In the business world, we all love having insightful reporting dashboards on hand. When done well, they show us where business is thriving, what areas are struggling, and if we are on track to meet our goals.
However, creating report dashboards can be incredibly time consuming. It takes time and effort to put together current, accurate, and meaningful data, not to mention the learning curve it takes to understand what data is being collected and how to do it.
Because of this, coverage is one of the automate the most effective areas of your business.
In addition, it doesn’t have to be complicated to implement automated reporting workflows.
How to automate your company’s reporting workflow for dashboards that are continuously updated without lifting a finger beyond the setup.
The good, the bad, and the ugly of reporting workflows
So you know that you want good data reporting in your company. But what exactly does that look like?
Take a look at the following characteristics and determine how your company’s data workflows are currently performing.
You can identify the most effective reporting workflows by looking at the following criteria:
- Clear tracking of the most important KPIs, without clutter and vanity metrics
- An automated dashboard that your team can view on any device
- Frequently updated data that does not require manual, time-consuming and error-prone imports and exports
Reporting workflows that need to be optimized and automated look like this:
- Reports that depend on you (or someone else) to trigger updates
- A lack of assurance that the data in your annual reports is correct
- Silo reports that only certain people can easily access
The ugly one
And here’s what to do Yes, really If you want to save time, improve data accuracy, and resolve inefficiencies, avoid:
- Manually import and export data between apps, or copy and paste data between worksheets and presentation slides
- Outdated or overly complex dashboards that offer no real added value or contain no clear data
- Know that the data on your dashboards is inaccurate
Our pick of the best automated reporting options
How can you achieve more of the good and less of the ugly in your reporting? Here are some of the best ways to automate your reporting and create insightful dashboards with the most relevant and up-to-date KPIs, sorted from simple to highly customizable:
- Integrated reporting for your CRM and important apps
- Google Analytics
- Google Sheets
- Google Data Studio
- Super metric
1. Integrated reporting for your CRM and your most important business applications
Many comprehensive CRM options on the market have great reporting capabilities. Some also have native integrations to pull data from other major apps.
HubSpot connects, for example, with Google Analytics to enrich the data that you already have in CRM. This makes it easy to view website engagement analytics alongside lead and customer data.
As a simple solution for automated reporting, check the scope of your CRM to create up-to-date dashboards that share your company’s most important data.
Top: To get the most accurate and comprehensive data insights into your CRM, synchronize it with your other business applications collecting data in two ways.
2. Google Analytics – for an up-to-date view of your website data
If you want to automate reports on website engagement and conversion goals, Google Analytics offers a simple but robust framework.
First, optimize the data you collect. Make sure the tracking code has been properly added to your website and set up events to keep track of conversions that are important to your business, such as: B. e-commerce transactions or a visitor landing on your login confirmation page.
You can then add these important metrics to your dashboard as custom widgets and choose how they are visualized. With custom dashboards, you can customize your reporting for the best overview, taking into account the most important KPIs for your team.
It’s also worth creating a simple process to share or export your dashboard, such as a link that anyone on your team can use without logging into Google Analytics. Or, you can take your automation even further by automating Slack notifications that share the GA dashboard every week.
3. Google Sheets – for easy spreadsheets with Google Analytics
Google Sheets is a very simple but effective solution for automating your data reporting.
The main area for automated reporting with Google Sheets is to activate the Google Analytics add-on and read in data automatically.
Here is an example of a report that can be easily done in Google Sheets using Google Analytics data:
You can enable the automatic update of your reports (and avoid having to click the “Refresh” button to insert the new data from Google Analytics) by clicking Add-ons > Google Analytics > Schedule reports from the menu bar.
Another great option for automated reporting in Google Sheets is the Supermetrics integration with Google Sheets, which also allows you to connect data from your non-Google business applications.
Top: If you use Slides to present business meetings and reports, you can automatically sync charts and data views in Google Sheets with slides (and documents) to avoid manual copying and pasting before each meeting.
4. Google Data Studio – for highly customizable visualizations with data from multiple apps
With Google Data Studio you can connect, visualize and share your business data on one platform. It’s pretty easy to set up, but there’s a lot of scope for customization and complexity if that’s what you’re looking for. With the tool you can:
associate Data from the apps you use every day through built-in and partner connectors. The more than 500 data sets include integrated connections with Google products such as Google Analytics, Sheets and Ads as well as partner connections with apps such as Copper, Mailchimp or Facebook Ads.
Visualize Your data in a compelling way with interactive reports, charts and dashboards.
share Your reports and dashboards and collaborate with individuals, teams or the world with public visibility. You can also embed your Data Studio reports on any web page.
To get started with Google Data Studio, first choose which data sources you want to connect:
Next, decide how you want to visualize and share your reports.
5. Supermetrics – for a scalable solution that advances Google Sheets, Excel or Google Data Studio
Supermetrics is a scalable solution that brings all of your marketing metrics together in one place, including PPC, SEO, social and web analytics.
You can use Supermetrics along with these tools to bring all of your marketing data insights straight to any platform:
- Google Data Studio
- Google Sheets
Here is an example of a report using Supermetrics data in Google Sheets:
Automated reporting best practices
Regardless of the tools and processes you choose to automate your business reporting workflows, there are a few best practices that you should follow to get the best results.
When building your report automation, focus on these three goals:
Simplicity: The most effective reporting workflows and dashboards are often the simplest. Which data is most valuable for your company? Focus on a few KPIs and make sure the data is automatically updated, accurate, and accessible.
Accessibility: Avoid keeping your reporting in silos. Make sure your team members have easy access to the data they need to track performance and do their best job, such as: For example, with a public dashboard pinned to a Slack channel.
Data accuracy: Even the best automated reporting workflow fails when the data in your source apps is inaccurate. Take the time to clean up your databases and use iPaaS to instantly sync data between your apps using conditional rules.