Is it finally time to give up your printed reports?

A reoccurring point of discussion as I visit our customers is the role of traditional printed reports in business intelligence. Like most BI vendors, we have always delivered a traditional report designer as one option for visualizing the intelligence DataPA OpenAnalytics generates. However, for a good number of years we’ve concentrated our development efforts on dashboards, and ways of delivering them to an increasing array of devices. Our reasons are simple. We believe that pretty much any business function can be better supported with a live, interactive visual display of information rather than a static printed document.

So I’m always surprised at how many of our customers, even new customers, still rely heavily on our traditional report designer for their business functions. In the last few months, as I’ve visited and spoken with our customers, I’ve begun to ask why.

What’s clear is in almost all cases the decision to choose a report is based more on habit than any clear, reasoned argument. For example, a common response is the need to take a report to a meeting for discussion. But surely, the same information on a tablet, where it was possible to explore the data behind figures with colleagues would be more useful?

Today, with the proliferation of mobile devices and internet connectivity, there are very few situations where static printed documents are a better solution than visual, interactive dashboards delivered to our desktop or mobile devices. As a rule, I would suggest if there is a legal reason to share or print a document, a report is appropriate, otherwise why not consider a dashboard that can deliver live intelligence pretty much anywhere.

For our part, whilst we’ll continue to support our customers who choose reports, we’ll focus our efforts on developing dashboards that deliver live, interactive intelligence wherever and whenever it’s required.

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