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A Complete Guide to Business Intelligence Data Analysis and Reporting

Sharissa Barnett Mar 18, 2024 12:11:28 PM
man talking on the phone and viewing business intelligence reporting

If you’re a business operator, advanced reporting is one aspect of business intelligence reporting you must be conversant with. You have worked hard to identify, collect and process data. Fine, but you must also be adept at analyzing and reporting collected data in ways that can be most impactful in terms of insight generation, and informed decision-making. This is where advanced reporting can help immensely. 

When properly utilized, advanced business intelligence data analysis and reporting tools can enable businesses to make the most of the huge volumes of data generated in today’s complex and constantly changing digital business environments. But first, some details about business intelligence reporting system.

What is Business Intelligence Reporting?

colleagues discussing business intelligence reporting in a conference room

Business intelligence reporting is the use of tools such as data analytics software programs to collect, prepare, and present data so it is readily accessible for consumption, accurate for analysis, and reliable to inform future business decisions.

Business intelligence reporting can be explained from a couple of perspectives: 

  • The first perspective defines business intelligence reporting strictly as the collection of information/data from various sources and then presenting them to users in ways that make them understandable and ready to be analyzed. 
  • According to the second perspective, business intelligence reporting includes analysis as part of the information and data presented to users. In other words, allowing users to both see, and understand already analyzed data/information and act more quickly on such information/data.

You may have deduced that business intelligence reporting system is a component of business intelligence, a broad term that encompasses the processes and methods involved in collecting, processing, storing, analyzing and presenting information/data from organizational operations or activities in order to optimize performance, among other objectives. Within the last few years, the scope of business intelligence has widened to include more processes and activities that help enhance performance. Some examples include:

  • Data mining
  • Reporting
  • Performance metrics and benchmarking
  • Descriptive analytics
  • Querying
  • Statistical analysis
  • Data visualization
  • Visual analysis
  • Data preparation

Types of Business Intelligence Reports 

Business intelligence reporting systems can be classified in various ways. One way is by identifying the most important features of a report, such as data tables, cross-tab reports, visualization features, etc. Another way of classification seeks to differentiate reports according to the role of the person(s) preparing the report. From this perspective, BI Reporting is divided into the following two categories: 

Managed Reporting 

Managed reporting occurs when a technical user knowledgeable about concepts such as SQL queries and CSV language (for instance, an IT expert, developer or data analyst) prepares the data/information for end-users. 

This type of business intelligence reporting is “managed” in the sense that end-users get reports that are created and shared by technically inclined users. These tech pros “manage” the process by ensuring that users are provided with everything they need and correcting any bugs or problems in the report.

Ad-Hoc Reporting 

In ad-hoc reporting, non-technical business intelligence users create reports from scratch or edit already existing reports without much need to depend on IT. Here, all that may be required from a technical expert is setting up the business intelligence reporting solution, connecting it to the data sources, determining the security parameters and which objects will be visible to end-users. After these, the actual reports are then created by non-technical end-users.

The term ad-hoc is of Latin origin and translates to “for this purpose or situation” in English. So ad-hoc reports are generated for a particular purpose or situation without a need to request queries from IT. Hence, the main goal of ad-hoc reporting and analysis is to empower non-technical end-users to leverage organizational data/information and create particular reports without any reason to burden IT with the task of creating such reports.

Benefits of Business Intelligence Reporting

The benefits of business intelligence reporting are many. Here are some of them: 

  • Enables non-technical users to create reports through the use of self-service business intelligence tools. 
  • With business intelligence reporting, employees can more easily leverage data/information to have a granular comprehension of crucial business metrics.
  • Business intelligence data reports enable organizations to have a bigger picture view. This can be achieved through the aggregation of data from several departments and then allowing stakeholders to interact with that data. Additionally, all procedures tend to consume less time since big data reporting tools are built to economize the time devoted to analyzing data for reporting. 
  • It empowers organizational leaders and teams to make better decisions and share data/information with others. 
  • Business intelligence reporting can be automated according to company schedule, and customized according to security permissions (note that not every business intelligence platform can perform these functions. This implies a thorough scrutiny of business intelligence tools based on your needs).

