Whether your organization has 10, 10,000 or 100,000 employees, for daily business operations, you should be using an operational reporting software solution. Here’s why.
Most companies can’t keep up with the growth of their operational data.
When we think about the rapid growth of data, most likely what comes first to mind are big data sources, like streams of data that come from IoT devices or social media platforms. While big data offers its own unique value, it doesn’t provide the insights that can come from looking at “small data” – an organization’s own operational data.
Companies of every size now store large troves of data about their business interactions –data that offers opportunities to upsell and enhance their products, and engage their customers. The volumes of this data continue to grow as organizations bring on new applications. And what makes this operational data especially valuable is the fact that:
- It is actual, specific data about their own business and customer activity
- It tends to be cleaner data. Already stored in a relational database, it’s ready for reporting without the need for further data processing
- Companies already own it – they don’t need to purchase it from other sources
Operational reporting is for all companies, regardless of size.
Businesses have always had access to operational reporting tools. Databases like Microsoft SQLServer or Oracle initially included their own free reporting solutions. As part of an implementation of a database, a programmer often created a simple set of SQL reports that helped end users immediately see their application’s data. It was a great way to kick off the implementation of a new application by delivering some key reports from day one.
Unfortunately, as these organizations scaled, IT departments found they had less time to dedicate to creating and maintaining a growing catalogue of reports. What started out as a free reporting tool began to cost money as developers spent their time creating and changing reports, instead of working on their core deliverables.
Today, as organizations focus on becoming more data-driven, employees expect to be able to explore their data by creating ad hoc reports and analytics. This is the era of the citizen data scientist, and the organizations who have staff with the knowledge and tools to take on this role are the ones poised for success in the decade ahead.
Companies need real-time operational data.
It’s usually not enough for operational reporting to cover historical data. Business users want to see today’s metrics, not tomorrow’s. That’s why the ability to report on data in real or near-real time should be an important consideration when purchasing a reporting software. To make informed business decisions and improve operational efficiency, employees need to see real time metrics.
Four other important factors to keep in mind when looking at operational reporting solutions.
Additional data sources: Growing organizations will ingest a wide variety of data sources, from new cloud databases to one-off Excel files. Your reporting tool needs to be able to connect to and combine these sources for a complete view of your business operations.
Analytics functionality: Front line staff may depend on daily reports to keep ahead of daily operations, but management needs analytics to get the bigger picture. Your organization should not have to purchase and connect to a separate analytics solution.
Self-service: Emerging organizations don’t necessarily have the funds to employ data scientists – and even for those who do, it can be hard to find data scientists who understand the business. Your reporting tool should be simple and intuitive enough that staff can use it to build and share reports, yet robust enough for power users who may want to explore predictive algorithms using Python, for example.
Costs: Licensing costs vary from solution to solution. What appears to be a modestly priced reporting tool can get expensive very quickly if you are charged per query, report render or user seat.
Modern operational reporting tools like Orbit Analytics can meet the growing demand for data insights, regardless of the size of your business. Request a demo today.