Enterprise Reporting: The 2020’s Comprehensive Guide
1. What Is Enterprise Reporting?
Enterprise reporting is a process of extracting, processing, organizing, analyzing, and displaying data in the companies. It uses enterprise reporting tools to organize data into charts, tables, widgets, or other visualizations. It may offer a range of interactivity, so users can find business problems and make data-driven decisions via the reports.
The core steps are generating reports based on the business data, distributing reports, and managing the reports.
In the first step, the reports are usually made by the enterprise reporting tool. The enterprise reporting tool helps set manual reports as report templates to realize the automation of the business report.
Then the reporting engine publishes these reports to the reporting portal to allow non-technical end-users access. In this way, users can gain insights from the data and make data-driven decisions.
The enterprise reporting portal also helps organize and manage reports according to business topics to facilitate users to find reports easily.
2. What Is the Difference Between Enterprise Reporting and Business Intelligence?
According to the functional architecture of business intelligence, the BI can also be divided into three levels: display, analysis, and support.
The central one is the data visualization technology at the display level. Despite the different order of magnitude and the need for an in-depth analysis, data visualization technology can fulfill the most basic BI goals-transforming data into information and assisting decision-making. And enterprise reporting is the primary data visualization technology in most enterprises.
Therefore, business intelligence is a broader category that includes data processing, perform reporting, analytics, and visualization functions. And enterprise reporting is a more specific category within BI. Also, the features of an enterprise reporting tool can be associated with business intelligence (BI) software suite.
3.Common Problems With Enterprise Reporting
For IT departments, the enterprise reporting construction always has a long project life cycle and frequent delays. This makes team members under pressure and overtime work. Besides, it may difficult to fast respond to new demands because of the poor expansion of the system. And it is time-consuming to maintain the enterprise reporting system.
For reports developers, the business data is too scattered to utilize. The manual data processing results in a heavy workload, low accuracy, and poor security. Additionally, the original reports may fail to adjust to serve the new business.
For manages or other end-users, there is not a unified reporting management portal to have a comprehensive view of all the information. And it is inconvenient to show the reports in the meeting or check it on the business trip.
4.Enterprise Reporting Strategy
The most important in enterprise reporting strategy are: build enterprise reporting architecture, choose an enterprise reporting tool, and build an enterprise reporting portal.
Today, many enterprise reporting software has good support for the underlying data and can both make reports as a reporting tool and manage reports as a reporting portal. Here, I would take FineReport as an example in the following enterprise reporting strategy. It has helped more than 10000 companies solve the problems in enterprise reporting and transform data into value.
Let’s see how we can actually use this?
4.1 Build Enterprise Reporting Architecture
According to the process from data to knowledge, the functional architecture of a general enterprise reporting system is shown below:It is divided into three functional levels: the underlying data, data analysis, and data presentation.
The underlying data is responsible for data management, including data collection, ETL, building a data warehouse, etc.
Data analysis is mainly about extracting data from the data warehouse and analyzing it with the analysis methods such as query, OLAP, data mining, and data visualization to form the data conclusion.
In the end, display data insights such as reports and visual charts through data presentation.
Besides, at the underlying data level, an enterprise generally has several business systems, such as CRM, ERP, OA, etc., and business data are scattered in these independent systems. It is troublesome to extract data from different systems and integrate them. You may need different databse reporting tools.
Therefore, it would be much easier if there were a platform to connect these systems and put the data together.
FineReport can do it. Because FineReport supports multiple data sources and data integration. It can define multiple data sets in a report and extract data from different databases into a table.
4.2 Choose an Enterprise Reporting Tool
What is the Goal of an Enterprise Reporting Tool?
Besides the goal of data visualization mentioned above, the enterprise reporting tool can reduce the cost of repetitive report making and improve the efficiency of data acquisition. Via the interactive analysis such as drill-down, the problems in business can be located.
What is Good Enterprise Reporting Tool?
1.Easy to use
The drag-and-drop interface is user-friendly to non-technical users. Anyone can create a report template within 1 hour. Once the template created, the reports will be updated automatically based on the latest data source, which improves the efficiency of making reports to a large extent.
2. Report design modes can meet different needs
Report developers often receive a variety of report requirements in their work. FineReport provides three reporting modes: general report, aggregation report, and dashboard.
General Report Mode is for making regular reports such as grouping reports, master/subreport, tree reports, and other customized reports.
Aggregation Report Mode is for irregular reports. If we use Excel to make the complex reports shown below, we need to merge and split cells frequently. In the aggregation report mode, each aggregation block is independent; you can drag&drop and put them together to create irregular reports.
Dashboard Mode is for making a multi-perspective analysis. Only design once, you can adaptively display on a variety of devices such as mobile phones, tablets, large screens.
3. Support remote design
Typically, the report designer is installed on the report developer’s computer, but the server deploying the project is on a different computer. In this case, we need to put the designer and the report project on the same machine, and then we can modify and operate the files remotely. However, the remote operation is lagging in this situation.
After deploying FineReport, you can use its remote design capabilities to design locally, publish templates remotely.
4. Convenient data query and filter
In the enterprise reporting application, the reports also need to meet the query needs of different departments. This requires reporting software to facilitate the convenient data query.
For example, the financial department often needs to check the annual financial statements of the past years. In the past, the data of each year may need to be separately extracted and summarized into tables. But with FineReport, the annual report data can be inquired by setting year parameters. After the parameters are set in the parameters panel, select the year you want to query, and the corresponding data will be retrieved in a click.
5. Smart and distinctive data entry function
Reports are generally for data presentation, extracting data out of the database and presenting it in various charts. However, in many cases, we need to add or modify the data in the database. For example, the personnel department often needs to input or change employee information. With the data entry function of FineReport, the operation will be much more convenient.
After the report template is set and the bound the cells to the fields of the corresponding database, the data in the database can be added or deleted directly through the report. To avoid errors of data formats, you can set conditions to verify and check the data.
4.3 Build an Enterprise Reporting Portal
A unified enterprise reporting portal has been an important part of an enterprise reporting solution.
The Benefits of the Enterprise Reporting Portal
The reporting portal can organize the business reports which scattered in the different business systems and put them together to achieve the unified management.
It also gives a very secure environment for the users and implements comprehensive user management and access controls.
Some enterprise reporting portal also provides the data analysis such as flexible query and multi-dimensional statistics.
Using FineReport to build the reporting portal
The above mentioned has solved the problem of making the reports; let’s see how to use FineReport to solve the problems of managing and accessing the reports.
Generally, the reports developed by the enterprise are embedded in each system. It is time-consuming when the managers want to have a comprehensive view of the reports. The best solution is to build an enterprise report management platform, to access each system through a unified application.
There is a decision-making platform built-in the FineReport. It can directly manage access controls, system resources, configuration, etc. Managers at all levels can see all reports within their permissions through this reporting portal system.
To obtain data from various aspects timely, the managers will ask the business department to submit daily and weekly reports, which will add a lot of workload to the report developers. The schedule function of FineReport can implement weekly and daily reports regularly. The specific tasks can be performed according to the cycle frequency or condition that has been set. You can also set sending the report to the leader by email or text message.
At present, many enterprises rely on the PC to check their reports. However, for decision-makers, it is common for them to go on business trips. Therefore, they cannot check the report on PC timely and sometimes miss the best time to adjust business problems. Therefore, FineReport provides the mobile app for checking the reports on time.
It is not difficult to construct an enterprise reporting system. The core of the enterprise reporting is the processing and presentation of data. Therefore, it is critical to choose the right enterprise reporting tool.