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 10 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.
The Best Reporting Tools List
Here’s a shortlist of the best reporting tools:
- Google Data Studio
- Power BI for Office 365
- Zoho Analytics
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 10 Reporting Tool List
Here’s a brief description of each of the reporting apps that are featured on this top 10 list.
Google Data Studio – free reporting tools and templates designed to make collecting and displaying data easy and visually appealing.
Power BI for Office 365 – sporting hundreds of data visualizations, built-in AI capabilities, Excel integration, and custom data connectors.
3. Tableau – Tableau reporting tools are interactive with visual insights designed to combine, shape, clean and operationalize data flows.
4. Thoughtspot – search tools and AI make building dashboards easy for any user, no matter their tech experience level.
5. Whatagraph – visual multi-source report supplying key analytics integrations and ready-made templates to simplify tasks.
6. Octoboard – automatically collects data from all your cloud applications to build real-time dashboards highlighting useful stats.
7. Datapine – Merges different data sets on-the-fly without the need to restructure your database or set up a data warehouse.
8. Zoho Analytics – transforms raw data into actionable reports and dashboards to track your key business metrics and trends.
9. Dundas – dashboard, reporting, and analytics platform with drag and drop features to easily transform data into usable visuals.
10. Knowi – self-service analytics experience for non-technical users, including their uber-accessible Natural Language BI queries.
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.
- Qlik – combines all your data and makes it analysis-ready for everyone to freely explore, amplified by machine intelligence for better results.
- Inetsoft – data intelligence that unites business intelligence (BI) and machine learning (ML) to extract value from your data.
- Domo – works with your data lakes, data warehouses, ETL tools, and more, to deliver data insights with built-in collaboration and productivity tools.
- Board – explore your data, run effective analysis, build interactive dashboards, and create impactful reports.
- Sisense – API-first cloud technology with interactive dashboards, self-service analytics, and white-labeled BI apps for your use.
- Periscope – explore and analyze data using SQL, Python, and R with rapidly prototype machine learning models, including sentiment and text analysis using NLP.
- Looker – connect with Redshift, Snowflake, BigQuery, as well as 50+ supported SQL dialects to build embedded visualizations and data science workflows.
- Klipfolio – connect hundreds of data sources, including spreadsheets, files, databases, and web services applications to build data visualizations.
- Smartsheet – connect and integrate with tools and apps you are already using in order to glean real-time insights into the work that’s being done by teams across the organization.
- Workamajig – gain insights from your management dashboard to pinpoint efficiencies or bottlenecks and create relevant reports based on user needs.
- Clarizen – capture and track all your project and team data in real-time, including effort, status, issues, and change requests.
- TapClicks – marketing report tool (TapReports) and marketing performance analytics (TapAnalytics) with a clean, streamlined UI.
- Supermetrics – centralize all your marketing data in their marketing data warehouse, build dashboards and reports with ad-hoc analysis.
- AgencyAnalytics – integrate with more than 30 platforms to build a complete marketing dashboard and optimize your work with SEO reporting software.
- Funnel – automatically collect all the data you need from any data source and feed it directly to your data warehouse, dashboard solution, or any other tool you’re using.
- ClicData – a business intelligence platform offering data processing and management as well as data dashboards and automated reporting tools.
- Mixpanel – behavioral analytics tool to analyze website site user engagement, monitor KPIs, and easily generate reports.
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?
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