4 steps to creating successful reports

Reporting is essential to running a successful business. In the financial services industry, organizations must disclose certain reports for regulatory reasons to investors and creditors. Those reports provide an overview of how a company is doing and increase the transparency of its operations.

There are, of course, other types of reports that apply to all industries. Whether they are mandatory or optional, they carry different purposes and meet a broad variety of objectives.

4 steps

Making reporting possible can be a daunting task. Before jumping in and creating a report, there are certain steps to follow to ensure success.

1. Identify the audience for the report

It is essential to identify stakeholders. These are the end users for the report. Often they are the subject matter experts as well, who can provide detailed requirements necessary for success.

Knowing the audience you are serving will assist with clarifying the business need the report should meet.

2. Define business needs

A useful report should always address a need and provide a value to the organization or department. Zero in on the underlying business reasons for the report.

What business goals are you meeting? Is it monitoring completeness of an item and ensuring the SLAs are met during a specific step in the process? Is it providing a list of exceptions in a process, so the users can focus on the items that failed normal flow of processing?

3. Gather requirements

Now that we have a clear understanding of how this report meets a business goal, we can begin work on defining the type of information the report should provide.

What parameters or criteria should this report have? How often will it need to run? Who needs to have access to it?

This is just a sample of the questions you might ask and answer during the requirements gathering step. It goes without saying that you need to collect every field and data definition in order to call requirements complete.

If you are an OnBase user, review your existing solution to inquire if all fields identified as required for the report are present and information is being captured, which is essential for the design step, which comes next.

4. Ensure data exists

We have to have data in order to report on it, but so many times we realize we need to report on something that does not yet exist in the database.

This step often requires expertise in the existing solution and its intricacies, as we need to make sure the existing fields provide us with the data we are looking for to create the report.

You are ready to develop – what tool should you choose?

OnBase provides a variety of ways to report on documents and data, and you can select the most suitable tool to meet those needs. The data location can drive this choice.

Are you reporting on documents or WorkView? You can use WorkView filters for reporting just as easily as you use them to search for objects. You can also use basic and advanced exception reports to find missing documents.

Will graphs add value to the report? If the information is either stored on documents or a data-driven WorkView object, you can use Report Dashboards to provide required data with pie charts and diagrams.

Understanding the purpose of the report, identifying stakeholders, discovering data points, capturing the needed data and knowing the tools available will make reporting possible for your organization. Those are the ingredients for success.

Anna Morlang

Anna Morlang

Anna Morlang is a senior business consultant in financial services at Hyland.

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