analysis of data.
Business Intelligence (BI) Tools go beyond simple querying and instead analyze large amounts of complex data from multiple sources analyzing patterns in the data so organizations can identify trends or potential opportunities quickly.
Graphical dashboards provide a highly visual representation of key metrics at a glance allowing decision makers to quickly assess performance levels across different units or divisions within an organization.
Custom-built software solutions allow organizations to tailor their reporting needs specifically whereas Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications provide pre-configured reports that cover all aspects related to financial transactions.
The use of reporting tools enables businesses to reduce the manual labor associated with producing quality reports while enabling them to make informed decisions quickly based on reliable information.
What Are The Different Types of Software Reporting Tools?
There are a variety of software reporting tools available which can be used to gather, analyze, and report data in various formats.
These applications typically provide the ability to generate graphical reports and dashboards as well as more detailed statistical analysis. Popular types of software reporting tools include:
Business Intelligence (BI) Tools
These are usually enterprise level applications that provide powerful data analysis capabilities across multiple teams, departments or divisions within an organization.
They often offer predictive analytics along with visualization and drill-down capability for reviewing trends in large amounts of data. Examples of BI tools include Microsoft Power BI, Tableau Software and QlikView.
These allow users to create standard or custom reports from databases quickly and efficiently through user-friendly wizards that guide the process from start to finish.
Reporting generators come in both on-premises solutions as well as web based options such as Crystal Reports by SAP Business Objects and ActiveReports by Data Dynamics Inc.
Database Management Systems (DBMS)
DBMS are primarily used for managing databases but also have strong reporting features that allow users to query the database directly without any type of programming language required such as Microsoft Access or Oracle Database Server Express Edition (XE).
Common spreadsheet applications like Microsoft Excel can be leveraged for performing basic calculations, generating charts/graphs, visualizing trends among other analytical tasks.
What Is The Different Between Business Intelligence (BI) & Software Report Creation Software?
Business Intelligence (BI) tools and Software Reporting Tools are both essential components of any successful data analysis process.
However, these two systems have distinct characteristics which set them apart from each other.
Business intelligence tools are generally used to gain insight into specific business tasks or decisions.
This type of system collects, stores, manages, and analyzes data in order to provide meaningful information for users to make better decisions. It is often used by executives and strategic planners who need a more detailed understanding of their market or the performance of their organization to guide future investments and activities.
Examples of BI tools include dashboards, reporting suites, customer relationship management systems (CRMs), predictive analytics software, online analytical processing (OLAP) cubes and more advanced analytics solutions such as natural language processing (NLP).
On the other hand, software reporting tools focus on presenting an aggregation of raw data in a simplified format for visual interpretation by users.
These types of systems typically use tables or graphs to present aggregate figures on certain variables such as sales figures or customer segmentation patterns over time.
The main purpose is usually for tracking KPIs and providing basic insights about different trends over time without going into much detail about individual factors influencing results.
Common examples include spreadsheet applications like Microsoft Excel as well as cloud-based services such as Tableau or Power Bi.
In summary, while they can be used in conjunction with each other to reach maximum efficiency when analyzing business metrics; Business Intelligence Tools offer a much deeper level insight than their counterpart due to its ability gather larger amounts of disparate data from various sources.
General Criterion For Selecting Software Reporting Tools In 2023
The ideal criterion for selecting software reporting tools will vary depending on the type of application and its specific needs. In general, some key criteria to consider include:
A good reporting tool should be able to adapt quickly to changing requirements and be easily extended or customized when needed.
- Ease of Use:
User interfaces should be intuitive and easy to navigate, with clear language used throughout the application.
Help menus, tutorials, and live customer support are also valuable features if they are available.
- Reporting Capabilities:
Good reporting tools can generate comprehensive reports in multiple formats (e.g., HTML, XML). The ability to export data into common applications such as Excel is also helpful for further analysis down the line.
- Data Security & Privacy Compliance:
Depending on the industry or application, there may be special considerations around data security and privacy regulations which need to be met by any chosen software solution(s).
All data must always remain secure from unauthorized access during processing and storage by compliant solutions only.
- Cost & Scalability:
Ultimately cost is an important factor in any software decision-making process; however, it must weigh against scalability of the solution as well as long term operational costs involved in maintaining/upgrading it over time.
5 Best Software for Reporting In 2023
Dotnet Report is a one-off solution to generating interactive reports on just about anything.
Businesses reportedly lean on this platform to create reports that play a formidable report in the decision making process.
Same goes for ad hoc reporting in Dotnet Report. You can create, configure and present reports on the fly, with the help of the program’s intuitive interface. Here are some of the best key features for your ready reference.
