Business Intelligence is a buzz term that is used and abused when talking about business software solutions. There are literally thousands of BI solutions in the market today, some carry a hefty price tag. Enter Zoho Reports, a cloud BI solution that has flown under the radar for sometime. Zoho Reports is well worth a look if you are searching for an online reporting tool that is robust enough to produce modern analytics and dashboards, can connect to many major cloud data sources, and carries a very modest subscription fee.
Connections To My Data
I imported my Zoho CRM data into Zoho Reports, which I found to be a very streamlined process. Zoho Reports allows a wide range of data sources to be imported and synchronized, from business applications, like Xero, Salesforce and other Zoho applications and spreadsheets. Zoho Reports allows me to connect my many data sources and blend data into one reporting system.
Display My Data
My imported data is stored in meta data tables and Zoho Reports allows me to build my reports off these tables. I played with the variety of charts which are available, bar charts through to Web and table chart types. One of the features I really appreciated was the drill down feature. The drill down feature allows me to explore my reporting from the top view, for example total sales by financial year, drilling down to sales by month and than down to sales for the week or day. All of this is done with in the same view, which means I was not jumping from view to view!
Filter My Data
Another feature I liked about Zoho Reports is its dynamic filtering capabilities. I can apply filters to the tables and reports, some of the filter options I used are specific numeric ranges, date ranges, individual values, top 10 and bottom 10 . I am not restricted to one filter, I can apply multiple filters based on multiple columns.
Zoho Reports also has a filter function called “User Filters”, filters are added to the report for users to interact with the report. On my reports I added a filter for date range and users, this meant the report select through the filters the information they would like to see.
One familiar thing about Zoho Reports is it resembles the humble Excel spreadsheet, therefore if you are familiar with Excel, you will appreciate its ease of use. I could also add formulas to the data tables and rename columns to assist with my analyzing and reporting requirements.
My Data On Dashboards
After I had create a few reports, I thought it would be an excellent idea to show the many reports on a Dashboard. It was as simple as drag and dropping each of the reports on the base designer and I could adjust the layout to meet my requirements. I was able to add formatted text, add URLs and images to my dashboard. The Dashboard also has the option to expand/contract and I was also able to resize reports, which can all be done by me hovering my mouse over the reports.
Share My Data
I thought sharing my reports with other staff members and system users was going to be where Zoho Reporting might let me down, but this was not the case. Zoho Reports allowed me to share not only my reports and dashboards with my contacts but also allowed me to set up defined group to share my reports with. I could have also published the information on to our website, intranet or any other web application, and these to can be interactive or static image reports.
Zoho Reports enabled me to join all my data sources into one reporting and business intelligence tool, which in turn allowed me to produce a great picture of the company’s information and the another important note was the cost, Zoho Reports is very affordable.