Enterprise Reporting

What Is Enterprise Reporting?

What is Enterprise Reporting?

Enterprise Reporting Helps You:

  • Generate reports based on business data
  • Create intuitive visualizations
  • Gain insights from data
  • Make data-driven decisions

Generate reports based on business data

Enterprise reporting is the creation and distribution of reports based on business performance to key stakeholders. It may include reports on key performance metrics or day-to-day business operations. In a nutshell, enterprise reporting offers users a comprehensive view of business performance with the help of reports and dashboards composed of graphs, charts and other business metrics.

Enterprise reports are tangible documents that provide information organized into tabular, graphic or narrative forms. Reporting is a business intelligence tool feature that presents data in a compressed, organized way, making complex information easy to digest and understand. These can be anything as simple as an organized table of numbers to a complex, interactive visualization.

Some examples of reports are:

  • Explanatory Reports: An explanatory report aims to explain a situation to an outside group. For example, a bar graph that shows an organization’s leads for a given period is explanatory; it provides information that users can extrapolate into insights.
  • Progress Reports: Progress reports provide project statuses. Managers or employees create these reports on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to track performance and ensure transparency. An example of a progress report is an elementary schooler’s report card. How are things going right now? What numbers is your organization generating?
  • Analytical Reports: These type of enterprise reports analyzes quantitative and qualitative information to make data-driven decisions. For example, you might take last year’s sales report and compare it to this year in a single document and explain why the numbers increase, decrease, or remain stable. Analytical reports suggest actions, measures or recommendations to solve problems.
  • Operational Reports: These reports track operational processes and tasks. They help business spot issues and bottlenecks, identify opportunities and optimize efficiency. They are commonly used in production, logistics and retail to track inventory and manage production costs.

Create intuitive visualizations

Data visualization is crucial to understanding and interpreting complex information. And that’s not just because we aesthetically like pretty graphs and flashy charts — we process visual information faster than text.

While it might take a trained data analyst to notice trends in a huge table of numbers, a novice user can recognize patterns in a scattergraph of those same numbers. These visualizations make it easier for users to draw actionable insights from their proprietary data.

Gain insights from data

What do users do when their data is organized into reports? They can analyze the information to identify patterns and trends. These patterns can lead to actionable insights and boost business performance.

For example, let’s imagine a hypothetical organization. They generate an explanatory enterprise report that shows their sales data for a year across the United States in the form of a chart organized by region. The sales manager can compare this visualization to last year’s numbers, either manually or through business intelligence software.

The manager notices that the data shows their sales fell 13% in the Northeast since the previous year. They can use that information to make decisions. For example, if a new competitor is likely the cause for the downturn, they can focus their energies on improving their product, changing their marketing tactics, and focusing on customer retention or other business practices to regain their position.

They will make these decisions backed by data (potential ROI, revenue lost in the region, cost of the corrective action versus cost of doing nothing, for example) to guide their choices.

Make Data-driven decisions

Data-driven decisions, another favorite buzzword, refer to actions backed by trends and patterns in visualizations. This idea is opposed to more traditional decision-making, which largely relies on heuristics such as trial and error, anecdotal insights and other less concrete methods.

For example, if an organization discovers it is excelling in the Midwest, it can direct more resources toward that demographic to improve metrics. Enterprise reports aim to empower business professionals to make more informed decisions based on historical data, present analysis and future predictions.


What Is Enterprise Software?

Enterprise software is a set of tools that provides business-oriented applications to streamline tasks like payment processing, communication, data analysis and more while improving business productivity and efficiency.

What Is the Goal of an Enterprise Reporting Tool?

Reporting aims to present data in the form of robust visualizations. They are structured, easy to interpret and may offer a range of interactivity, including drill-down, filter, sort and more. The goal of enterprise reports is to help users identify patterns and make data-driven decisions.

What Is an Enterprise Reporting Strategy?

An enterprise reporting strategy defines:

  • What information do your stakeholders and investors need?
  • How should you distribute the required information? Which channels to use? When is the right time to deliver KPIs and metrics?
  • How will you ensure quality?

What Are the Steps to Create Robust Enterprise Reports?

Collect Data: Collect and organize data obtained scattered across various systems, including customer management platforms, spreadsheets, ERP, mainframe systems and more.

Synthesize the Data: After accumulating data in a centralized location, you have to make sense of it. Summarize the data, perform calculations, and create graphs and charts to view trends and outliers.

Draw Insights: Analyze data to understand the context. For instance, what happened in the past, why it happened, what measures you should take to prevent issues and what’s likely to happen in the future. Explore relationships between data values to unearth meaningful insights. Present them in the form of intuitive visualizations and reports.

Share and Distribute Reports: Share reports across different stakeholders to facilitate collaboration and drive robust decisions.

