Data, information, and insights are all around us. Before we even realize our business potentials and want to act in our competitive market, there is always a new business plan to make, a new strategy to develop, a new report to generate – and they all take time. Since massive amounts of data are generated by every second, businesses are always in the lookout for the best possible data analysis tool that will make their processes easier, faster, and more effective.
Productivity has become the epitome of successful business processes. While every manager seeks how to increase productivity and decrease business costs, some invaluable processes can push towards sustainable business development – automated reporting and systems are the answer you’ve been looking for.
That said, in this post, we will explain what is an automated report, the ins and outs of the automated reporting process, and finish with examples from the real business world. After reading this article, you will be equipped to create your own automation practice and upscale your reports with the help of a modern report tool.
Let’s get started.
What Is An Automated Report?
An automated report is a management tool used by professionals to create and share business reports at a specific time interval without the need to update the information each time. These updates are usually made in real-time with the help of automated reporting tools.
Automated reports completely eliminate traditional means of communicating data since they rely on business reporting software that uses cutting edge business intelligence, technology and smart features such as interactivity, a drag-and-drop interface, and predictive analytics, among others. These reports have the power to store all your data and generate beautiful dashboards that can tell your data narrative in a simple, visual way. The technology behind the reports will enable triggers so that you don’t have to manually check if an unexpected business event occurs or export multiple spreadsheets to generate one single file.
But how can you automate reports and what kind of features you should look for when automating your reporting schedule? This is our next focus so stay tuned.
How Can You Automate Reports – Tips & Tricks
Studies have shown that 45% of the “activities individuals are paid to perform can be automated.” This number equals to $2 trillion in the United States alone. The potential of automation certainly can have an impact on the productivity levels since the workforce can focus on more human-centric tasks and perform deeper discussions about what the data is trying to convey and leave tedious tasks of manual calculations to software and tools. But how does this look in practice?
To make sure you make the most out of report automation, before you start, answer these critical questions:
1. What kind of KPIs do I need to integrate?
KPIs are the center of each report and you need to communicate them clearly and on-point. Choosing the most important ones to generate a comprehensive narrative should be your first step in automating reports. By creating visuals with the help of a dashboard designer, you can have all your KPIs on a single screen, ready to explore by utilizing powerful interactive features.
2. At what frequency do I need to send my reports?
This question will help you determine whether your report will focus on an operational level or strategic. Operational reporting has its foundations in shorter time frames, often daily or weekly, and concentrates on lower-level KPIs. Strategic, on the other hand, looks at metrics that need to be monitored during a longer period of time to be able to derive the best possible conclusion.
You can explore our guide on financial reports, where we analyzed various types of reports and provided examples.
3. What type of report would suit my recipients the best?
As mentioned, report automation software has numerous features that should make your working life easier. When it comes to developing a proper automated reporting system, you should look for these invaluable options:
- Standard and customized reports: No matter the number of recipients, standard and customized reports are simply sent on designated email addresses on a defined schedule. Their content and filters can be customized so you have complete control over the data you want to share.
- Live dashboards and/or secure viewer area: If you want to share or send your whole dashboard, a simple URL is all you need. Additionally, you can assign a viewer area where the user can access the dashboard and use filters that are assigned by you, but they can’t edit or rearrange the dashboard themselves.
- Embedding the dashboard: By taking a step further, the dashboard can be embedded into your own application or website, for example, so you can take over the complete product and present it to your clients as your own.
- Printing bounds: Printing, although a more traditional way of presenting data, can sometimes prove to be useful, especially for an in-person meeting. You can simply set a reminder for printing your dashboards, and all the updated data will be there, in a functional PDF or PNG format.
4. Finally, what kind of automated reporting software do I need to choose?
Automated report scheduling has numerous benefits across industries. In fact, 30% of the working day, professionals spend searching for information. Imagine how much time is reduced by simply introducing automated report generation across departments. To be able to make the most out of it, you should choose report automation tools that have a number of reporting options, interactive visuals, and scalable features so that you can adjust your processes according to your business needs. That, of course, is not all, but it can give you a sense of where to start.
To fully understand how a report automation software benefits operational and strategic initiatives of companies, no matter how big they are, we have prepared industry examples that we will explore in more detail and ensure you get a visual understanding of automation in practice.
Automated Reporting System In Business Scenarios
To put our notions into perspective, we have gathered 2 automated report examples that can prove to be beneficial across the board. We will start with an industry that relies on automation quite heavily – manufacturing.
1. Automated reporting in the manufacturing industry
The manufacturing industry needs continuous automation throughout processes, and each part of the company needs to work flawlessly in order to avoid potential business issues and cost increment. That’s why an agile BI dashboard such as the one below can help in the process.
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This dashboard aims to report on the production status of a manufacturing company. Automation, in this case, is crucial. When there are numerous touchpoints to control, analyze and react to, if necessary, the software will prove to be priceless. By letting the dashboard to automatically monitor and report if there are any issues, companies can improve their efficiency – exponentially. Manufacturing KPIs such as the production volume, the number of active machines and the top 5 machines by production volume will certainly give you a clear overview of the status of your equipment.
You don’t need to manually update any data, automated reports will provide the full scope of your production processes and deliver information in a timely manner.
2. Automated reports in marketing
Marketing is one of the functions that need regular and updated reports, no matter if it’s daily, weekly or monthly data in question. To be able to launch and optimize the best possible campaign, a visual marketing report can let you focus on the data at hand, excluding the time needed to export spreadsheets and write a completely new document. In marketing, this notion is precious.
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We can see how easy is to explore the data depicted in this report above that focuses on the performance of paid promotional efforts. By sending this report weekly or monthly, without the need to manually update each piece of content, your marketing department will save countless hours in report creation. Additionally, if you manage multiple client accounts in an agency, then this report can be also embedded or white-labeled so you can use it as your own, brand and adjust it so that it fits your clients’ needs.
Marketing needs automation, and that’s a fact. There is plenty of positive sentiment about how business automation reports will improve the future of work and marketing is on the frontline of these changes.
We have explained the automated reports definition, provided a roadmap and examples to create such reports in order to make the most out of your time and resources, which is crucial in achieving sustainable development and increase profits. To get a competitive edge in your industry, try datapine for a 14-day trial, and start automating your operational and strategic efforts!