Mastering Business Intelligence Reporting: Tips and Best Practices

Streamline your data analysis with effective BI Reporting. Discover how to leverage BI for better business outcomes and efficiency.

Landon Cortenbach
Dec 14, 2023
# mins
Mastering Business Intelligence Reporting: Tips and Best Practices

Mastering Business Intelligence Reporting: Tips and Best Practices

Streamline your data analysis with effective BI Reporting. Discover how to leverage BI for better business outcomes and efficiency.

Mastering Business Intelligence Reporting: Tips and Best Practices

Streamline your data analysis with effective BI Reporting. Discover how to leverage BI for better business outcomes and efficiency.

Business intelligence (BI) reporting uses a BI tool to prepare and analyze data to find and share actionable insights. BI reporting helps users to improve decisions and business performance by providing data visualizations, dashboards, alerts, and analytics. 

However, creating effective and efficient BI reports can be challenging, especially for non-technical users who need to access and understand the data quickly and easily. 

In this blog post, we will share some tips and best practices for mastering BI reporting and some examples of how MSH can help you achieve your business goals with our BI solutions.

Perspective Shift 1: Identify Your Reporting Requirements

Before creating your BI reports, you need to identify your reporting requirements for different stakeholders. 

What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you want to measure and monitor? What are the questions that you want to answer with the data? What are the formats and frequencies that you need for your reports? 

These questions will help you define your BI reports' scope, purpose, and audience.

Perspective Shift 2: Choose a Dashboard to Meet Your Needs

A dashboard is a collection of charts, graphs, maps, or other visualizations that display your data's most important metrics or trends. 

A dashboard can help you summarize and communicate your data insights concisely and engagingly. However, not all dashboards are created equal. 

You need to choose a dashboard that meets your needs based on the following criteria:

  • Relevance: The dashboard should focus on the most relevant metrics or trends for your audience and purpose.
  • Clarity: The dashboard should use clear labels, titles, legends, colors, and scales to make the data easy to understand.
  • Simplicity: The dashboard should avoid cluttering with too many elements or unnecessary details.
  • Interactivity: The dashboard should allow users to explore the data by filtering, slicing, dicing, or drilling down.
  • Customization: The dashboard should allow users to adjust the layout, format, or appearance of the visualizations according to their preferences.

Perspective Shift 3: Design Your Dashboard to Minimize Distractions

While it is important to include relevant metrics or trends in your dashboard, you must also minimize distractions that might confuse or overwhelm your users. Here are some tips for designing your dashboard effectively:

  • Use consistent branding: Use a consistent color scheme, font style, logo, or icon throughout your dashboard to create a professional and recognizable look.
  • Use appropriate charts: Choose the correct chart type for each metric or trend based on its nature and purpose. For example, use line charts for trends over time, pie charts for proportions of categories, and bar charts for comparisons of values.
  • Use appropriate scales: Choose the right ranking for each chart based on its range and precision. For example, use logarithmic scales for small fields or exponential scales for large ranges.
  • Use appropriate axes: Choose the right axis type for each chart based on its direction and orientation. For example, use horizontal axes for time-based metrics or vertical axes for value-based metrics.
  • Use appropriate legends: Choose the correct legend type for each chart based on its number of categories or variables. For example, use stacked legends for multiple series in one chart or separate codes for multiple charts in one dashboard.

Perspective Shift 4: Call Attention to Relevant Numbers

One of the main goals of BI reporting is to highlight the most critical numbers that matter for your business performance. 

However, not all numbers are equally important or relevant. You need to call attention to those numbers that significantly impact your KPIs or objectives. 

Here are some tips for calling attention to relevant numbers in your BI reports:

  • Use bold text: Use bold text to emphasize critical numbers that stand out from the rest.
  • Use colors: Use colors to differentiate significant numbers from less important ones.
  • Use icons: Use icons or symbols to represent essential numbers visually.
  • Use annotations: Use annotations or notes to explain what each number means or implies.

Perspective Shift 5: Restrict Dashboard Access to Authorized Parties

One of the challenges of BI reporting is ensuring that only authorized parties can access and view your data insights. If unauthorized parties have access to your BI reports, they might misuse them for malicious purposes such as stealing information, sabotaging operations, or violating regulations. 

To prevent this from happening, you need to restrict dashboard access based on user roles or permissions. Here are some tips for limiting dashboard access in your BI reports:

  • Use authentication methods: Use authentication methods such as passwords, tokens, certificates, or biometrics to verify user identity before granting access.
  • Use authorization methods: Use authorization methods such as roles, permissions, or policies to define what actions users can perform on the dashboard or the data, such as viewing, editing, or deleting.

Perspective Shift 6: Monitor and Update Your BI Reports Regularly

One of the benefits of BI reporting is that it can help you track and measure your business performance over time. 

However, to make the most of your BI reports, you must monitor and update them regularly to reflect the latest data and changes in your business environment. 

Here are some tips for monitoring and updating your BI reports regularly:

  • Use data refresh: Use data refresh to ensure that your BI reports are always up to date with the most recent data from your source systems or databases.
  • Use data quality: Use data quality to ensure that your BI reports are accurate, complete, consistent, and reliable.
  • Use data analysis: Use data analysis to identify trends, patterns, anomalies, or opportunities in your data that might require further investigation or action.
  • Use feedback: Use feedback to evaluate the effectiveness and usefulness of your BI reports for your users and stakeholders.

Next Steps

BI reporting is a powerful tool that can help you gain insights from your data and improve your business decisions and performance. 

However, creating effective and efficient BI reports can be challenging, especially for non-technical users who need to access and understand the data quickly and easily. 

If you want to learn more about how MSH can help you achieve your business goals with our BI solutions, please contact us today.

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