What Is Advanced Reporting?

Advanced reporting is a broad business intelligence data analysis and reporting term that encompasses a variety of features. For example, users of advanced reporting tools may be able to:

  • Create reports that aggregate data from multiple sources to deliver a more complete analysis or view of customer activity and business performance.
  • Customize reports in a way that provides detailed information/data comparing the performance of particular products, segments or groups.
  • Alter almost any part of a report. This feature will enable users to add or delete fields, include custom metrics or specialized calculations as well as select and group data in diverse ways.
  • Visualize data/information in personalized, real-time dashboards capable of providing every user with the information/data that’s most essential to them at, at-a-glance.
  • Generate drill-down reports that clearly unravel the factors driving trends and patterns.
  • Enjoy an automation feature that allows them to create and distribute recurring reports.

Why Is Advanced Business Reporting Important?

employees creating advanced data reporting together

On the whole, software with advanced business intelligence data analysis and reporting features should exhibit a greater ability to create reports that help improve your business. Such data reporting  tools make information easier to comprehend by selecting, summarizing and visualizing data in tables, charts and more. Advanced reporting significantly enhances these basic functions in a number of ways.

Insights derived from data are critical to staying competitive and improving organizational performance. Since every business organization is not the same, each business collects, processes, analyzes and reports data in ways that reflect how it operates and how it measures success. 

In addition, specific departments and individuals within the organization have varying information/data needs or requirements. For example, customer service managers may need to compare or rate individual customer representatives based on feedback from customers they served while accountants will want to ensure efficient number crunching to ensure reports that can be relied upon. 

Moreover, without advanced business intelligence data analysis and reporting systems, manual operations may be the alternative. However, manual work can be time and energy-consuming, tedious, less productive, error-prone and even more expensive. Organizations often have to export data from a multiplicity of applications, enter the data into spreadsheets, indulge in manual specialized calculations and still have to utilize other tools to present or report results into. It may take days or weeks for critical reports to finally be ready to be presented to a manager, business intelligence and reporting analyst or other stakeholders. With such long delays, there is an increased likelihood for information in these manually created reports to become out-of-date.

Advanced Reporting in QuickBooks

QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise 2018 and higher versions have a feature known as QuickBooks Advanced Reporting (QBAR). This feature aims to provide better insights into business or organizational operations and KPIs. QBAR lets users create interactive custom reports. You can leverage your QuickBooks data to create your own report based on your specific needs. This advanced business intelligence data analysis and reporting mechanism provides you with information about how your business is performing.

QuickBooks Reporting Shortcomings

QuickBooks is a popular accounting program that includes a variety of reporting features. However, QuickBooks business intelligence data analysis and reporting requires improvements in a number of areas. One such area is advanced or highly customized reporting. While the QuickBooks standard reports feature can cope well with basic financial reporting and analysis, it may fall short when it comes to meeting the needs of the majority of businesses using it. Organizations that constantly have a need for more detailed or specific reports may deem QuickBooks reporting options limited or not customizable enough to unravel the insights they need.

Maximize QuickBooks With Qbox

In summary, QuickBooks may be a leading accounting program for business intelligence data analysis and reporting but it still needs further enhancements. If you’re a disgruntled QuickBooks Desktop user looking to try another program that improves your collaboration needs, Qbox can ease your worries while boosting your overall Desktop and collaboration experience!

The all-in-one Qbox, among other outstanding features, allows users to share and collaborate on QuickBooks Desktop files remotely. Apart from QuickBooks, Qbox integrates seamlessly with over 300 other applications on the Windows operating system. What’s more, sign up for Qbox now and enjoy the first 30 days free if you’re a new user!

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