Every business looks for the best and most cost effective ways to free up time and allocate their resources wisely. When it comes to marketing reports and the collection and analysis of data, the use of report automation and dashboards are unparalleled in maximising efficiency.
2. Reasons to Use Report Automation
3. How To Start the Automation Process
6. But Wait, There’s More: Using Dashboards
Report automation automatically refreshes reports in defined intervals and delivers them to specific places (e.g. email addresses or for view on an online tool). It removes the need for someone to process the reports because it becomes systemised and automatic by way of a software system.
Report automation typically works through APIs to fetch data from various platforms and integrates it into the software’s system. Most automated tools also include the option to add notes, comments, customisable email messages and more so that the automated report can be given context and delivered to the right people, at the right time.
Report automation has multiple benefits, including: saving time, viewing robust data from various sources in a single place, enhancing the accuracy of information and providing you with more time to analyse the data rather than collecting data.
This last benefit is key as many businesses waste valuable time collecting and reporting data, rather than analysing it, to use for actionable insight.
Do you like to save time and money? In business, every minute spent has its own associated opportunity cost, so you don’t want to waste valuable time and resources on processes that can be automated, especially if they are complex.
By leveraging report automation tools, your business and teams will benefit from the following:
There are many report automation tools in the marketplace that are designed to give you back your time. The difficulty isn’t in using a software, it’s in choosing what’s right for you.
Here’s how you can do it effectively:
Once you have your answers from step 1, you can decide how you want to make this report automation software come together. You have several options in making it a reality:
This option is to build the system yourself.
This option consolidates and automates reporting via data processing, data management and analytics to provide your business with actionable insights and organised reporting.
This option gives you range to customise, and BI tools exist in the market, so they don’t have to be custom-built.
This option is less complicated than BI tools, but also offers less customisation.
This option is designed for marketing analytics specifically.
It’s clear to see why report automation would help your business perform better. By using an automation tool, you can free up your employees’ time to spend on what really matters - analysis and decision-making.
With data insights displayed in an easy to interpret visual manner and up-to-date dashboards, your team can be prepared at any time of day to work effectively. The benefits of report automation means not only does it increase efficiency, but it also creates positive psychological effects on behalf of your employees who no longer have to be bogged down manually preparing reports and copy pasting data.This means that your team will be more fulfilled and employee retention can increase. It also frees up bottlenecks allowing staff to deliver more higher value deliverables within the organisation.
There are a multitude of other report automation benefits that vary by business. Overall, the option to save time and money, generate more accurate information, and improve processes and compliance should be enough of a reason to get started. Furthermore, the multi-faceted use of automated reports and the transparency both internally and externally will aid in organisations being able to better serve both their employees and external stakeholders, from customers to investors to regulators.
Once you define your needs and your budget, you can make the choice as to which is the right report automation software for your business and follow best practices to optimise its performance.
Along with report automation comes automated dashboards, or a centralised reporting platform. The dashboard displays KPIs and metrics in one location, which is typically accessed via a web browser.
Dashboards can greatly assist your team by providing:
1. Identify the need
Define the information and KPIs that you need to measure and ensure the dashboard can satisfy these requirements.
2. Verify data integrity
Ensure that data collection is accurate, simplify data to avoid long formulas, and automate data collection so that more time can be spent analysing data while also decreasing the chance for human error upon data entry.
3. Establish where this information is required within your workflow/organisation
Having data easily accessible is one thing, but you’ll need to create a process and actionable steps for using the data to make it worthwhile.
Ask questions like, “how will this information be communicated throughout the organisation?” and “who should be granted access to the dashboard?”.
Then, create roles in relation to your business goals to make the dashboards more useful. Be sure to communicate the use and purpose of these dashboards to the responsible parties.
In an effort to save time and money (and thereby allocate resources wisely) data tools like report automation and dashboards can help your business function more efficiently. Once you can define your needs, you can find the right product that will help you and your employees be able to access, understand and share data and KPIs more effectively.
In turn, you will be better equipped to save money, optimise time, satisfy your customers’ needs, and analyse if current business practices and strategies are working.
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