Business intelligence blog

    Why you need self-service reporting

    In today’s fast-paced business environment, it's not easy to predict and prepare for the future. This is why many companies are using data analytics for on-demand reporting so everyone in a business can get the data they need, when they need it. Self-service reporting allows people to produce reports and visualizations on-the-go or from home - without relying on IT - which means faster decision-making and better customer service.

     The following three indicators strongly suggest that you are ready to implement a data analytics solution that provides self-serve reporting:

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    1. Reports lead to more reports

    Traditional reporting is often frustrating and time-consuming. Waiting days for IT to generate a report frequently results in outdated information, further delaying decision-making. In addition, IT reports are static. They may answer some high-summary questions but lack the ability to answer additional questions on a granular level. When more information is needed, you find it necessary to go back to IT and request additional reports.  

    Self-service data analytics enables anyone, even non-technical users, to access, query, and generate reports on demand, such as during business meetings. The nature of dynamic reporting means that if more information is needed, users can quickly drill down for more detail. 

    Dorota Bragg, a business analyst at Jurox explains how reporting worked before the business implemented data analytics and people can create their own reports.

    “The reports were not solving problems but sparking more questions, and to answer these ongoing queries, I’d have to go back to the source data and find the information or detail that the sales managers or product managers were interested in.”  

    “It was a labour intensive process, and I had to use a number of different tools to analyse the different datasets.

    Epicor data analytics powered by Phocas enables Jurox to sync data from different sources into the same platform so everyone can work from a single source of truth. This also ensures that creating useful, accurate reports is now a simple process.

    2. Desire for visual charts

    Would visualizations help you present complex data with better clarity and efficiency? A graphical depiction of numbers presents your data in a way that people can easily digest, retain, and recall. Like a well-told story, a visualization allows you to set the scene and explain what happened, why it matters and how users can turn it into something actionable.

    With clear visualizations, it is easier to guide stakeholders from a broad overview down to the granular details. Graphic representations of data make it easy to see existing patterns and project future trends, which can help drive decision-making. Depending on your needs, visualizations might be simple such as bar charts, pie charts, and maps. Or they may be more complex models such as waterfalls, funnels, gauges, and many other components. Whatever the case, Phocas users can build a customized dashboard to fit any scenario.  

    Vinod Devarapalli is the commercial administration manager at ICU medical products.

    “I love dashboards and building databases in the designer module of Phocas. I use them everyday and so does the senior executive team, to understand how the business is tracking,”explains Devarapalli.

    By using Phocas data analytics software, ICU now uses its data to make strategic and tactical decisions. The access to consolidated data allows more people in the business to step-up.

    “Mobile BI dashboards help the sales team and the regional sales team to make quick decisions on the go rather than having a boardroom meeting and pulling the information out so we can check with the finance team."

    3. People in the company are already doing it

    You may know some colleagues are already using analytics at work. Many department heads and top employees understand that the IT department is stretched, yet they have important projects to deliver. As such, they may have already adopted and easy-to-use analytics solution for their personal use.  Ask around or take notice at your next business meeting and you are likely to find resourceful employees who are already using self-service analytics to quickly make informed decisions. 

    A study by the Harvard Business Review revealed that ‘high-performing, customer-oriented workforces’ have a high prevalence of employees using ‘bring your own technology.’  For instance, American-based big box store, Walmart, realized employees were using their phones to help them at work. Consequently, Walmart has embraced this trend by creating an employee app so they can help customers locate items within the store. So implementing a company-wide data analytics solution may not be difficult at all – perhaps you already have many users and advocates.

    To learn more about self-service reporting and data analytics, download this free ebook: Business performance dashboards.


    Written by Phocas Software
    Successful Business Intelligence - Phocas Software
    Successful Business Intelligence - Phocas Software

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