03 June 2014
Choosing Your Reporting Tools
Having a good set of Reporting tools is definitely handy if you want to effectively compile and present data to a variety of audiences. However, with the multitude of tools available, it can be quite daunting to select the one you need. So, to help you out, here is simple guide that we have prepared.
What to look for
Despite the multitude of tools available, there are a few key things that you can take into consideration when choosing one for your use. One of the most important of these is how capable the tool is in handling different types of data. Depending on the variety of data you will be working on, these might run on different file formats. Thus, the tool must be compatible to as many formats as possible, even those that you are unlikely going to use. You might also want to grab plugins or other support programs to help in converting formats that are not supported.
Another feature you want to look for in the tool you are getting is a visualization function. This is particularly important if you are working on a large amount of data, as regular presentation software can handle only a limited volume. Also note that your tool should offer visualization for both presentations and written documents. Some tools offer a variety of templates to make the visualization work easier for you.
Open source vs. Proprietary
Just like any other software, reporting tools have also seen the emergence of open source products to compete with those released by major software companies. The biggest advantage of open source reporting tools is that they are adaptable to a wider variety of data types, owing to the attempt of the developers to provide as complete a solution as possible. On the other hand, proprietary reporting software benefit from a more souped-up feature set.
So now, the big question is what to choose. For those who are running on a tight budget and need something that will be able to handle general reporting duties, open source will provide you with everything you need and then some. On the other hand, the more advanced features present in a proprietary software is ideal for more complex reports. Instead of going for one or the other though, a better idea is to pair and open source with a proprietary tool to have even better range of functionality.
A few recommendations
Of the proprietary brands, Microsoft’s line of business intelligence tools is still considered as one of the most popular. In particular, Reporting Services offer a array of charts, which are indispensible in data presentation. An alternative is Windward, which has almost the same features as Microsoft’s at a fraction of the cost.
When it comes to open source, Pentaho is one of the more popular. The software’s main draw is its combination of data integration and analytics capabilities, which is ideal for creating comprehensive studies. OpenI follows closely with its data monetization functions.
Need more reporting tools to help in your work? Contact us and we will provide what you are looking for.