In today’s data-centric business environment, reporting systems are critical for making informed decisions. Companies that deploy self-service reporting tools are better positioned to leverage their data for strategic advantage. One solution that has grown in popularity across industries is self-service reporting; a system that allows end-users to create and execute their reports independently. Keep reading to understand the best practices for setting up a self-service reporting system to maximize its benefits.

An employee looks over business data on her laptop

Understanding the Business Environment

Before setting up a self-service reporting system, you should first conduct an in-depth analysis of your business environment. This analysis should be geared towards understanding your company’s reporting needs, the skills and competencies of your workforce, and the technology currently in use. Understanding the reporting needs involves considering what information is necessary for your company to operate. This may include employee productivity reports, financial reports, customer success metrics, or production measurements.

The type of reports your company requires will determine the capabilities your self-service reporting system needs. Recognizing the skills and competencies of your workforce will help you choose a system that can be easily understood and utilized by your employees. This understanding minimizes the time and resources spent on staff training. You should also consider the technological infrastructure currently in place. Having an understanding of your existing system will allow you to select a reporting system that seamlessly integrates into your workplace.

Training Employees

Training is a significant step in setting up a self-service reporting system and is beneficial for small businesses. Although self-service reporting tools are designed to be user-friendly, they still require some degree of training to be used effectively. Therefore, it’s crucial to plan for staff training when setting up a self-service reporting system. The training should cover all aspects of the reporting tool. It should explore the functionalities that the tool offers and teach employees how to use them.

A manager gives a presentation to employees in a conference room

Training should also address any potential challenges that users may encounter and provide solutions for them. Include a follow-up process to get feedback from your employees about their training experience. This feedback will help you improve future training sessions and make them more useful. A well-trained workforce is essential to optimize the use of your self-service reporting system.

Implementing Data Governance

Data governance refers to the rules and guidelines concerning how data is collected, stored, and used within an organization. Implementing data governance safeguards the quality, integrity, and reliability of the data used in your reporting system. As you set up your self-service reporting system, you should define a data governance policy to control data access, set standards for data quality, and ensure data security.

This policy should also include procedures for managing data duplication, consistency, and redundancy. Properly implemented data governance ensures a reliable reporting output. It assures that the reports generated by your system are accurate and credible, leading to informed decision-making.

Championing the Use of the System

You should always strive to champion the use of your self-service reporting system within your organization. This could be achieved through regular communication of the system’s benefits, continuous training efforts, and rewarding successful utilization of the system. Visibility of results attained through using the reporting system can also be a powerful tool to champion its use.

An employee uses a computer while pointing out something on the screen

When people see how data-driven decisions made with the system led to positive outcomes, they become more likely to use the platform. Promoting the use of the system ensures consistent uptake by your teammates. It not only allows full utilization of your investment but is also a sure way to foster a data-centred culture in your organization.

As this blog clearly illustrates, setting up a self-service reporting system demands an understanding of your business environment, selecting the right tool, staff training, diligent planning, data governance, system maintenance, and championing the system’s use. Implementing these practices can set your business up for successful reporting and aid your data-driven decision-making process. Follow our tips and you’ll be well on your way to improving your productivity and efficiency.