What are reporting tools?

Reporting tools are widely used to support decision making and to measure organizational and team performance. Companies use them for financial consolidation, for evaluation of strategies and policies and often just for plain reporting. Today most of these tools are integrated with Business Intelligence tools.

What are the advantages of these tools for your organization?

Reporting tools allow companies to create attractive reports easily. In tabular or graphical format. With data from Excel, a data warehouse or the organization’s ERP system. With the reports containing the right information people are able to manage and improve the business processes more easily.

Top features of reporting tools

✓ Pixel-perfect formatting
✓ Connects to a variety of data sources
✓ Filtering, sorting and grouping of data
✓ Mostly database independent
✓ Suitable for detailed & aggregated data

How do you compare these tools?

Do you need to compare and evaluate reporting tools? And choose the best tool for your organization? Then the BI Reporting Tools Study is a very powerful comparison instrument for both managers and consultants.

To the BI Reporting Study

Which reporting tools are available in the market?

There are many Business Intelligence Reporting tools in the market available. This list of reporting tools shows you a complete overview of all the major tools currently available and thoroughly studied by our industry analysts. To name a few: Cognos Query and reporting, Oracle Enterprise Reporting, Crystal Reports, Microsoft Reporting Services (SSRS), etc.

Is there a difference between reporting tools and BI tools?

Almost every company, large or small, needs a reporting tool or they have already one in place. But, what is the difference between reporting software and Business Intelligence tools? They are not the same. In general reporting tools tell us where we have been but are not very good at analyzing data (at real time) and telling us where we are going (predictive). This is very well shown at the figure below.

Reporting tools cover a small part of the Business Intelligence field

Figure: reporting tools cover a small part of the Business Intelligence arena, they lack important functionality for Data Discovery and Predictive Analytics.

The figure displays the relationship between the complexity of the different solutions, the business impact and the type of functionality you need. If you need all types of functionality (reporting, OLAP, dashboards, advanced analytics) consider buying a complete Business Intelligence platform.

Are they intelligent?

Almost all Business Intelligence tools contain a reporting tool but most reporting tools are not very smart. That is because they have very less functionality for analyzing data: OLAP or Data Discovery, and they are often not able to process very large volumes of data. Our suggestion is that if you think you need a reporting tool look further and consider a Business Intelligence tool.

How can you  select the right tool for your organization easily?

Step 1: Determine the most important selection criteria, both user and IT requirements.
Step 2: Contact all the vendors with your criteria and ask them for the answers (RFI).
Step 3: Make sure the answers from the vendors are validated before analyzing them.
Step 4: Analyze all the answers, rank them and create a short list (maximum of 3).
Step 5: Negotiate with the vendor and choose the tool that suits your needs best.

We all know that selecting the right software can be a very time consuming process. For more than 15 years we have assisted companies in this process and so we have designed a tool which contains an evaluation of all the major reporting tools: the Reporting Tools Survey.

The need for Analytics grows

In this article we look into the benefits of Business Analytics from a technical perspective. The need for advanced Analytics is growing.

On the one side this is due to individualization (smaller households and customized products). On the other side to the ever increasing world population and amount of data. Learn more…

A list of reporting tools

Independent list of reporting toolsClick on the name in the list of reporting tools below to get more information about a specific reporting product. They are listed alphabetically.

The niche players Arcplan, Spotfire, Actuate, Talend and Panorama software were not included in our survey, because they did not want to fill in the questionnaire completely and the comparison cannot be done without the vendor’s cooperation. Perhaps they expect half way the questionnaire not to rank high in our our study?

The truth about embedded reporting tools

Many operational systems contain a reporting tool, they are embedded. Users are often not aware that they are even there, they just click on a ‘list’ and look into the results. Embedded reporting tools allow users to create reports based on data only of that specific operational system.

The real business value depends on how many data elements can be combined in one report. The more tables that can be joined the bigger the business value might be. This works exponentially if you select the right data elements and the data quality is good. The truth is that many embedded reporting tools have very less business value because the standard reports contain data from just 1 or 2 tables and they often don’t have data cleansing tools on board. However there are a few exceptions.

Customer review

“In the BI Reporting Tools Study from the Passionned Group I found all the data I needed to select the right BI reporting tool for our company. This is excellent research!”

Thomas Christensen

Do you prefer to get in touch with us for advice?

If you want assistance in the process of selecting the right reporting tool for your organization, please contact us for an appointment.

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Do you also want to become a customer of ours? We are happy to help you with business intelligence reporting tools (100% vendor neutral study) or other things that will make you smarter.

Daan van Beek, Managing Director


Managing Director

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