BI Trends

The Importance of Flexibility in Operational Reporting

By Logi Analytics
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Operational reporting is critical to modern day business decision-making. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution that meets every reporting need. To empower every employee to make data-driven decisions, you’ll need an embedded reporting solution that prioritizes flexibility.

Flexibility in designing reports is important because the layout is critical to a user’s understanding of the data. Operational reporting is able to collect and arrange massive amounts of data to be distributed to large numbers of users. The precise layout and structure of this data streamlines the ability of end users to digest and absorb the presented information.  To be easy to navigate, different types of data need to be presented in different formats. A report that’s difficult to read or lacking helpful visualizations that offer perspective won’t help users make important business decisions.

Instead, you’ll want to look for a reporting solution with the below capabilities that allow for operational reports to be customized to fit every end user’s specific needs:

1. Interactive Elements

The amount of data being collected and analyzed can be overwhelming, but a modern reporting solution provides users with new interactivity controls and customized data visualizations. These different interactivity controls grant end users with the ability to interact with data in an enhanced way to yield deeper data insights, and keeps users engaged.

Be careful not to overwhelm users with dozens of options, there are a few selection controls available to ensure the right option is chosen for each report:

  • Drill down: Users are moved from a general view of data into a more specific view with a single click of the mouse. Data granularity changes, but the look and feel of all levels of the dashboard remain the same.
  • Slice and dice: A systematic ability to split data sets into smaller segments, presenting even more data in whatever manner the user wants.
  • Pivot: A pivot table provides users with tables of summarized data, and are best suited when a user attempts to find unique values of a specific field.
  • Filter & sort: The capability of applying and synchronizing filters, sorts and parameters across multiple visualizations.
  1. Data Visualizations

    Finding effective strategies for end users to make the most out of the data is important. Selecting appropriate data visualization formats is critical, with different visualization types best suited for unique data types.

    Customized visualizations offer a stylistic look and consistent feel across an organization’s branding. The performance metrics provide a full story in either a static or animated form, depending on the scope of data that is being presented.

    Paging elements can be further customized based on an end user’s needs, and include the following:

  • Tabular formats: Collected data is displayed in a format featuring tables comprised of rows and columns, with each column providing values in its own row.
  • Line charts: Typically used to display information as a series, with changes tracked over short or long time durations.
  • Bar charts: Sets of total data observations compared with data plotted in columns.
  • Pie charts: Data visualization comparison between one-to-many data sets, able to illustrate data frequencies, percentages, or magnitudes.

Keep in mind that it’s possible to combine visualizations with interactive elements, so plan accordingly to see if the pair is best to offer users the most informative view of data.

  1. Pagination

    Working in a browser-based environment and trying to interact with large data tables tends to be troublesome for users. Large volumes of data, with hundreds or more rows of data, likely require created tables to be presented as pages.

    Each page has a small number of rows, and should be easy to navigate, as it’s displayed in a similar manner as browsing search results provided by a Web search engine. Flexible pagination makes it easier to understand data, regardless if it’s a PDF, Excel spreadsheet, or printed copies.

    4. Banded Layouts

Banded reports allow for precise duplicate forms that can be isolated, grouped, or hidden throughout the report – and can use graphics to help visualize the data. The layouts easily scale with the size of the data set while still using duplicate form fields that align well with the information that must be shared.

Banded reports are able to provide a generalized report layout in a fully formatted visualization, with individual bands capable of displaying aggregated data.

To further customize data, report developers can arrange objects with exact positioning of headers, footers, charts, tables, images, and sub-reports in any report layout imaginable by using banded capabilities.

Final Thoughts

From custom visualizations to flexibility in layout formatting, a modern reporting solution should give users the ability to fully customize their reports to present their data in the way that most makes sense. These features ensure users of your application are able to make the most out of their data. A reporting solution like Logi Report offers each of these modern capabilities that allow users to be creative and build nearly any type of report imaginable. Schedule time with one of our experts to see how you can drive fact-based decision-making within your application with Logi.

Originally published September 21, 2021

About the Author

Logi Analytics is the leader in embedded analytics. We help team put business intelligence at the core of their organizations and products.