Understanding Data Reporting: Types, Benefits and Examples

Many people hate working with analytics. Such hesitation has been historically formed by boring data reports that require in-depth immersion and special skills to interpret run-on figures. But sadly, a large percentage of businesses in the 2020s still opt for non-optimal data reporting strategies. How can this be changed to become a company’s benefit? Let’s find out more about how data reporting can be done right.

July 21, 2022

9 min

Project management

Companies won’t make it far if they don’t collect, track, and analyze data. The breadth of gathered information may seem overwhelming: marketing campaigns, sales figures, team efficiency, key performance indicators, various metrics, and statistics. But just like a pinging heartbeat monitor, data reports signal how a business is doing.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the must-knows, cover the different types of data reports and their advantages for business, as well as provide data report examples.

What Is Data Reporting?

The main purpose of reporting is to collect data that’ll help to evaluate, assess, and analyze business performance based on the obtained facts and latest figures.

But what is a data report? It is a presentation of the gathered and merged information from multiple sources. It can serve as an organized and timely record showing the current state or the dynamics of selected criteria over a period of time.

Defining data reporting

In the old days, such data was handled manually with lots of amendments and calculations done by hand. Obviously, this time-consuming way of how to report data required many resources and often lacked the freshest updates.

Modern reporting tools help to automate and upscale reporting so they become simple to comprehend and digest. By using information that’s well-formatted and updated in real-time, a decision-maker can draw conclusions and take action faster (for instance, amend the strategies or effectively make informed calls).

As a rule, data reports may come in various formats. These can be:

  • traditional reports (usually with raw numbers and extensive textual resources);
  • visualized data (which simplifies perception via graphs, charts, tables, scatter plots, etc.);
  • or enhanced solutions (such as intuitive dashboards).

Why Is Reporting Important?

While the necessity for a business to handle data analytics is pretty straightforward, many companies still face several challenges.

One of them is that not all employees are as “analytics-literate” as you’d want them to be. This is because analytics may be hard to grasp if data reporting isn’t addressed optimally.

If reports take too long to create or understand, this is another red flag. You’d be surprised how many businesses in the 2020s still rely on good-old static PDFs and Excel spreadsheets which may take forever to scroll through, let alone to figure out.

At this point, you’re probably picturing bored faces blankly staring at their screens or dozing off. But this problem may be more significant than you think. According to Towards Data Science, 74% of employees admit feeling unhappy or overwhelmed when working with data, while 14% prefer to avoid such tasks altogether. Topping that, an impressive percentage of employees claim that data analytics tasks cause stress or burnout and result in procrastination.

Statistics on employees and data analytics

This is bad news for businesses. But even more so, sloppy or overcomplicated data reports often lead to miscomprehension and missed opportunities since pivotal indicators are left unnoticed.

What if you could have cut down costs on a tactic that isn’t returning needed profit? Or what if better online reporting would allow your organization to predict the market changes and get prepared instead of missing out?

The bottom line is that a business will gain more if analytics stops being a hassle. By implementing automation and using custom-built reporting solutions, organizations get a chance to eliminate loads of manual work and reduce human errors.

When utilized wisely, data reports become easier to cope with and can serve as an all-encompassing source of priceless information that reflects the current state of the company’s core processes. This is why you should take data visualization reports seriously, as they allow for further analysis and lead to improved decision-making. 

Keep reading: The Importance of Data Visualization for Business

What Are the Benefits of Data Reporting?

When modern tools and data analytics perform in a duet, tangible value is seen almost immediately. Modern data analysis reports come in different shapes and sizes. And the best part is that they no longer have to be those run-on spreadsheets with pages of explanations that are exhausting to work with. With a proper approach, data reporting may become a fundamental basis for business growth.

Below we list some notable advantages of data reporting.

5 Main Data Reporting Benefits

1. The team has a better understanding of the big picture

A simple-to-use dashboard that pulls data from reports in real-time keeps more people on track. It makes crucial information accessible and defies the boundaries between analytics-savvy specialists and regular users, making complex graphs a thing of the past. As a result, you get a team that’s in sync and easily crunching data.

2. Not missing critical insights

Once again, simplicity is the biggest ally of data reports. When you see the updates in real-time, it lowers your chances of important business discoveries slipping away from your sight. This includes both positive and negative aspects such as sudden conversion drops or, on the contrary, opportunities to make additional profit. You get control over the data that may have previously been a hassle.

3. Faster and more informed decision-making

It may sound disappointing, but many wrong decisions have led to budget drain specifically because data didn’t back the assumptions. And this could have been avoided if a business had taken a step up with its data reporting. Curated data that is organized and well-presented simplifies perception. 

Yes, the business world is still very unpredictable, but just as with weather forecasts, you can make more precise calls if you monitor the situation in real-time instead of taking wild guesses. 

4. Enhanced budget distribution and planning

Resources allocation and determining the budget flow are not simple tasks. Yet when reporting data, all the information is available at a glance, so you can save money and know which areas need more resources and where you should cut costs.

