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Reporting Tools For Big Data Visualization & Interactive Business Reports

Are you considering a business intelligence (BI) tool implementation? There are tons of options to choose from, but Microsoft Power BI remains the best among reporting tools.

If you do not know which BI tool will help you achieve your goals, keep reading!

What are Data Reporting Tools and Their Benefits?

In 2018, the highest business intelligence solutions adopters were small businesses with approximately 100 employees.

With BI tools, a business can gather data across sources, including social media impressions, web traffic, time spent, conversion, sales, inventory, and more. These tools also provide big-picture questions and perform data collection necessary for making the best decisions.

Reporting tool benefits

What are Different Types of Data Reporting Tools 

According to Softwareadvice, “80% of all enterprise reporting will be based on modern BI and analytics platforms; the remaining 20% will still be on IT-centric reporting-based platforms because the risk to change outweighs the value by 2020.”

They come in many types, including ad-hoc reports, scorecard tools, data visualization, and dashboard software.

The Four types of reporting tools are following:

  • Ad-hoc Reports – create different reporting styles. 
  • Scorecard Tools – focus on performance data to know who high achievers are
  • Thirdly, Data Visualization – turns data into a visually oriented one for easy reading. 
  • Dashboard Software – puts reports that matter most in front-and-center

What are the best features of Data Reporting tools? 

Reporting tools are a holistic initiative for using data in daily operations. Below are the best features of these tools that can impact real-world success:

Interactive Dashboards 

With interactive dashboards, users can tell stories with data even without learning code. Thanks to a single snapshot dashboard, Lenovo had an increased reporting efficiency by 95% across different departments.

Data Sources Variety 

These tools are primarily designed to pull data from a variety of sources with ease. They also pull data from various source types, like accounting software, spreadsheets, apps, and web pages.

Data Visualization 

Users can create reports and dashboards with the use of simple or complex visualization.

Graphic Data Reports 

User-friendly dashboards will show the users graphic data reports of the current stats for upcoming, completed, active work, and so on.

What are the capabilities of Microsoft Power BI as a reporting tool?

Microsoft Power BI is a collection of BI tools such as data connectors, apps, and software services. Many Power BI Consultant confirms that it is loaded with analytics and data visualization rich features, including:

  1. Enterprise-wide Reports 

This feature allows the users to affordably and efficiently scale reporting and even interact with the reports.

  1. Scheduled Reports

Through this feature, business owners can take advantage of automated reports that are generated on scheduled time.

  1. Ad hoc Reports 

Power BI enables users to create ad hoc e-commerce sales reports.

  1. Paginated Reports 

This capability allows the users to print and share paginated reports as they fit well and well-formatted on a page.

  1. Embedded Reports 

With embedded reporting, users can see data that matters to them within the business applications. This capability also puts data visualization in other applications’ context.

What is Enterprise-wide Reporting?

Enterprise-wide reporting refers to the report creation and distribution that concerns business performance to the organization’s key decision-makers. It may include information curated for daily activities or reports on key performance indicators metrics.

With this type of reporting, users can have a comprehensive business view and performance at a high level with graphs, dashboards, metrics, and other user-friendly BI tools. It designs and delivers large report volumes to the business and its customers in different formats.

Creating and Implementing Scheduled Reporting 

BI tools allow scheduled reporting creation and implementation. Users can specify what’s included, how often the report will be sent, and who should get it.

Since scheduled reports are static, they don’t change even with data changes. For instance, a PDF attachment can be sent to email recipients based on a specific time, and the content is a data snapshot from the data source and dashboard.

What are Ad hoc Reporting and Its Use Cases? 

Ad hoc reporting refers to real-time and dynamic reports on an as-needed basis. It is designed to answer particular business questions. If users cannot find solutions in the traditional static reports, they create ad hoc reports using data that set relevance to the problem.

Below are the use cases of ad hoc reporting:

  • Building reports to save time and money 
  • Data democratization to heighten data discovery 
  • Simplified decision-making 

Creating and Sharing Paginated Reports 

Paginated reports are ideal for business scenarios that require a pixel-perfect and highly formatted output for PDF generation or printing. They control the report layout on every web page and load charts and images. They are created using the Power BI service as it maintains backward compatibility.

Users can export paginated reports in different formats, such as MHTML, XML, CSV, PDF, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Excel.

What is Embedded Reporting for Software Application 

Embedded reporting is the BI reporting integration into a software application and is often used for embedded intelligence systems. It collects and presents data for a useful analysis in a chart, dashboard, and other data visualization.

The business development and sales team can place a high value on the CRM’s closed sales reporting with embedded reporting. They can stay in preferred applications while getting essential information very quickly.

Microsoft Power BI as Excel Reporting Tool

Users who like the idea of Excel spreadsheets can take advantage of Microsoft Power BI through data extraction to create reports. It offers various data forms from many sources and brings them together in one place to visualize.

Most Effective Data Reporting Tools in 2021 

  1. Microsoft Power BI

Consolidates data from various sources into one data set used for data visualization, analysis, and evaluation.

  1. Reportei

Best for social media reports and analytics generation.

Why  Microsoft Power BI is better: limited data customization and quick search functionality

  1. Tableau

Ideal for software reporting for embedded analytics with advanced statistics, calculations, and analytics

Why Microsoft Power BI is better: online requirements requires customer support

  1. Hive

It offers interactive dashboards and perfect for project management and task coordination.

Why Microsoft Power BI is better: few connections options with third-party applications

  1. Sisense

API-first cloud technology that features interactive dashboards, white-labeled BI apps, and self-service analytics.

Why Microsoft Power BI is better: requires some data manipulation 

  1. Qlick View

Designed with intuitive, user-friendly visual analytics and ideal for information storytelling and data exploration.

Why Microsoft Power BI is better: limited room for columns during worksheet assembly

  1. Zoho Analytics

Zoho Analytics features intelligent assistants, embedded BI, and pre-built dashboards and reports.

Why Microsoft Power BI is better: lacks end-user training resources

  1. BOARD

AI platform built for sophisticated business analytics solutions and various data integration.

Why Microsoft Power BI is better: It often requires saved database connections.


BI data reporting tools are designed to pull data from different sources. These tools will then visualize it in a way that users find easy-to-use and helpful. They may collect, analyze, and organize data into meaningful reports that can be redistributed or printed.

Errin OConnor

Errin OConnor

With over 25 years of experience in Information Technology and Management Consulting, Errin O’Connor has led hundreds of large-scale enterprise implementations from Business Intelligence, Power BI, Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, IT Security, Azure and Hybrid Cloud efforts for over 165 Fortune 500 companies.

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