How enterprise apps are revolutionising reporting
Let’s face it: no one likes reading reports. They are generally long, chunky, and full of boring statistics and data.
However, the future of business reporting is looking bright; we are beginning to see new trends towards more visually engaging, accessible and, dare we say it, even fun business reports.
But how? The answer is obvious: reporting apps.
The importance of reports has always been paramount; they enable you to promote your achievements internally and to your clients, to demonstrate your value to the business and to track your performance.
However, getting people to actually read your reports is often a challenge. Do you want to ensure that your CEO or clients not only read them, but are even excited to do so?
If so, all you have to do is ensure that your reports are visually engaging and easy to access. Apps can help you do this and more, offering your additional features and strengthening your reputation.
Read on and find out exactly how reporting apps can do this, as well as examples of existing companies using reporting apps.
The benefits of reporting apps
Two of the preferred reporting methods among many businesses are print or Powerpoint/Excel formats, often exported into PDF. PDF does offer an advantage over print reports, enabling better mobility. However, both formats leave a lot to be desired in terms of engagement and accessibility.
That is where apps come in. Reporting apps are bringing many improvements to the reporting field compared to print and PDF reports. Some of these improvements are as follows.
1. Higher engagement
Print reports are static, meant as read-only solutions. PDF reports can be accessed online, but they are not interactive, and force users to adapt themselves to the format (rather than the other way around). Both print and PDF reports require readers to go through lots of information and sections that aren’t relevant to them before they arrive at those that are.
Reporting apps, on the other hand, allow readers to truly engage with the content by offering a much more interactive experience. For instance, users can interact with the data by zooming in, filtering data, swiping and other interactions.
Users can also take advantage of extra features, such as videos and slideshows, and also to instantly access the sections that are relevant to them.
Apps are also able to give a general overview of a company’s year in a few snapshots, allowing readers to click on the sections that interest them in order to find further information.
On the other hand, apps can also enable users to see several pieces of information at once on a single screen. For instance, for marketing campaigns, relevant designs and videos can be kept alongside the marketing campaign data, enabling senior management to see all relevant data all at once.
2. Better accessibility
Both print and PDF reports can be accessed offline. However, print reports are generally quite chunky, and therefore heavy and uncomfortable to carry around.
PDF reports can be accessed on mobile devices, but they can present inconsistencies across browsers and devices. Users will often need to zoom in and out of PDF reports in order to view different sections more clearly, and navigation across sections is just as difficult as with print reports.
Reporting apps, on the other hand, can be accessed anywhere on a smartphones or a tablet. Their distribution is easier, as they can be made available on app stores, allowing readers to access reports directly.
There are also far fewer consistency issues with reporting apps, as it is easy to optimize display and functionality for a variety of platforms and devices. Equally, navigation across sections is much easier, as relevant information can be accessed quickly.
An added benefit of apps is that they allow your CEO, senior management or clients to always have instant access to up-to-date and accurate reports on the app, rather than as PDFs that only capture a snapshot in time.
PDF files are also typically sent via email, making it difficult to find them on mobile devices, as email search isn’t always reliable or quick. In contrast, an app puts all data in a single place, making it easy for the recipient of the report to access it.
3. Time saved
Reporting apps cut production time, often dramatically, compared to existing formats. For instance, it is often easier to create charts or upload data on apps than on alternative solutions. This point is further explored in the Mobile House case study in this article.
“Our clients love the convenience of getting their reports directly to their mobile devices as well as the fact we can auto-update apps instantly with additional information or to make edits.”
— Richard Downey, Director of Mobile at The Mobile House
4. Additional features
Apps also bring a variety of additional features that aren’t available in print or PDF format apps. Some of these are the following:
- Instantly reach a world-wide audience
- Include infographics and charts to present campaign data in a more visual way
- Include interactive timelines to display activity and results at the tap of a finger
- Embedded documents to allow readers to easily access more detailed information”
- Enable in-built usage tracking to receive data on user behavior
- Enable note-taking to allow individual to jot their ideas down on the go
5. Stronger reputations
Lastly, companies that use apps for reporting are instantly recognized as technologically savvy, which helps position them as leaders. Apps also help companies to stand out when used with clients, as they offer them a better reporting experience that they can access anywhere.
Print and PDF reports are things of the past; companies can now take advantage of the benefits of mobile to stay ahead of the competition.
Types of reporting apps
- Annual Report. Make corporate information available to stakeholders in an interactive Annual Report app.
- Business Report. Communicate corporate updates and information using a business report app.
- Project Status Report. Ensure all project stakeholders always have the latest updates by creating a project status report app.
- Financial Report. Keep the Board apprised of the latest developments using a financial report app.
- Risk Assessment. Enable employees to assess and manage risks on the go using a risk assessment app.
- Marketing Report. Use an app to track, optimize and communicate marketing campaign performance.
A look at some reporting app case studies
Sky, the UK pay-TV broadcaster, carries out hundreds of external communication campaigns a year to inform their subscribers about new products and updates. They wanted to be able to showcase the results of their campaigns to the rest of the business in an effective way.
They decided to create an app that could display their accomplishments in a visual and engaging way. This included infographics presenting campaign data, an interactive timeline displaying activity and results, and individual campaign showcase screens with details about each campaign. The app also incorporated multimedia data such as videos.
The app has been very successful, so much so that they have decided to create apps for other parts of the business.
Read more about this case study here.
The Mobile House
The Mobile House is an agency advising clients on mobile technology. They wanted to create an app to communicate monthly campaign results to their clients, using mobile technology to demonstrate their innovation and point of differentiation from other agencies.
They created an app that allows their clients to access reports on their own mobile devices wherever they are, and in an accessible and convenient format.
Thanks to the app, The Mobile House have been able to cut their report production time by 50% compared to PowerPoint. They have received extremely positive feedback from their clients, and feel they are now able to provide an innovative solution more befitting a mobile company.
Read more about this case study here.
Reporting apps are helping companies produce reports that are visually engaging, accessible and which users actually enjoy reading. They are also getting companies to demonstrate their awareness of technology, and to offer extra features that weren’t available with print and PDF reports.
Ultimately, apps are ensuring that reports successfully do what they are supposed to do: effectively communicating key data to your target audience. Offering an engaging and accessible app makes it far more likely that a report will be read, and so that you are able to promote your achievements.
Whether annual reports to inform employees of the performance of the company, or reports updating clients on the status of a project, companies are finding ample opportunity to adopt reporting apps.