You may have dabbled with something like MS reporting/Report Builder in the past. In fact, many of the tools you use in your day-to-day work life probably have some sort of reporting function built-in. As your projects grow, you’ll need something more unified and more robust to handle the amount of input and the level of detail required.
This article will help you quickly compare and evaluate the best reporting portals and other BI reporting tools. I will explain how automating reports can decrease your team’s administrative load and free up time to explore and create. I’ve picked some stand-out business intelligence reporting applications and outlined them in the body of this article. Keep reading for a simple comparison of my favorite data reporting tools.
I will answer some FAQs about business intelligence products and how you can best use them to your advantage. Additionally, I’ll tell you what you should look for in ad hoc reporting tools and outline the evaluation criteria I use when testing any reporting app.
Quickly Compare & Evaluate The 5 Best Reporting System Apps
Business reporting software takes your scattered, arbitrary data and turns it into something that you can read and interpret to make better decisions. Before you can do that, you need to do some research and find the reporting software that is going to work best for you.
Data Reporting FAQ
There’s a lot to know about report writing software. Before you can even begin to narrow down your choices you have to understand the basics. Consider this FAQ as a primer before we jump into the report writer software reviews.
What is a reporting tool?
A reporting tool, or software reporting tool, is a system that takes in data from various sources and extrapolates it in tables, charts, visual presentations, and other styles so that the information is easier to parse. For example, Tableau reporting tools use data blending and drill-down to help users look for variations and/or patterns.
What are the types of reporting tools?
There are many types of reporting tools, such as dashboard software, data visualization software, scorecarding tools, and ad-hoc report writers. Dashboard software lets you put the reports that matter most to you front-and-center; data visualization software is all about turning data into something visually-oriented that users can easily read; scorecarding tools is all about performance data so you know who your high achievers are, and ad-hoc report writers create various styles of reports in-the-moment for companies who have ever-changing needs.
What are BI tools?
BI tools pull data from various sources and visualize it in a way that users find useful. BI tools may gather, organize, and analyze data into meaningful reports that can be printed or redistributed in some way.
What are the benefits of reporting tools?
Reporting tools are beneficial because they gather data across sources (inventory, sales, conversion, web traffic, social media impressions, time spent, and so on) and then organize it in a visual way for users to read and interpret. Reports can typically be saved into different formats, printed and distributed, visualized and presented, so it is a great way to convey large amounts of useful information quickly. Also, reporting allows you to ask big-picture questions and then collect the data you need to make the best decisions.
Not looking for report software at the moment? Check out our other lists of other project management tools you might find useful:
- Look at project portfolio management tools, which can help you conduct and communicate your reports on a higher level and across projects.
- Communication, communication, communication. If you haven’t nailed this, you can’t really get started on anything else. Try these 10 Best Communication Tools & Software.
- Find reporting tools within other software, such as my list of the best marketing project management software.
Reporting Database Comparison Criteria
What are we looking for when we add items to our BI tools list? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- User Interface (UI): Is it clean and attractive? Are the reports aesthetically pleasing and easy to interpret.
- Usability: How easy is it to learn?
- Features & Functionality
a. Robust reporting – Does the software features automatic reporting tools that are flexible, easy to learn, scalable, and visually appealing? Can the data be visualized in a variety of different ways? Can you export, print, share, and project reports with relative ease?
b. Dashboard customization – Can you build a digital marketing dashboard, a finances, and budgets dashboard, or anything else you can think of with relative ease? Are dashboards drag-and-drop or otherwise intuitively built?
c. Source options – Can the tool pull data easily from a variety of sources? Or is it limited to one or two options? Can it pull data from different types of sources, like web pages to spreadsheets to apps to accounting software?
d. Deep data search functions – Is data easy to search using both technical and non-technical language and specifications? Are there different ways to “ask questions” of your data, depending on user ability or preference?
4. Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other tools? Any pre-built integrations?
5. Value for $: How appropriate is the price for the features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent and flexible?
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Overviews Of The Top 5 Reporting Tool List
Here’s a brief description of each of the reporting apps that are featured on this top 5 list.
1. SegMetrics – Great for tracking the value of a lead throughout your marketing funnel
SegMetrics is a lead attribution system that collects data from your existing marketing tools, which you can then use to get a holistic overview of your customer journey. You’ll get insights on where your leads come from, how they act, and how much your marketing is worth.
SegMetrics makes it easy to track the value of a lead throughout the customer journey and see how each touchpoint in your marketing increases or decreases that value, and then adjust your efforts to improve the ROI of your marketing funnels. You can combine touchpoints and lead sources to understand which traffic sources are the most valuable, and track revenue through the lifetime of the customer.
Another plus is that you can do this without coding, spreadsheet exporting, pivot tables, or complicated set-up, making it easier to get up and running and use. They also provide top-tier support and complimentary kick-off calls.
SegMetrics integrates easily with a variety of marketing tools you already use including Infusionsoft, Ontraport, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, WebinarJam, WooCommerce, Facebook, Google Ads, and more.
SegMetrics costs $27/user/month for a solo plan.
2. Datapine – Innovative dashboard & reporting features.
Datapine is a great reporting software as it offers business users an uncomplicated and secure way to monitor as well as communicate key performance indicators (KPIs) effectively and quickly within one central analytics platform. This empowers everyone within the company to access at any time up-to-date, accurate information to make the right, data-driven decisions.
Datapine belongs to a new generation of reporting tools and offers, thanks to its ease-of-use, access to advanced analytics features even for non-technical users. Different data sources (flat files, databases, CRM and ERP-systems, social platforms, etc.) that are needed for the reports, can be integrated with a few clicks. Customized, visual KPIs can be built via drag and drop and stored on dynamic, interactive dashboards. These professional KPI dashboards are also the core of datapine’s BI reporting solution. They offer a wealth of modern dashboard functionalities such as sophisticated global filter, predictive analytics as well as AI-based and interactive dashboard features. Moreover, you can choose from over 80 professional dashboard templates for different business functions and industries. Finally, the dashboards can be shared in multiple ways such as automatic email reports, sharing live dashboards via URL or embedding them in external applications.
Datapine offers a 14-day free trial without any limitations with custom pricing starting at $250 per account.
Other Dashboard Reporting Tools Options
Here’s a few more auto reporting tools that didn’t make the top list. If you need additional suggestions for the handy ad hoc report tool, check these out.
What Do You Think About Our Business Intelligence Tools Comparison?
Have you tried out any business intelligence reporting tools listed above? What automated reporting system would you recommend, and why?