- Multi user teams with ability to define user roles, and privilege levels
- Simple and straightforward UI + UX for easy menu navigation
- Minimum learning curve as opposed to conventional software reporting tools
- Ability to connect with relational databases
- Share reports from within the software
- Multi-file format and report exporting options available
- Present reports in different formats appropriate for key business decisions
- SAP Crystal Reports
SAP Crystal Reports is a business intelligence application used to create and analyze data-driven reports.
It is used by companies worldwide to customize their reporting processes and make data-driven decisions quickly and accurately. SAP Crystal Reports has many features that promote report efficiency, accuracy, scalability, and robustness.
The main feature of SAP Crystal Reports is its ability to connect with databases such as Oracle, SQL Server, Microsoft Access, and others to source the data needed for reporting.
Another key feature of SAP Crystal Reports is its ability to use dynamic parameters; this lets users bring in up-to-date information every time they run their report—making them far more accurate than static reports that only reflect one moment in time.
The program’s powerful design capabilities let users create professional-grade visualizations out of raw data sets; these customizable graphics can be included in a variety of output formats like Word documents or Excel spreadsheets for further analysis or sharing purposes.
All in all, the features offered by SAP Crystal Reports make it immensely useful for any organization looking for comprehensive reporting tools that integrate seamlessly into existing systems while providing powerful customization options at competitive prices.
- Jaspersoft Reporting
Jaspersoft Reporting is a powerful and comprehensive reporting platform designed to provide flexible reporting and analysis capabilities.
It provides a simple drag-and-drop interface which enables users to quickly build reports without writing any code.
In addition to that, organization-level users can integrate data from multiple sources and visualize that information in a variety of formats with the help of interactive dashboards and customizable charting capabilities.
One of the major advantages that Jaspersoft Reporting offers is its ability to easily connect with external data sources through JDBC connectivity, ETL tools, web services, RESTful APIs or even cloud storage platforms like Amazon S3.
This makes it easy for organizations to access up-to-date external information which can be incorporated into their workflow process.
Moreover, it also offers advanced features like distributed report caching for faster report generation times, support for multi-tenant environments as well as in-memory analysis for near real-time reporting outcomes.
In terms of visualization options, Jaspersoft Reporting provides support for over 60 chart types including specialized charts such as Gantt Charts and Scatter Plots which allow users to explore relationships between different set of variables more effectively.
- Zoho Analytics
Zoho Analytics is more of a house-hold name when it comes to reliable software reporting tools in the industry.
In case you didn’t know, it is a cloud-based business intelligence software provider used by over 15 million users across the globe. Zoho
Zoho also allows organizations to create and maintain their own data warehouse, build automated reports, and analyze insights for better decision making.
Some of the program’s all-time famous key features, include, but aren’t limited to:
1) Comprehensive Reports – Create comprehensive reports quickly and efficiently using built-in templates or creating entirely new ones from scratch.
2) Dashboards & Widgets – Create interactive dashboards with widgets that update in real-time as the underlying data changes – giving you an up-to-date view of your business in one place.
3) Automated Insights – Get enrichening insights based on trends or patterns automatically identified by Zoho Analytics’ AI engine or gain more detailed understanding about any factor affecting your operations.
4) Data warehousing & Preparation – Easily connect large amounts of data from multiple sources such as databases, applications or spreadsheets into one secure environment for storage and analysis purposes with Zoho’s ETL feature (Extract Transform Load).
5) Google Analytics
If you are looking for one of the best and free software reporting tools right now, then Google Analytics is the way to go.
It is a free web analytics tool from Google that helps website owners, marketers, and other digital professionals understand how visitors interact with website content.
Professionals can reportedly create reports based on site traffic and customer behavior which are crucial for improving user experience as well as overall business performance.
- Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking allows tracking customer interactions with products or services through their entire purchase journey right from product discovery to checkout.
- Unified Data Collection Platform – All data from websites and mobile applications are consolidated into one dashboard viewable within easy-to-read dashboards and tables in real-time for better decisioning.
- Third Party Integration – The ability to integrate Google Analytics with third party tools like AdWords or Adobe SiteCatalyst expands its comprehensive capabilities even further so users can gain deeper insights about their customers’ behavior across all channels.
- Custom Metrics & Dimensions – With this feature users get granular control over custom metrics & dimensions they want tracked which is not possible while using generic metrics provided by default.
- Site Speed Reports – This report offers different timeline options thus allowing tracking errors related to loading speeds at a deeper level thereby helping identify slow pages that need attention.
No matter what type of reporting software you choose, our best advice would be to evaluate it before settling down with one vendor.
Buyers are normally impulsive and give into shiny new features that are practically useless to their small business volume. Feel free to evaluate the program on trial plan, and then proceed according to your business requirements.
Which report building software are the best right now?
In terms of business scalability, and low learning curve, we’d say Dotnet Report. You can create reports through multiple filters, via drill through or drill down approach, and connect a large variety of different relational databases on the go.
Other programs down the list are Zoho Analytics, Easy Reports and SAP Crystal Reports.