Automating Reports: What Every Business Needs To Know

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By Jacob Maslow

A survey by CNBC and SurveyMonkey highlighted, “52% of small business owners claim it’s harder to find qualified individuals to hire now compared to a year ago”. Finding ways to automate tasks and reports are a great way to help alleviate the strain on human resources.

With business processes becoming more complex and the demands on employee time increasing, organizations need to look for ways to reduce overheads to remain competitive.

Thanks to the introduction and increased popularity of AI and Machine Learning, it is now possible to automate many mundane tasks and reports that take up staff time.

From automating tasks to generating detailed reports, automation applications are vast and offer businesses a more streamlined way to manage their data.

A big task for a lot of businesses is creating and producing reports. Whether these are regular reports or particular one-off documents, automating the process can save time and resources.

What is Report Automation?

Report automation is precisely that – the automation of generating reports. Rather than relying on manual processes, report automation uses technology to automate the creation and production of reports.

From reports that are required for internal or external use, automating the process can help reduce the time and costs associated with generating reports.

For example, let’s think about an annual report. Instead of manually gathering data from various sources (such as databases and spreadsheets) to compile a report, automation technology can collect this information automatically – reducing manual effort and saving time.

Who Can Use Automated Reporting?

Every business can leverage the benefits of automating reports.

Small businesses might find this helpful if they don’t have the expertise or the staff to create reports manually and might benefit from automating the process.

Larger companies are likely to benefit the most, though, as they are likely to produce more reports, which can be costly and time-consuming to create manually.

No matter the company’s size, report automation can help streamline the process and save valuable resources if a business produces detailed or frequent reports.

Why Every Business Should Be Automating Reports

Automated reporting can be a handy tool for businesses of all sizes and within any industry. Here are just some of the benefits that a company can gain from automating reports:

1. Improved Accuracy

Using an automated reported system means that the risk of any human-made errors is cut down significantly.

Accurate reports are crucial for any business as they help inform critical decisions. Automated reporting helps to ensure that these reports are accurate and consistent – no matter the frequency of their production.

That being said, these marketing reports should still be checked over by a staff member to ensure that all information is correct. This way, you can be confident that your business data is as accurate as possible.

2. Increased Efficiency

The most significant benefit of report automation is the significantly reduced time it takes to produce these reports.

All the data is collected automatically, so businesses can now produce detailed reports in just a few clicks instead of spending hours gathering and collating data manually.

This frees up your staff members (or yourself) and allows other tasks to be completed, resulting in a more efficient workflow.

3. Cost Savings

Along with increased efficiency comes cost savings.

Automated reporting requires less staff to generate reports manually so businesses can save on labor costs in the long run.

Of course, you will have to invest in a reporting system or tool, but in the long run, this can help to save your business money and resources.

4. Better Insights

Automated reporting gives businesses access to data they wouldn’t have been able to get if they were manually creating reports.

Access to more detailed information can provide valuable insights into customer behavior, trends, and performance, which can help inform critical decisions for the business.

How Can You Set Up Automated Reports?

Leveraging the power of automated reports can be done quite easily. Depending on your specific needs and the size of the company, here are some potential solutions to consider:

Automated Reporting Tools

Many reporting tools available on the market can help businesses automate their reports.

These tools allow you to pull data from multiple sources and use various visualizations to create detailed reports in no time.

It would be best if you researched different tools to suit your needs and budget best.

Some popular tools include:

  • Microsoft Power BI,
  • Tableau,
  • Looker
  • and Domo.

In-House Developer Team

If you have the budget, you may consider setting up an in-house developer team to create custom reports for your business tailored to its specific needs.

This solution will require an initial investment but can result in more accurate, detailed reports tailored to your business’s unique requirements.

BI Tools

Business intelligence (BI) tools can be used to track and analyze data to provide a more detailed understanding of customer behavior and trends.

These insights can then inform decisions, which is why BI tools are so powerful.

Some popular business intelligence tools include:

  • SAP BusinessObjects,
  • IBM Cognos,
  • Oracle Analytics Cloud
  • and Microsoft Azure.

Data Analytics Tools

Some analytics tools have automated reporting systems built into their dashboards.

These reporting systems can present data in an easy-to-read, visual format to help businesses understand customer behavior and trends.

They may also be able to provide predictive analytics, which can help you anticipate future trends.

Popular data analytics tools include:

  • Google Analytics,
  • Adobe Analytics
  • and MixPanel.

Tips for Automating Reports

When automating your reports, there are several tips to keep in mind:

1. Start Small

Before investing in a large-scale automated reporting system, start by testing one or two simple report automation processes.

This will help you get familiar with the process before committing to a more complex solution.

2. Work with Experts

If you plan to create automated reports in-house, make sure you partner with experienced developers and designers who are familiar with the process.

3. Keep the User in Mind

When designing automated reports, it’s essential to keep the user in mind.

Think about what information they need and how best to present it so they can make decisions quickly and efficiently.

4. Test and Refine

When creating automated reports, testing them thoroughly before rolling them out is essential. This will help ensure that everything is functioning as expected and that potential problems are caught early on.

Once the report has been rolled out, continue testing it regularly to ensure that it still provides meaningful insights.

Key Takeaways: Integrate Report Automation into Your Reporting Processes

Reporting automation is a powerful tool that can be used to provide detailed insights into customer behavior, trends, and performance.

By leveraging automated reporting tools, in-house developers, BI tools, and data analytics tools, businesses can create accurate and timely reports tailored to their specific needs.

The most valuable data is actionable data, so be sure to test and refine your reports regularly to ensure that they provide meaningful insights.

By integrating report automation into your reporting processes, you can achieve more accurate and timely data-driven decisions for your business.


How would you automate a report?

There are several different ways that you can automate reporting within your business. Report automation tools, in-house developer teams, BI tools, and data analytics tools can all be used to create automated reports tailored to your specific needs.

Can you automate reports?

Manual reporting can be time-consuming and prone to error, so automating your reports can be a great way to save time and ensure accuracy. You can automate reports in several ways to create accurate, timely reports tailored to your needs.

What are automated reporting tools?

Automated reporting tools, or automated reporting systems, are software systems that generate reports from data sources. For businesses, a reporting tool will take raw data and turn it into actionable insight that can be used to make informed decisions.

Popular automated reporting systems include SAP BusinessObjects, IBM Cognos, Oracle Analytics Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.

How do I automate a report in Excel?

Excel can be an excellent tool for automating reports. You can create automated reports with the help of macros, which are sets of instructions that automatically tell Excel how to perform specific tasks. Additionally, you can use pivot tables and formulas to sort and analyze data for an automated report.

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