Covering the essentials of business intelligence, explore the features & functions for an overview.
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Leading provider of enterprise Reporting and Analytics software.
The terms reporting and analytics are often used interchangeably. This is not surprising since both take in data as “input” — which is then processed and presented in the form of charts, graphs, or dashboards.
Reports and analytics help businesses improve operational efficiency and productivity, but in different ways. While reports explain what is happening, analytics helps identify why it is happening. Reporting summarizes and organizes data in easily digestible ways while analytics enables questioning and exploring that data further. It provides invaluable insights into trends and helps create strategies to help improve operations, customer satisfaction, growth, and other business metrics.
Reporting and analysis are both important for an organization to make informed decisions by presenting data in a format that is easy to understand. In reporting, data is brought together from different sources and presented in an easy-to-consume format. Typically, modern reporting apps today offer next-generation dashboards with high-level data visualization capabilities. There are several types of reports being generated by companies including financial reports, accounting reports, operational reports, market reports, and more. This helps understand how each function is performing at a glance. But for further insights, it requires analytics.
Analytics enables business users to cull out insights from data, spot trends, and help make better decisions. Next-generation analytics takes advantage of emerging technologies like AI, NLP, and machine learning to offer predictive insights based on historical and real-time data.
To run analytics, reporting is not necessary.
For instance, let us take a look at a manufacturing company that uses Oracle ERP to manage various functions including accounting, financial management, project management, procurement, and supply chain. For business users, it is critical to have a finger on the pulse of all key data. Additionally, specific teams need to periodically generate reports and present data to senior management and other stakeholders. In addition to reporting, it is also essential to analyze data from various sources and gather insights. The problem today is people are using reporting and analytics interchangeably. When the time comes to replace an end-of-life operational reporting tool, they are using solutions that are designed for analytics. This would be a waste of time and resources.
It is critical that operational reporting is done using a tool built for that purpose. Ideally, it’ll be a self-service tool so business users don’t have to rely on IT to generate reports. It must have the ability to drill down into several layers of data when needed. Additionally, if you’re using Oracle ERP you need an operational reporting tool like Orbit that seamlessly integrates data from various business systems – both on-premise and cloud. In this blog, we look at the nuances of both operational reporting and analytics and why it is critical to have the right tools for the right tasks.
Steps Involved in Building a Report and Preparing Data for Analytics
To build a report, the steps involved broadly include:
For data analytics, the steps involved include:
Five Key Differences Between Reporting and Analysis
One of the key differences between reporting and analytics is that, while a report involves organizing data into summaries, analysis involves inspecting, cleaning, transforming, and modeling these reports to gain insights for a specific purpose.
Knowing the difference between the two is essential to fully benefit from the potential of both without missing out on key features of either one. Some of the key differences include:
1. Purpose: Reporting involves extracting data from different sources within an organization and monitoring it to gain an understanding of the performance of the various functions. By linking data from across functions, it helps create a cross-channel view that facilitates comparison to understand data easily. An analysis is being able to interpret data at a deeper level, interpreting it and providing recommendations on actions.
2. The Specifics: Reporting involves activities such as building, consolidating, organizing, configuring, formatting, and summarizing. It requires clean, raw data and reports that may be generated periodically, such as daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly. Analytics includes asking questions, examining, comparing, interpreting, and confirming. Enriching data with big data can help predict future trends as well.
3. The Final Output: In the case of reporting, outputs such as canned reports, dashboards, and alerts push information to users. Through analysis, analysts try to extract answers using business queries and present them in the form of ad hoc responses, insights, recommended actions, or a forecast. Understanding this key difference can help businesses leverage analytics better.
4. People: Reporting requires repetitive tasks that can be automated. It is often used by functional business heads who monitor specific business metrics. Analytics requires customization and therefore depends on data analysts and scientists. Also, it is used by business leaders to make data-driven decisions.
5. Value Proposition: This is like comparing apples to oranges. Both reporting and analytics serve a different purpose. By understanding the purpose and using them correctly, businesses can derive immense value from both.
Orbit for both Reporting and Analytics
Orbit Reporting and Analytics is a single tool that can be used for both generating different reports and running analytics to meet business objectives. It can work in multi-cloud environments, extracting data from the cloud and on-prem systems and presenting them in many ways as required by the user. It enables self-service, allowing business users to generate their own reports without depending on the IT team, in real-time. It complies with security and privacy requirements by allowing access only to authorized users. It also allows users to generate reports in real-time in Excel.
It also facilitates analytics, enabling businesses to draw insights and convert them into actions to predict future trends, identify areas of improvement across functions, and meet the organizational goal of growth.
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