The power of BI reporting for your business

By Macaulay Hey - April 20, 2022

Manually inputting timesheets, managing inventory and invoices, and dealing with an array of other number-crunching tasks can be tiring. For you and your employees, it might be the thing you dread the most at the end of a long shift, week or month. 

No matter whether you’re in retail or hospitality, it’s inevitable that your industry requires some form of reporting. In such a time-consuming and monotonous task, it can be easy to make mistakes that go unnoticed. But even the smallest errors can lead to big problems when it comes to decision-making.

In addition to the risk of errors from manual data entry, inefficient reporting processes eat up a huge amount of time - especially if numbers aren’t your forte. Constantly having to dedicate hours on end to manual reporting when you know your time could be better spent on higher-value projects can be pretty disheartening. 

Well, it’s time to say goodbye to those all-consuming Excel spreadsheets. No more waiting for days for a report every time you unexpectedly need one. Now, you can get real-time insights into every single aspect of your business with the click of a button. 

Business Intelligence (BI) reporting leverages best-of-breed BI tools to give you and your team actionable insights for more effective decision-making. Even for the non-technical, reporting has never been faster, easier or more accurate.


Why you need business intelligence 

With the advancement of technology, tedious tasks that require manual input, now have the ability to be automated and save you valuable time. Business intelligence software tools have become the be-all and end-all for organisations. But why?

It’s cost-efficient

Reporting manually through Excel can be time-consuming. With business intelligence software, you can guarantee fast and accurate reporting, incorporating real-time data coupled with the ability to source information from multiple platforms. This doesn’t only save time and reduce labour costs but also improves the accuracy of the data, which reduces potentially expensive mistakes that can be made by humans. 

It enables effective decision-making

Business intelligence can allow you to discover hidden patterns that can explain the performance of your company, and then enable data-driven decisions. This offers a breadth of benefits for your company.  Accurate data in real-time assists in overall company growth by improving organisational efficiency and being able to make smarter credible decisions. Being able to visualise the data also gives you the opportunity to spot trends that aren’t always apparent when reading through a mass of numbers. 


The best BI reporting tools

For those looking for a BI software, there are several solutions available with varying levels of sophistication. The right solution will depend on the size of your business and your business goal. You'll also want to consider what data points you’re working with, how you can access the data, and what you want to report on. 

Three of the best business intelligence tools in the market include Microsoft Power BI, Xero and Spotlight. While all three are seamless and sophisticated tools designed for business reporting, there are a few key differences. 


Microsoft Power BI

Power BI is a sophisticated data analysis and visualisation tool. While it’s primarily used for financial reporting, it can be configured to report on inventory management, marketing and human resources too. In fact, anything with an Open API can be connected to Power BI. And if you don’t have access to a tool’s API, it’s possible to extract data with a screen scraping tool - the web scraper will extract the data and feed it through to Power BI. Also accessible on mobile, Power BI provides automated notifications and reminders, to ensure you never miss important updates.

Xero Analytics Plus

Xero Analytics Plus is a cloud-based accounting software designed for small to medium businesses. Its’ powerful short-term cash flow forecasting tools and enhanced customisability allow you to easily measure your financial performance. It’s a seamless tool great for accountants and bookkeepers, with anytime access to financial data, enabling you to make powerful predictions and improved forecasting. 

Spotlight Reporting

Spotlight is a sophisticated reporting tool that seamlessly integrates with Xero, as well as a number of other accounting platforms and data sources. Spotlight enables advanced consolidated reports as well as customisable dashboards that visualise cash flow, invoicing, transactions, as well as other non-financial activities. Spotlight’s consolidated reports are flexible and customisable for all client’s needs, with the ability to show summarised information for multi-entity businesses and franchisees, providing powerful insights for group performance. 



Implementation of business intelligence

Implementing BI reporting in your company doesn’t happen overnight. From planning, design, prototyping, and trialling, to the actual integration and training of staff on use, there’s a lot that goes into forming a BI solution. 

Choosing an external strategic partner that will cater for every element of your company at every step of implementation, is integral. Certain parts of the integration process can be very rigid, therefore it can be very easy to make mistakes that cost you unnecessary time and money, particularly if you don’t have experience with business systems.

At BlueRock Digital, there are several steps we take when implementing a BI solution into our client’s businesses. 

1. Planning & Design

A deep-dive discovery of your company is pivotal. Every business is different, therefore the BI reporting needs differ in every situation. With an initial consultation, we can better understand your company’s data points and what you want to report on. Through the planning and design stage, prototyping becomes an essential process in figuring out what’s possible, and further developing the perfect solution. In this stage, we will recommend the best BI reporting tool for you and your company’s needs

2. Developing the solution

Upon designing a solution specifically designed for you, implementation means bringing your data to life with the chosen cloud-based reporting software. BlueRock Digital will cater the process to what works best for you and your company. This involves the initial sourcing of data points, connecting integrations, and storing the data in an appropriate structure. BlueRock Digital will then start to develop calculations and data manipulation to craft the perfect dashboard/report for you.

3. Enablement

Generally, it can take a few months to see the transaction cycle. During this time, the right partner will provide a hypercare package, in which you and your employees are given full support and training prior to going live. Depending on the scope of the project, our team will guide you through the optimal functionality, as well as continue supporting you with further enhancements. This way, you can make the most of your new platform and continue to unlock insights, rather than a set and forget approach. The transition should be as smooth as possible, so you can keep going as usual for business

Discover a smarter way to do business 

Implementing a BI tool into your business is a huge undertaking. The team at BlueRock Digital are experts in implementing BI tools into businesses of all shapes and sizes. Reclaim your time, gain maximum visibility on every aspect of your business, and make confident, data-driven decisions. If you want to find out more about how we can integrate a BI solution into your business, get in touch.

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Topics: Business Systems & Automation, Digital Transformation