Analytics – What Goes Into Preparing a Report & 5 Questions to Ask Up front

When many people think about preparing an analytics report, they may feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data, data sources and the amount of time they assume is involved. Creating reports can seem like an all-consuming task, but with a little up front planning and a small amount of training, you can be on track to turning your data into information and displaying it so your team can make timely decisions.

Thanks to modern BI tools, with just a few days of training, you can go from data overwhelm to enthusiastically leveraging your data to generate better business outcomes.

First let’s answer a few critical questions:

  1. What’s the question you’re trying to answer?
  2. Who is the audience for the report?
  3. Where is the data and information stored?
  4. Is the data or info you need already calculated, or do you need to modify the data?
  5. What tools and knowledge do I need to get started building the report?

Truthfully, anyone can answer the first four on their own. But answering the final one requires the right knowledge & skills on how to properly leverage BI tools to build a report.  You can take the DIY (“Do it Yourself”) approach — perform a quick Google or Bing search, read a few articles, and jump in.  Though for BI reporting, that strategy can backfire.

As we’ve written previously, the self-taught approach I described above isn’t dissimilar to being dropped in front of a table full of ingredients and being asked to create a recipe for a gourmet meal.

Learning how to create and prepare BI reports are no different.  With the right training, you’ll learn exactly what you need to do and exactly how to do it. You’ll get your questions answered and you’ll tap into new ideas that you might not have discovered otherwise. Oh, and you’ll save a lot of time and money because you’ll get up to speed faster — meaning less wasted time trying to figure things out on the fly.

At the end of the day, this knowledge allows you to really dive deep into your data to find the information that’s most useful for your organization. And when that happens, preparing reports becomes fun — akin to the feeling you get when you complete any important project at home or work with your new found knowledge and skills.

To learn more about the self-service business intelligence tools available at your fingertips, join us on December 14th for a free webinar. We’ll discuss this issue in-depth and provide a roadmap for helping your organization make better use of your incredibly valuable data. You can register for the webinar by clicking here.

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