The Difference Between Analytics and Reporting

Businesses armed with data insights can leverage analytics and reporting processes to meet a wide variety of business goals, from increasing profits and optimizing operations, to improving customer satisfaction, and beyond. Businesses who implement analytics typically experience an average 8% increase in profits over those that don’t, though it is important to remember the difference between analytics and reporting: Analytics goes beyond simply reporting what has happened, while reporting provides the information in a digestible form.

Reporting requires specific tasks that include recognizing an event in business, collecting relevant data and summarizing existing data before sharing results with end-users. Conversely, analytics encompasses questioning and interpreting existing data to create conclusions or make suggestions for action plans.

Reports tend to be read by employees, managers and executives; however analytics can be accessed by anyone with access to the data used as its basis; this includes call center agents as well as data scientists.

Based on your data source, analytics may be used for predictive, prescriptive and descriptive purposes. Predictive analytics provides answers about what will occur in the future while prescriptive analytics suggests ways to optimize certain metrics. Descriptive analytics describes what’s currently occurring while ad hoc responses often arise due to complex business queries.

Reporting and analytics both offer businesses great insight, but those involved in their creation must understand the differences. A business analyst skilled in building reports or dashboards, for instance, may not be able to make informed decisions without further probing it with an advanced analytics tool.

Though nimble analysis tools allow businesses to quickly and efficiently examine data points in order to locate the ideal solutions, it’s also essential that they remember that even the most comprehensive analysis is just an approximation of reality. Therefore, all departments must continue monitoring KPIs and metrics closely in order to detect any changes, which allows them to rerun analyses in order to see whether changes made have had the desired effects.

Gaining an in-depth knowledge of the difference between reporting and analytics can help businesses leverage these powerful tools in order to enhance their bottom line. While reporting focuses on what’s already occurring, analytics considers what could happen and ways in which to change things for the better. A solid grasp on these differences will make your business more competitive, helping it expand with confidence as it moves forward with growth and expansion. Keep up the hard work from both your reporting and analytics teams! The results will speak for themselves!

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