Approaching a Reporting/Analytics Project

Often find yourself wondering why you are not extracting more insights from your database? One of the biggest strengths of any CRM should be its reporting and insights capabilities —but reporting tools in any system are often not used to their full potential due to inconsistent data or the time and focus required to unlock that power. Great reporting and insight from any system drives better adoption, which in turn results in all users constantly enriching and leveraging the data in that system. But this does mean that what starts as a Reporting project can turn into a Transformation project. Drawing insight from good quality, consistent data can be incredibly powerful, so the effort is worth it. But very few Transformation project is fully planned upfront and executed perfectly, they're iterative processes.

Reporting Challenges

So, where do you start? I know that not everyone is a data mining expert, nor wants to be, which means that self-service isn’t always an option for reporting projects. In addition, because users can customise their workflow, there can be a variety of ways across our customer base that the same thing is tracked. Not having a forced workflow brings huge benefits in User adoption, but the consequence is that “out of the box” reporting solutions are more difficult to implement.

With so many varying factors, it can often be difficult for any service provider to predict the cost of a reporting project. If you are engaging with someone to request a report, you should keep the following in mind:

Data Clarity: A worst-case scenario when developing reports is receiving a report that doesn’t tell you the information you were hoping for. Make sure you have clearly defined the problem you are trying to solve and fully scoped out your reporting needs in order to ensure that the data will tell you what you need.

Data Consistency: The consistency of data in your source is more important than anything else if you are looking to draw meaningful insight. Make sure you spend time checking consistency ahead of the project and fully articulate your required data source and format in your request so that any output provides the insight you need.

Data Translation: You may want to build a Dashboard or visualise the data in your reports. Mock ups and clear descriptions of the visualisations you have in mind are a critical factor in creating a great user experience for any reports.

Data Lift: If you’re new to reporting, the urge to request enormous amounts of data at your first attempt can be tempting, but this often proves confusing for everyone involved. Users may get overwhelmed trying to dig through the data to unearth insights and consumers of the insights may struggle to interpret them.

It can be difficult to conceptualise your data needs, but the above factors all need to be taken into account when making a data request in order to accurately capture the insights you would like to extract for your business. The more work you do ahead of engaging a team to develop Reports or Dashboards, the more defined and accurate the scope for that project becomes. This removes the challenges and much of the associated cost as well as resulting in a quicker conclusion to any project.

Tips:

Start with simple, easy to understand concepts and iterate slowly

Begin with extracts of data that allow you to audit the quality of data and fix processes and data quality before investing heavily in visualising that data

Be sure that what you are asking for will actually be useful

Prove that your first iterations have been helpful before adding complexity

Seek help on processes if you have a specific reporting output in mind as there can often be a simpler way to do things

--

--

--

One time Recruiter, now selling and implementing CRM software to anyone who values Talent Intelligence above all else. Exec Search, Productivity & Life,

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Sean Wilkes

Sean Wilkes

One time Recruiter, now selling and implementing CRM software to anyone who values Talent Intelligence above all else. Exec Search, Productivity & Life,

More from Medium

Extracting Data from Anaplan with Qlik Sense

Examples of Sport Analytics Departments

5 reasons why 80% of data and insight projects fail

Analytics and figures. Entrepreneur’s Dilemma. Part 1