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Best Reporting tools

Finding the best Reporting Tools for your business is now faster and easier! Compare prices, reviews, features, and get free consultation to find the perfect software.

Table of Contents

What is A Reporting Tool?

A reporting tool is a medium to capture and present the information to people in visual forms. These include a wide range of visual media, including tables and charts.

What is The Goal of A Reporting Tool?

Reporting tools work in conjunction with BI reporting tools to generate data that can be translated into action. There is more to the rationale behind using these BI reporting tools for gathering information than what appears on the surface. It aims at collecting data that fits well into the strategic objectives of a business organization. This element goes on to decide if the accumulated data is feasible for implementation. From managing performance data to leveraging it for the benefit of a business organization, the data from a  BI reporting tool comes in handy in several ways.

Reporting Tools vs. Business Intelligence Tools

Businesses oftentimes confuse the best reporting software with business intelligence reporting tools due to the existence of some grey areas between them. Reports help you tweak the manner in which one understands or reads data. By doing so, it helps one perform the task of data analysis and other tasks in a hassle-free way. Reports are all about a specific set of data relating to a user. They can be either a client or a customer of a business organization. The piece of information uncovered by it helps make informed decisions. On the other hand, business intelligence tools lay special emphasis on the improvement of the performance of a business. These online reporting tools gather data from multiple sources to discover the relationship between different forms of data. A business owner can make use of this valuable information to explore new business possibilities. Some popular examples of such uses include seasonal variations in demand, customer satisfaction surveys, and so on.

What are The Key Features Required for A Great Reporting Tool?

When it comes to choosing a online reporting tool, a company needs to prioritize its requirements. The idea should be to go with an option that ticks the right boxes of all its needs. While the needs may vary from one business to the other, some characteristics are common among the pieces of the best reporting software. When comparing the features of the best reporting software in UK, make sure it has the following attributes.

1. It should be mobile friendly and compatible with cloud technology: In this fast-paced and competitive world, aces to the data pertaining to business analytics make a big difference. Sometimes it can also be critical to the success of business operations. An online reporting tool that is compatible with a browser proves to be handy while handling such tasks. Cloud compatibility is a must-have feature that increases the usefulness of a reporting tool.

2. It should be able to provide current data feeds: The world is gravitating towards real-time processing from batch processing. Current data matters more than the data that was valid a few hours or minutes ago. This feature of a reporting tool helps a user capture real-time data. By doing so, it enables them to stay abreast with the latest happenings and make an informed decision accordingly.

3. It should be packed with easy visualization options: For the creation of visualized dashboards, it is imperative that a reporting tool has the ability to crate visualized dashboards. By virtue of this feature, a user can get the data that matters to them with just a few clicks. Drag and drop capabilities in such tools promote user-friendliness. An ideal business reporting tools should have this feature.

4. Automated data refreshment is an important feature: Major businesses look for ways to connect to larger databases such as Google Drive, Dropbox, MySQL, Oracle, Salesforce, Facebook, Google Analytics, and others. Therefore a reporting tool must be capable of connecting to all these databases and refresh data on a real-time basis. It should be able to execute this process on its own whenever it is necessary.

5. Ability to create and publish dashboard applications: One of the important business requirements of modern-day reporting tools is the ability to create and publish schedules in a quick time. If a tool is can automate this task on its own, it can be a valuable asset to a company.

6. It should have access to different platforms: Companies use a number of applications such as Linux, Mac, and Windows for performing business operations. A tool that operates on a cross-platform basis can come in handy for operations across all operating systems. The deployment of an application which is compatible across all platforms can prove to be a game-changer for any company.

7. An option to set custom alerts: Triggers and notifications are the two important aspects of monitoring the datasets for a wide range of users. A reporting tool with the feature of setting up the custom alerts enables to make use of this feature whenever they feel the need for it. While it seems optional on the surface, it is a necessity in a reporting tool.

8. Specific data for specific users: Staying with the feature to track or monitor data, a reporting tool also facilitates the tracking of data for a specific user. You do not need to invest an extra duration of time to gather all the data of an individual from different categories. Instead, you can assign this task to a reporting tool with the ability to track the requisite data on its own. How to decide what reporting tool to use The question surrounding the choice of the best reporting software in UK is a pertinent one. You are not alone; others are also seeking an answer to it. When taking the final call on the choice of one of the best reporting tools in UK, pay attention to the features mentioned below.

  • Make sure it is neither too difficult to integrate nor customize.
  • It should be straightforward to adapt and manage.
  • It should be scalable and secure.
  • You should be able to deploy it universally. That is to say, you should be able to run on a wide range of applications such as Windows, OS X, Mac, and Linux.

Top 7 Open Source Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools

1. BIRT: Since its inception in 2004 as an open-source project, BIRT has been lending a helping hand in the creation of reports and visualizations in the professional world as the best reporting software. In the process, it has bagged the deals from some of the big names across the tech industry across the globe. The names that put it under the spotlight include big players like Innovent Solutions and IBM. Apart from the BIRT runtime and a report designer - two of the vital components - it also allows the development and publication of reports. A viewer, a chart designer, and a chart engine are the other three components worth mentioning. Though written in Java, it runs across all the popular platforms that are currently in use in the business world. It is compatible with the major operating systems such as Mac, Linux, and Windows.

