Real Time Reporting | 4 mins read

Real Time Reporting- What It Is and Why It's So Important

real time reporting what it is and why its so important
Chloe Henderson

By Chloe Henderson

With the modern market as competitive as it is, businesses need to have high visibility of their overall performance and all internal processes. Otherwise, a company can fall behind competitors who are able to use real-time metrics to aid their decision-making.

Real time reporting uses the most up to date information to generate analytical reports on a company's productivity and profitability. This enhanced functionality has many organizations replacing their traditional data collection methods, such as static reporting.

What is Static Reporting?

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Static reporting focuses on a specific timeframe to generate trends, data, and insights to help businesses make informed decisions. Once the report is used, it is typically filed and used for historical analysis. This traditional type of reporting is often recorded using manual methods, such as spreadsheets or paper and pen.

Static reports consist of static data, or information that does not change, and cover specific business areas, such as inventory, sales, and revenue. While the sources of information are reliable, they do not leave much room to dig further for actionable insights. This means that these reports can only be used once before they expire or lose their value.

What is Real Time Reporting?

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Also known as dynamic, real time reporting enables companies to access updated information at any time. Real time reports also allow users to interact with the data, to manipulate values and conduct various analyses.

Real time reporting is powered by enterprise software, such as an inventory management system, that uses machine learning to generate insightful analyses. It also considers historical and current data to make projections, enabling businesses to predict future trends.

Through the ability to incorporate the latest information, dynamic reporting alerts companies of arising issues to promote their responsiveness.

Real Time vs. Static Reporting

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While it is clear that real time reporting has better functionality, static reporting is a useful tool for collecting and storing historical information. However, organizations should recognize the key differences between the two methods-

  • Cohesion
Static reporting offers a quick glance at data from a specific time, which requires further insights from a broader period to begin any analysis. This includes pulling various reports from different sources which could take hours of manual labor and cause fragmentation, or disjointed datasets. This proves to be inefficient for larger companies that have several databases and need more in-depth insightful reports.

On the other hand, dynamic reporting automatically consolidates relevant information from several sources into a central database. This enables businesses to easily cross-examine metrics from different timelines and make quick decisions.

  • Accessibility
While management can digitalize static reports into different formats to enhance data sharing, this process also requires human intervention, which can introduce human error.

However, dynamic reporting allows verified users to access information from multiple devices by logging into the software's dashboard. This accessibility ensures all employees can view up to date information without having to manually exchange reports.

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  • Digestibility
Static reports present set metrics and values, such as profit margins and generated income, which do not allow interaction, making it difficult to form actionable insights without incorporating additional information.

Real time reporting uses sophisticated software to generate key performance indicators (KPIs) and comprehensive analyses that break down information so companies can better understand their performance.

For example, while static reports just use text and metrics, dynamic reports can use graphs and other visual elements that show a department's progression over time.

  • Scalability
Static information can only provide value for a short period of time before the data expires, whereas dynamic reporting continuously evolves with real time metrics.

Analytics software allows companies to customize parameters so reports can focus on different departments and overall performance. This functionality improves a business's ability to expand based on accurate insights.

The Importance of Real Time Reporting

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The more detailed information a business has on the various facets that affect their overall performance, the better they can improve operations to promote profitability. With access to real-time data, management can monitor how well each department is performing to detect problems and make quick improvements. This gives companies that utilize dynamic reporting a competitive edge over those with limited information accessibility.

By considering real-time KPIs and trends, businesses can develop impactful marketing campaigns, customer experiences, and promotions. Once these projects are launched, management can use dynamic reporting to monitor their effect on operational efficiency, sales, and the bottom line. Otherwise, companies are unable to determine if their ventures have a high return on investment (ROI) and must rely on guesswork to make alterations.

For example, businesses can use dynamic reporting to track and manage their inventory. By incorporating data retrieved from existing inventory management software, dynamic reporting considers incoming and outgoing packages to determine stock levels at any point in time. When these tools are integrated with a point-of-sale (POS) system, companies get a more accurate stock count by considering products that are located in-store or are exiting through transactions.

This data enables the reporting tool to generate individual product turnover rates, sales, and profit margins. With this information, managers can determine how they can optimize stock levels to promote income. By increasing reorders for high-profit items and eliminating slow-moving stock, businesses can improve cash flow and the bottom line.

In Conclusion

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For business owners trying to determine what method of reporting is best for their company and how it can impact data visibility, here are some key things to keep in mind-

  • Dynamic reporting adapts its analysis with incoming data, enabling businesses to see their overall performance and progression. On the other hand, static reporting can only look at a certain department during a specific timeframe, limiting visibility.
  • Management can customize the parameters in which the reporting tool generates analysis, so the company can take a closer look at specific operations.
  • Real-time reporting uses interactive tools so management can create various graphs and charts to visualize the data.
  • The dynamic method uses software to streamline data sharing without human intervention, reducing the risk of human error.
  • By utilizing modern technology, real-time reporting can grow with a business without limiting data accessibility or accuracy.