Traditional reporting tools used for business intelligence infrastructure, such as spreadsheets and static PDFs, were once helpful. However, these dated resources no longer yield quite as accurate and reliable reports as what was previously perceived.
Modern solutions, such as the cloud, assist in decision-making, streamlining business operations, and providing insightful data, allowing businesses to stay competitive when it comes to forecasting consumer trends.
What is Cloud Reporting?
The cloud refers to the software and databases that run on servers over the internet, as opposed to locally on a computer. These servers can hold enormous amounts of data that can be accessed at any time through a web browser. The cloud allows users to access the information they need without utilizing too much of their computer's or phone's internal storage system.
Cloud Reporting is Software as Service (SAS) based-reporting solution, which allows users to access cloud-based applications online through the purchase of a software system. Users pay for the software through a subscription, or on a pay-as-you-go basis. All of the app data and infrastructure are located and managed on the cloud service provider itself so the purchaser doesn't have to worry about data security, or managing the cloud infrastructure.
Problems with Traditional Reporting Systems
Those who use traditional business intelligence infrastructure often have different databases and software systems. If a company is utilizing two systems at once, it can run into many different problems, such as duplicated data or overlapping information.
For example, a company may utilize both a Content Management System (CMS[MJ1] ) and a Customer Relationship Management System (CRM). A Content Management System is a software platform that tracks relationships among different work topics, such as the names of customers and the services they utilize. A Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) is a technology that manages interactions with potential customers. These systems contain much of the same data, so there's no reason to utilize both of them. Furthermore, if one software platform isn't updated regularly, an employee could become confused when making a search query. Some other concerns with traditional reporting systems include-
Traditional reporting systems require continuous maintenance because they don't update automatically. Because cloud solutions are automated, staff efficiency is improved, as the task of manually updating the hardware is removed.
Maintaining in-house systems can be more expensive than cloud solutions because they need to be updated constantly, which can add up over time. Cloud reporting solutions price their services based on usage, while internal tools tend to be fixed in price no matter how much or little they are utilized.
Benefits of Cloud-Reporting
While traditional systems are housed internally, cloud-based reporting solutions are safely held off-site. Users can access the cloud through a variety of internet-enabled devices, such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
This gives flexibility to employees who work remotely, as well as provide relief to the IT department who will not have to maintain multiple systems in different locations. Several other advantages include-
Sifting through data to find pieces of valuable information can be difficult. Luckily cloud-based storage solutions provide integrated analytics that allows users to easily generate insights and find solutions to problems. Information stored in the cloud allows users to track and manage data, as well as build customized reports that are easily shareable to other employees within the organization.
Managers and owners can then make business decisions based on the insights generated in these custom reports. Traditional tools don't typically offer the same quality of reporting features as the cloud.
Cloud reporting tools uniformly format data and store it in one, secure place. Because everyone is accessing the same data in the same place, there's no need to worry about one employee having different information than another. Maintaining a level of consistency and reliability optimizes business processes and makes it easier to solve problems.
Cloud software also keeps records of any revisions or updates that are made, so everyone in the company knows when and why changes were made.
Cloud-reporting fosters a community where information is easily shared and distributed. Some cloud services provide a social space where employees across the business can connect and collaborate. Teamwork is a contributing factor towards company efficiency and productivity, and cloud reporting makes that more possible.
3 Signs a Company Needs Cloud Reporting Software
There are a few signs that indicate a business should make the switch to the cloud. Some of these include-
1. The Company is Over-Reliant on Spreadsheets
Though spreadsheets can be useful at utilizing formulas to provide information about costs and profit margins, they aren't always the best reporting tools. If users make any mistakes when they input data, the final calculations are unreliable. Employees also spend too much time updating formulas, tweaking numbers, and checking the data on spreadsheets. Cloud reporting provides a uniformly formatted, error-free version of high-quality data.
2. The Company's Business Intelligence Infrastructure is Outdated
If a company is using older, slower servers that make it difficult to access different databases, it can decrease a company's ability to remain efficient. IT departments start receiving reports request backlogs and other employees waste time waiting for the server to be fixed.
3. Users Can't Run Reports
If employees are always asking management to run reports for them, then it's probably time to change over to a cloud-based solution. Self-serve reporting allows users to manage and create their own reports through a few simple point and click tools. Dashboards provide a way for users to instantly dig deeper into data to figure out more about key performance metrics. Users can act as their own analysts, do their own reporting, and find solutions to problems themselves.