The management of data through detailed reporting is important for the growth and success of an organization. With the continued growth of businesses through acquisitions, diversifying of products and services, digital transformation, and organic growth – the increasing complexity of businesses has made it more difficult to collect, manage and compile data.  

Even with all the data collected, the real question is whether you can transform the data your organization needs in order to deliver reports packed with the information and insights that matter most. Whether you are creating reports that help your company track performance, or you are analyzing departmental data, creating a process that simplifies the complex nature of building reports can enable you to better communicate within your company and deliver the facts that can enable growth.  

Standard Reporting Process  

The standard method of producing complex reports starts with collecting the required data. This method often requires the assistance of subject matter experts (SMEs), an exercise of due diligence, to determine what should and should not be included in the report, and time spent defining the design and layout. This process can often be extensive, not inclusive of all data points, and often inaccurate. Your report may be falling short due to several reasons, including:  

  • The person asking for the report isn’t an expert and makes assumptions about the data.  
  • Some of the use cases don’t happen frequently and it’s hard to anticipate every scenario.  
  • People developing the report aren’t experts in the subject area.  
  • The database design is so complex that the business doesn’t know how to ask for what they need.  

 A New Approach to Report Development    

Approaching complex report development in an agile way can help avoid communication gaps and loss of important data points. Adopting the following approach to your report development utilizes an iterative process, enabling you to build upon the required data. This allows you to establish more quickly whether your report(s) provide accurate data and helps you achieve results faster.   

To get started with this new approach to reporting, review these three steps:  

1.      Gather Your Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).    

It’s important to gather the experts who know the data and subject you’re creating the report for. Schedule a meeting to gather the facts (a virtual meeting works, too). Talk about the goals of the report, make sure you keep it simple and be specific. The goal isn’t to write traditional requirements, but to gain an understanding amongst the group. Begin with a quick sketch of the report, who will be using the report, and its value to the business.   

2.      Define Where to Begin.     

Now it’s time to look for the common denominator. What is the simplest point of information that there is value in testing? Think of it like you are building a house. What information is the foundation of the report? What is complex enough to be worth testing?  

 This should be the first thing you validate when drafting the report. It has two solid benefits:  

  • The report writer is learning to understand the data.  
  • You can quickly validate the results.    

3.      Define the Journey.  

Define the steps you want to take along the way. Remember the house you are building from step two? Define your reporting process, “floor by floor.” Keep it simple so you can modify and adjust based on what you learn along the way.  

Complex reports don’t need to be complex to deliver the data that your organization needs to gain the right insights. Breaking down the process in an agile way can enable you to save time, and get to the results that matter most, no matter what company or task level you are reporting on.   

CREO offers services from experienced professionals who can help you navigate through your business complexities. We understand how critical data is to your company and can help you navigate complex reporting challenges. Whether you are in tech, life science, or healthcare we can meet your complex business needs. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your company.