What is Report Automation?
Report automation is the process of scheduling a report (that somebody currently produces at some level of frequency) to automatically refresh and be delivered to specific places and people at a specific regular interval.
Automated reports remove the need for someone to process the reports because it becomes systemized and automatic by way of a software system.
Report automation typically works through APIs to fetch data from various platforms and integrates it into the software’s system.
Most automated tools also include the option to add notes, comments, customizable email messages and translate to different languages.
More so that the automated report can be given context and delivered to the right people, at the right time.
Report automation has multiple benefits, including saving time, viewing robust data from various sources in a single place, enhancing the accuracy of the information and providing you with more time to analyze the data rather than collecting it.
All these benefits can help you scale your business by conveniently and accurately knowing how your business is performing.
Here are 5 ways report automation can improve your reporting process:
1. Report automation saves time
How much time are you spending now creating reports? Companies who rely on spreadsheets often find that it takes more than an hour to generate data, key it into a spreadsheet, build charts and graphs, and generate a report that provides useful information.
It can take hours to create a report only to find an error that makes the whole thing invalid.
Automating reports saves an enormous amount of time. The hours spent preparing and running reports, finding mistakes and fixing them, and distributing reports can be used for more productive tasks.
When you can run a report with one click instead of hours of typing, it makes sense to automate them.
The number one reason that agencies automate reporting is also its number one benefit; it frees up their team's time and resources.
Most agencies spend the first two weeks of the next month gathering data and executing reports.
Not only does this tie your team up but it also keeps them from getting started with new projects.
When data is gathered automatically, you no longer have a team of people dedicating their time to manually pulling data.
You and your team can gain access to data automatically which leads to the execution of better marketing decisions, faster. Data gathering and reporting automation give your team the opportunity to focus on data analysis- which is the most useful part of the whole process.
2. Report automation is cost-efficient
In addition to saving time, report automation can also lead to significant cost savings. They reduce the workload for employees who once manually created reports and often cut overtime hours paid during crunch times when reports come due.The cost of hiring someone to consolidate data is much greater than letting marketing technology do it for you automatically.
If showing your clients old data every month isn’t scary enough then the amount of money you are putting into these reports should terrify you.
Manual reporting is not just draining your team's time and productivity, but it’s also really expensive.
Your clients are not spending that much time on it, they are looking over these reports for confirmation that things are going well.
You can absolutely cut reporting costs by automating those responsibilities with marketing technology.
3. Report automation reduces risk
Another benefit of automation is that there is far less chance of a human error being entered into the process.
By normalizing data, you can limit the chance of each department reporting different numbers due to misunderstandings of what is to be measured or how it should be calculated.
This means results are more consistent and reliable, saving time and money.One of the worst parts about manually putting together your clients’ reporting is that you are relying on old data.
It takes a lot of time to gather data sources when it’s not being automated so having “real-time” reporting seems as realistic as a flying car.
Rather than relying on old data, when you use the right marketing technology, you can rest assured knowing that all of your data is in real-time and programmed for accuracy.
Since your team is no longer copying and pasting sections of data into Excel themselves, you don’t have to worry about human error.
Your clients’ data is now automatically and accurately gathered for you.
4. Report automation is compliant
The person using the system is always in control of the results. They can regulate who can access the reports.
The system keeps a record of every transaction and those involved hence minimizing fraud and errors.
This means you can track down by who and when an entry was input in the system. It is all under your control!
Marketing Dashboards are designed in a way that ensures the same exact data is accessible to everyone on your team at the same time.
A marketing technology that supplies reporting automation means you are no longer waiting for members of your team to gather data from past campaigns; the data is available all the time.
These dashboard views also allow you to communicate complex results and information to your clients.
A dashboard takes cells of data and visualizes it-putting reports into an easy-to-understand, everyday language.
Your clients will love it, making it easier to retain and build client accounts because of it.
5. Automated reports can be customized
Updating dashboards by campaign, region or brand may take a while to complete.
No matter how skilled you are, it takes a great deal of time and effort to gather all the relevant data and run reports if you are doing it manually.
So often you will reduce the level of detail or scope of the report to reduce the effort required.
Want to impress your boss by providing detailed, sophisticated reports quickly, and every time? Automation software lets you do just this.
6. Report automation makes you stand out from your competitors
With many businesses and agencies lagging behind in embracing report automation, you will be leading the pack when it comes to efficiency, cutting cost, saving time and customer engagement.
With a click of a button, your clients, your customer or client will be able to access reports or information quickly and easily.
You can compete confidently without worrying about the cost and many risks associated with manual reports.
Report automation makes data more accessible and digestible across your organization.
When the information flows openly between teams you are one step ahead of breaking down the silos.Automated reports are available remotely at any time to all the users you give permission to access reports online.
You can schedule an email generation of reports to be sent out to whomever you want on a periodic basis.
Productivity, reliability, accuracy, transparency, and accessibility are solid arguments to embrace reporting automation.
(Graphic Designs on this article can be downloaded from Delesign's Website)
GreyMetrics is an automation suite for Marketing Reports
GreyMetrics connects with a single click to 20+ marketing platforms & also allows custom data inputs into dashboards via Google Sheets