2. JasperReport: JasperReport is one of the best reporting tools in 2020 for business reporting. It is famous among companies due to its wide range of features. Speaking of its attributes, it has production environments spanning in thousands. These production environments can be classified under two heads: the ones owned by the community and the ones managed by commercial entities. APIs and Java classes constitute the backbone of JapsperReport. The features of the application include a server, a studio, and a library. Also, you can integrate the top reporting tools of its library with your company’s existing IT infrastructure. The server environments, in collaboration with ETL and OLAP, provide JesperReport with the frontline tools to execute all the tasks.

3. Pentaho: From data mining to reporting, Pentaho, as one of the best reporting tools in 2020, has everything that users anticipate in a standard business reporting tool. With a total suite, it provides all the requisite elements to cover a wide range of use cases. No matter what your business organization needs, Pentaho has all the top reporting tools you are looking for. What separates Pentaho from the other reporting tools on the list is its rich sets of tools. The prominent among them is a J2EE application called Pentaho BI Server. Among other things, it provides an interface based on a website layout to check out the reports. Pentaho also has a bunch of additional tools. However, these tools do not correspond to reporting. Built-in Java Enterprise Edition, the reporting software is cross-platform by nature. That is to say, you can use it across a wide range of operating systems such as Mac, Linux, and Windows. One of the obvious benefits of using this tool is its wide range of resources that include wiki, documentation, and more.

4.SpagoBI: If you are looking for a reliable business tool for user support and professional services, then you may want to choose one of the best reporting tools in 2020 for this purpose. There is no other software that fills the bill in this regard than Spago BI. It involves ETL, data-mining, cockpits, and reporting charts. When you add up all these features, you get a total that corresponds to a total intelligence suite. Are you wondering what is the standout feature of Spago BI? The answer is simple: its ability to integrate with an impressive array of top reporting tools on the go. Apart from data portals, it also works in conjunction with other tools such as CKAN, and KeyRock identity manager. If you consider its certified environments, you will see the reason why the inclusion of SpagoBI is important for business organizations.

5. KNIME: KNIME is one of those useful business reporting software applications out there that emphasizes machine learning. This feature helps it offer an impressive array of attributes to business organizations. In addition to a web portal, it also brings a wide range of collaboration extensions to the table. It came into existence primarily due to research in the pharmaceutical industry. From its humble origins as an open-source platform for analytics, it has maximized its reach to a bunch of other industries. These include the car manufacturing industry, the telecom industry, publication houses, and banks. This business tool revolves around Java and supports all the major platforms used by business organizations these days. These include Windows, OS X, and Linux.

6. ReportServer: ReportServer is another popular name in the world of business reporting tools. Two core elements separate this tool from the rest: its Java architecture, and its ability to run on application servers powered by Java. It relies on BitnamiReportServer Stack to derive its virtual and cloud images for working in tandem with major operating systems. This business intelligence platform is open source by nature and has a native installer. With both the general and commercial versions of this tool, you carry out the productivity-related tasks of your business organization. These include studying OLAP analytics, reporting with Microsoft Word and Excel files, and conducting ad hoc reporting analyses.

7. Seal Report: The extraction of the dashboard and reports form an open database may sound easier said than done. Fortunately, Seal Report can help you simplify matters in this regard. It operates smartly to do the job in a quick time. As a ready-for-enterprise-use tool, it provides training and consultation to help business organizations not only undertake complex projects but also complete them within a given deadline. Seal Report is known to support several features such as web report servers, HTML5 charts, native pivot tables, and dynamic SQL sources. However, your computer unit needs the latest version of the .NET framework to run the C# codes on which Seal Report is based.

How can Business Intelligence, Data Analytics, and Reporting Tools Benefit Your Business?

The combination of reporting tools, data analytics, and business intelligence proves to be an invaluable asset to a business organization in many ways. Given that these tools and services are aimed at the capturing of data, their benefits revolve around its use. With these tools and services, you can analyze, consolidate, and gather business-related information to make informed decisions. Also, you can visualize and manage large amounts of data without investing a lot of time and effort.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • It is an application software program to perform several business-related tasks such as transformation, analysis, and retrieval of data pertaining to business intelligence.
  • A reporting package is a business application that helps create a unified document by enabling content creators and reviewers to integrate with workflow.
  • It is a comprehensive service that offers a solution to meet all kinds of reporting requirements. For a change, it adopts an out-of-the-box approach to data validation and ingestion.
  • Reporting tools not only help collect actionable information but also present them in visual and tabular form. One can study them to make informed business decisions.
  • Automated business reporting software helps you send business reports in various ways as per predetermined intervals. The best thing about this software is that it allows you to decide the frequency and interval of sending different reports.
  • Also known as SQL Server Reporting Services, it makes use of SQL server to help you create printed, graphical, and interactive reports. This server-based reporting tool is also used for creating ad hoc reports.
  • The best reporting tools are those which are:

    • flexible and easy to use;
    • supports multiple users;
    • offer comprehensive functionalities; and
    • allows you to collect, combine, and evaluate data from various sources.
  • The best open source reporting solution has been built to help you meet basic report requirements. Open-source reporting tools support diverse styles of reporting and also cost less than commercial reporting platforms.
  • The best reporting tool in the market offers a host of useful features, such as

    • cross-platform access,
    • data filtering,
    • data transformation,
    • easy visualization,
    • real-time custom notifications,
    • mobile compatibility,
    • dataanalysis,
    • analytic dashboard,
    • self-service data preparation,
    • meta-data layer,
    • cloud-based business intelligence tools,
    • data lineage tracking, and much more.

Chirantan MungaraBy Chirantan Mungara | Last Updated: November 01, 2020

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