What Is the Difference Between Enterprise Reporting and Business Intelligence?

While the capabilities of enterprise reporting fall under the umbrella of BI, they are slightly different, so let’s briefly touch on the subject.

Business intelligence is the larger category for the types of software solutions that perform reporting, analytics and visualization functions in a business setting. It includes embedded analytics, business analytics, big data analysis, data mining and more.

Enterprise reporting is a specific analytics software category within the business intelligence landscape. It focuses on creating reports that allow users to draw insights but does little in the way of explaining those insights. BI offers a robust, intensive and extensive set of features that includes those offered by enterprise reporting

But this doesn’t make BI a suitable choice for everyone. For many organizations, BI is sprawling and offers capabilities they don’t need. Others prefer data analysts or financial planners in the place of software solutions. Whatever the reason, enterprise reporting software is often a more attainable and focused option for businesses seeking lower-level BI capabilities.

What Are the Types of Enterprise Reports?

Dashboards are a portal through which users can view reports and other visualizations. They can be interactive or static, and their main purpose is to present a collection of information like the dashboard of a plane or car. Many enterprise reporting systems allow users to customize their dashboard view to ensure they only see relevant information.

Performance Management
Although no one likes to feel like their boss is looming over their shoulder, performance management is a vital part of business best practices. You can use outcome-oriented key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the performance of individual employees, departments, locations and more. Enterprise reports collect and analyze data trends to pinpoint areas that need improvement.

Ad hoc
Ad hoc reports are one-off reports for a specific query. They are highly customized and narrow in scope, offering detailed business data. They’re useful for answering specific questions like how much revenue did a specific region generate in a quarter or how many tickets did customer service representatives resolve in a particular day or week?

How Much Does Enterprise Reporting Cost?

The cost of enterprise reporting tools varies. Some are completely free, for better or worse. But most prices are based on a quote that depends on the features a client needs, meaning vendors typically don’t make their prices public. Contacting the vendors you are interested in and submitting an RFQ to get a personalized quote is the only surefire way to know how much a solution will cost.

What Are the Best Enterprise Reporting Tools?

This is where it gets tricky. While some enterprise reporting tools are more powerful than others, there’s really no one-size-fits-all solution. You can make sure you choose the right tool for your organization, however. Follow these simple steps to find the best enterprise reporting system:

Gather Requirements
The most important step in software selection is to identify your unique requirements. Your organization has specific needs and will use different features than other businesses. This interactive requirements template can help you identify which requirements you want in an enterprise reporting tool.

Basing your search on particular requirements saves time that you would normally spend on narrowing down solutions that aren’t a good fit. It will help ensure you don’t overpay for features you won’t use.

Compare Solutions
Once you’ve identified key requirements, you can use that knowledge to compare platforms. This comparison report breaks down different enterprise reporting solutions based on how well they deliver different features. This process carries out the benefit mentioned in the previous section — just because a product is popular doesn’t mean it will be a good fit for you, so matching up your unique requirements with products that meet them is key.

Shortlist and Request Demos
We recommend choosing the top five or six enterprise reporting tools that best meet your needs and reaching out to those vendors. This phase is where you can compare pricing, user-friendliness and vendor support.

Most platforms offer a free trial or demo that lets you sample the software and test its UI. The main reason software implementation fails is poor user engagement with the platform. You should also verify the amount and type of user support the vendor offers. This can be anything from basic ticketing support packages to 24/7 live tech support and everything in between — each package with a varying price tag.

What Are the Types of Enterprise Reporting Analytics?

Descriptive analytics search past data to uncover insights. It’s the most basic form of analysis, merely transforming data points into visuals for users to analyze and interpret. It’s useful for year-end reports, performance management and understanding overall business performance for different time periods.

If descriptive analytics answer the “what,” diagnostic analytics answer the “why.” Through features like drill-down, data mining, correlation and data discovery, it allows you to focus on specific data points (for example, a large dip in productivity) and compare different factors to try to understand the causes.

Predictive analytics make predictions about the future based on past performance. Using a combination of algorithms, machine learning and statistical models, predictive analytics capture correlations in data. Then it fills in gaps with projections based on previous trends.

This forecast is just that — a forecast. It can’t be expected to be 100% accurate. But the more historical data the solution has to incorporate, the more accurate the predictions are likely to be. And a close estimate is much better than flying blind!

Prescriptive analytics is a revolutionary way to take a business plan for a test drive. Using advanced forecasting capabilities, this type of analysis allows you to view the impact of potential decisions on individual metrics and overall business performance. This strategy combines the former three types of analysis to offer a risk-free way to predict the outcomes of different decisions.

What Are the Benefits of Enterprise Reporting?

