The problems caused by bad reporting software can range from small inconveniences to major financial losses. For instance, bad reporting software can lead to:
- Lost productivity
- Wasted money
- Security breaches
- Flawed business decisions
- and more…
How so? Take–for example–the most commonly used reporting tool: Spreadsheets. Why are spreadsheets a dangerous reporting option? Two reasons: They’re inefficient and dangerous:
1. Spreadsheets are inefficient: The fact is, you can use spreadsheets for reporting. Many businesses do. But what is efficient at the individual level can be terribly inefficient at the department or business level. The time it takes to gather, filter, and organize your data in a spreadsheet can easily equate to hours or days. On the flip side, good reporting software could deliver a similar report in minutes. Imagine how much time (and therefore money) you waste every year relying on spreadsheets for reporting.
2. Spreadsheets are dangerous: You can’t control who edits a single spreadsheet. You can’t control who can access that spreadsheet. The result: Billions of dollars are lost each year due to spreadsheet errors. Do you really want to base your business decisions on spreadsheets? I don’t.
Okay, so you understand the dangers of using spreadsheets as reporting software, but…what are your alternatives? After all, anyone who has ever used different reporting tools understands that not all reporting software is created equal. Software that looks good at first glance may have some hidden flaws once you start using it. The problem is, many people get caught up in the flashy interface, or beautifully designed reports…and overlook the most important aspects. For instance, they might purchase the best-looking reporting solution, only to find out later that it:
- Doesn’t offer multi-tenant security
- Isn’t regularly updated
- Doesn’t offer advanced features (like intelligent alerts or email integration)
- Isn’t well supported
- Or worse…
I could go on. The point is, by the time you realize these problems, it’s often too late. You’ve already spent the money. You’ve already trained your staff. Convincing management that you need new reporting after you’ve recently implemented reporting software is a difficult (and embarrassing) job.
How can you avoid these issues before they happen? We’ve put together something that will help. It’s a 15-point reporting checklist, which outlines the essential features all reporting solutions should offer. It will help you understand what areas to look for, and help you avoid choosing the wrong software.