Reporting Vs Analysis: What do you need and When?
In a highly competitive e-commerce world, there is an increasing demand for data to make decisions. It is evident from the availability of multiple e-commerce store reports, marketing reports, inventory reports, and many more.
However, in a data analysis context, there is a significant difference between reporting and analysis. Businesses cannot use both concepts to their full potential if they do not understand the difference between the two.
So, what is the difference?
Once data is collected, it will be organized using tools into tables, charts, and dashboards. The process of organizing this data in the form of metrics is reporting. Metrics allow businesses to gauge the performance or progress of their day-to-day activities. The most important metrics for businesses are called Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Organizations should note that they can and should pick their metrics while they cannot pick their data. Also, reporting is a continuous process where the metrics are monitored day-in and day-out.
On the other hand, analysis is the process of taking the organized data (metrics) and analyzing it to gain valuable insights on how businesses can improve their performance. The analysis goes beyond “what happened” and seeks to answer “why it happened” and “what can be done about it.” Moreover, unlike reporting, analysis is done on an as-needed basis.
For instance, metrics might show a rising bounce rate despite a boost in website traffic. With analysis, businesses can discern the answer to why the bounce rate is increasing. It can be perhaps because the traffic they are driving is not their target audience.
Reporting in Detail:
Need for Reporting:
The problem with raw data is that it is not intelligible. It needs to be organized after it is collected so that it is easier to visualize. In other words, it is much easier for users to use the information when viewing it from within the reports. It is during this process that a transformation takes place. It is no longer simply data – through reporting, it becomes usable information.
Reporting follows a push approach, where reports are pushed to users who are then expected to extract meaningful insights and take appropriate actions for themselves.
Types of Reports:
Canned Reports: These are the generic reports that businesses can access within the analysis tool or which can also be delivered regularly to a group of end-users. These reports are static with fixed metrics and dimensions. In general, some reports are more valuable than others, and a report’s value may depend on how relevant it is to an individual’s role (e.g., product manager, marketer).
Dashboards: These custom-made reports combine different KPIs and reports to provide a comprehensive, high-level view of business performance for specific audiences. Dashboards may include data from various data sources and are also usually static.
Alerts: These conditional reports are triggered when data falls outside of expected ranges, or some other pre-defined criteria are met. Once people are notified of what happened, they can take appropriate action as necessary.
Analysis in Detail:
The analysis follows a pull approach, where an analyst pulls the data to answer specific business questions.
Types of Analysis:
Ad hoc Analysis: Analysts receive requests to answer various business questions that may be spurred by questions raised from the reports. Typically, these requests are time-sensitive and demand a quick turnaround.
Analysis Presentations: Some business questions are more complex and require more time to perform a comprehensive, deep-dive analysis. These analysis projects result in a more formal deliverable, which includes two key sections: key findings and recommendations.
Which one is important – Reporting or Analysis?
When it comes to reporting vs analysis, businesses cannot have one without the other. They go together.
While reporting is used to monitor how different business areas are performing, analysis is used to extract meaningful insights, which can be used to improve business performance.
A crucial aspect one should note is that, since reports form the basis for analysis, the integrity of the reports makes all the difference in the analytics phase. Also, monitoring and reporting over time will highlight problems and identify opportunities for growth or expansion.
What Halo can do for you?
Halo is an outcome of deep experience in e-commerce growth consulting. It provides essential reports across all facets of an e-commerce business, including sales, customers, marketing, product, profitability, inventory, and customer service. It is designed to free up valuable resources from time-consuming report generation and enable stakeholders to focus on decision-making.