Make Better Decisions: Enterprise reports allows you to make powerful decisions by providing immediate access to important information. View key metrics on the dashboard to gauge business performance.

Provide a Seamless Customer Experience: Provide an intuitive interface for users to view and interact with data and identify trends, patterns, outliers and points of interest.

Boost Productivity: Leverage self-service capabilities to create ad hoc reports without relying on IT teams.

What Are the Features of Enterprise Reporting Tools?

Enterprise reporting software should offer a core set of features that allow users to produce the types of analysis and reports mentioned above. Here’s a quick summary of those features:

Pixel Perfect Formatting
Enterprise reporting solutions can format reports for printing, filling out online or presentation by PowerPoint, dashboard or website.

Data Filtering
Data filtering tests data for inclusion or exclusion through user-specified parameters to include only relevant information.

Data Sorting
After data is filtered, the solution lets users sort the data in a report. Sorting controls the order in which data appears — for example, by time period, region, sales rep and more.

Data Grouping
Once you filter and sort the data, group it to present trends. Grouping organizes the dataset based on user-specified parameters.

Static and Dynamic Images
Display reports in a variety of formats in both static and dynamic visualizations. Some examples include JPEG, GIF, PNG, WMF and SVG.

Create and export barcode sets for reports. These are machine-readable data representations that allow it to transmit, import and exchange digitally.

Enterprise reporting systems offer a range of visualization types like bar graphs, pie, column, area, stacked, meter, bubble and tree charts, heat maps, funnels and more.

Report Delivery
Deliver reports to specific destinations (for example, a website, employee emails or a dashboard) in a particular language and format.

Drag and Drop Creation
Leverage an intuitive drag-and-drop interface to create visually appealing reports.

Report Creation Tools
Enterprise reporting solutions offer various tools to create different kinds of reports, export them, develop templates, link databases and create data groups.

Field Explorer
This feature manages report fields and customizes them.

Custom Templates
Most reporting tools come with pre-built reports, but custom report templates are also available. This feature makes the process quicker and easier later on.

Export Capabilities
Users can export reports in different formats, including Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Workbook, PDF, HTML and more.

OLAP Reports
Users can create reports using OLAP, AKA online analytical processing. OLAP analyzes data from different points of view — time periods or locations, for example.

Subreports can define data sources and receive parameters from parent reports. This feature creates reports by drawing data from different sources.

How Do I Select an Enterprise Reporting System?

When selecting an enterprise reporting system, it’s important to keep the following things in mind:

  • The system should be scalable to adapt to dynamic requirements.
  • It should facilitate seamless integration across different applications.
  • It should meet your operational needs and long-term business objectives.
  • It should be deployable on the cloud or on-premise based on your preferences.
  • It should conform to your budget while offering the features you need.

If you want more information about enterprise reporting systems, these articles are a good starting place:

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Enterprise reporting articles are written and edited by:

Zachary Totah

Content Manager

As SelectHub’s Content Manager, Zachary Totah leads a team of more than 35 writers and editors in their quest to provide content that helps software buyers find the right system for their company.

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Hunter Lowe

Content Editor and Senior Market Analyst

Hunter Lowe is a Content Editor and Senior Market Analyst at SelectHub. He writes content for Construction, Inventory, Warehouse, and Supply Chain Management.

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Ritinder Kaur

Market Analyst

Ritinder Kaur is a Market Analyst who writes content on Business Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, Business Analytics, Embedded Analytics and Enterprise Reporting.

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Payal Tikait

Market Analyst and Technical Content Writer

Payal is a Market Analyst and Technical Content Writer at SelectHub. She is passionate about curating content for business intelligence, ERP and human resource domain.

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Open-source reporting tools evoke cautious discussions. You’re never sure if you’re for or against them. Are they on par with proprietary software in addressing large enterprises’ business needs?

Among reporting software, open-source solutions garner much interest — they’re cost-effective and customizable. But what about licensing? Which open-source license should you opt for? What are the best practices for adopting open-code software? Read more on this ahead.

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Speaking of freebies, reporting software can be yours for a flat rate of $0. And no, we don’t mean for a limited time. We mean forever, never-have-to-open-your-wallet free reporting tools.

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When your data is siloed and your insights dated, you may seek a reporting tool that does it all — project management, billing, reporting and analytics.

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In this article, you’ll find a reporting features checklist, handy tips and resources for systematic software selection.

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The Best SaaS Reporting Tools

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Software-as-a-service (SaaS) reporting tools are cloud-based enterprise reporting software for tracking all business metrics, including performance and operational data. Like other cloud software, SaaS solutions are infrastructure-agnostic and deploy quickly. It gives you a wider playing field — you can opt out anytime.

But, purchasing a software system for your business is still important, requiring diligent research and discussion. We’re here to help.

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