Data processing challenges call for reporting tools

Business managers base all of their decisions upon the information they have at their disposal, driving more educated choices and opportunities for success. However, the amount of data collected can become overwhelming and unwieldy for many organizations if they do not have the right tools to manage it. With the big data trend running full force in many companies, the need to handle a growing amount of metrics is steadily rising. Analytics and reporting tools can meet these demands by automatically sorting through statistics to identify emerging trends and group the results in a form that is easy to understand. Using these resources, administrators will be able to quickly make important decisions and promote company success.

Growing complications in big data
Big data has maintained its buzzword status as it continues to be implemented across businesses in a variety of sectors. As the name implies, organizations have been gathering, archiving and sorting through a massive amount of information, which is quickly becoming more than most companies can handle. Bloomberg noted that while agencies once held the "collect it all" mentality, the data practices are outpacing staff capabilities. The amount being gathered is more than what is considered to be routinely useful and it's hampering employees ability to process and archive all of it.

Many organizations gather an excessive amount of information believing that all of it will be necessary in generating actionable insights and driving positive changes. However, amount of data required is often less that what users assume. In fact, the phrase "small data" could soon be the newest trend as businesses attempt to get their data management under control.

"By that, they mean information that's not only more manageable, but accessible, immediate and can be acted upon today, not months down the road after a lengthy analysis," Bloomberg stated. "It's what Internet companies are accustomed to doing -- making many small, quick decisions based on real-time data."

Presenting information effectively for better results
While employees may want to show all of the information at their disposal, simpler is often better for the sake of deriving actionable insights and strategizing for company continuity efforts. By displaying statistics in a visual that is easy to interpret with clear labels, viewers will be more likely to support the presenter, fueling opportunities for innovation and growth.

With any report, it's essential to have the knowledge available to decipher it. If the visual is a bunch of jumbled numbers with little correlation, the image loses its meaning and can be easily misinterpreted. However, a report designer can effectively present information in a way that any viewer can understand. CITEworld contributor Chris Nerney noted that in order to do this, the user must leverage their reporting tool to accurately reflect data with graphics, communicate information quickly and show statistics that will matter to the audience. This will ensure that the users present information that is important to business success and can readily be supported by onlooking stakeholders. If the wrong visual is chosen for the metrics or there is too much extraneous text, it could throw off viewer understanding and send them down the wrong path for growth.

"It's important to put data visualizations in their proper place," business analytics consultant Tom Davenport told CITEworld. "They are well-suited to situations in which your primary goal is reporting - or 'descriptive analytics' - on one or two variables at a time. Visualizations are less useful for predictive or prescriptive analytics, which typically involve multiple variables and complex statistical relationships that are difficult to depict visually."


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