5. Plenty of room for customization

Regardless of the path you take, it’s possible to tweak data reports around your needs. Depending on the purpose and requirements, you may craft the reports or dashboards to suit various objectives, enhancing their designs in terms of usability. Flexibility is among the things that make data visualization reports so great.

Need a hand with data reporting?

Don't be shy to reach out, Upsilon's team is always ready to assist with data report optimization.

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Types of Data Reports

Many innovations of the digital age have been recently transforming the approach to analytics, reporting, and data management. Of course, enhanced data curation upscales these processes, paving the way to important insights and gains.

As briefly mentioned, data reporting may come in a variety of forms. Depending on the purpose and needs of an organization, data reports may be of different types, including:

  • Overview reports (provide a general outline of the current state of a certain business sphere);
  • Key performance indicator reports (show the vital metrics that are important for the company to monitor);
  • Customer reports (portray client dynamics from conversions and behavior to trends and needs);
  • Sales reports (present the company’s sales activities, including information on leads, volumes, etc.);
  • Status reports (summarize the stages or task progress, the implementation of plans and goals, etc.);
  • Financial reports (demonstrate the company’s expenses, budget, revenue, profit, accounting, among other money-related things);
  • Research reports (provide insights on the market or data for business growth strategies).

Things to Consider When Reporting Data

A data report in itself isn’t a magic wand. And if you want it to serve its purpose, the solution must be feasible and created with due thought. Here are several tips you should note when approaching the matter of how to report data properly.

Data reporting tips

1. Define the purpose of the report

Aiming at a detail-oriented report is wise, but squeezing too many things in one place is a common mistake. This is especially the case when a report or dashboard started out as something easy to comprehend but grew to become a complicated mess.

To avoid this, do your best to identify what this report is for. List your main questions and decide whether their corresponding metrics can coexist in one dashboard or need to be split.

2. Decide on the metrics and data sources

Where will the data be gathered from? How will it be merged and blended? How are you going to evaluate and analyze the incoming data? You get one step closer to a good report by pinning down the major indicators.

The same goes for resources, as the inputs need to be clear to obtain accurate results when reporting data. Though you may have many data sources collected from multiple platforms and channels, the information needs to be unified and organized in one central system.

3. Who will use the report?

There are many data report examples when reports are put together without keeping the user in mind. For instance, although a marketer and sales specialist may both care about conversion rates, the data that’s of interest for each of them may be different. Therefore, make your solution adjustable according to the user or make separate solutions for various roles.

Likewise, mind the accessibility of the information as collaboration is key. Ideally, a user should have access to data from various devices, allowing for round-the-clock availability even via a mobile device.

4. Mind usability

Your data reports must be simple to follow and navigate. So you need to consider your use of colors, structure, layouts, and element placement. By extracting the essentials, you make data relevance a priority. Adding filters and optimal formats to your data visualization reports can help users modify the parameters and find answers to their questions more effectively.

5. Check data accuracy

You should also prioritize the quality of the displayed information in your reports. You wouldn’t want to deal with inaccurate data or that shown with the wrong timing, right? So check twice that your data is correct and readily available, for example, delivering the right information in real-time or for a chosen period (week, month, quarter, etc.). Automation is your biggest helper in this respect.

Not sure where to start with data reports?

Data reporting can become solid analytics leverage. Feel free to discuss your needs with us!

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Upsilon’s Experience with Data Reporting

Upsilon has been delivering high-end data visualization services and reporting solutions for quite a while now. So, to provide you with specific data visualization report examples that we’ve worked on, we’d like to tell you about the fully customizable reports we’ve created for Collectrium.

The objective was to develop a reporting solution allowing collectors to easily craft detailed reports containing all the vital information about an art object or collection. The process of making as many reports as you want needed to be simple, fast, and straightforward. At the same time, the data shown in the reports had to provide a structured representation of the art collections in an easy-to-comprehend format.

Flexibility and convenience were among the priorities. So we built templates, fitted the reports with customizable fields and layouts, and organized the process in simple-to-follow steps. Thanks to the implementation of droplists, filters, and ready-made blocks, filling out the details of every object is effortless.

Collectrium data report
Collectrium Report

Furthermore, the data reporting solution is now an integral part of Collectrium’s customizable dashboard, which includes neat data visualization for key operations using diagrams, charts, and other means.

Collectrium Dashboard
Collectrium Dashboard

Over to You

With the market constantly changing, a business needs to be up-to-date and guided by the latest and most relevant data. Although the incoming information pool may be complex, flexible and modern data visualization reports come to the rescue.

When approached with due thought, they show the full panorama, allowing businesses to stay afloat and not miss a thing. Reinforced dashboards and advanced data reporting bring agility and scalability to organizations and improve their odds of staying competitive in the long run.

If you need intuitive, accessible, and actionable data reports, don’t hesitate to contact us, as Upsilon’s team is always glad to provide a consultation!

Project management

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