January 23, 2013

What's an Excellent Professional Reporting Software - Part I

The report is a tool to use the table and statistical chart to present the data. It is the basic need to develop business, the basic means to manage the enterprise, and the basic advantage to enhance the competitiveness. The reporting software is one of the commonest tools for business personnel. What's such professional reporting software that is ideal for those business personnel lacking the technical experience to develop the static reports by themselves.

For example: Bill is the sales director of a pharmaceutical products company. He is in urgent need to prepare a sales report for specific products, so as to impress the clients in an important bidding event. This report needs to show the monthly sales of 3 kinds of products, growth compared with the previous month, and the comparison with the same period of previous year. However, he did not find the existing report at hand, but the short lead time did not allow for requesting assistance from the IT personnel. Therefore, this report must be handled by yourself and the sales force. Similar situations also include:

A retail business is newly equipped with a supply chain management system. Besides the report shipped with system, some temporary reports may be required additionally according to the volatile market change. The cost would be obviously quite high if specially building a technical team to handle it. This job should be left to the business personnel.

A bank improves the business workflow, so they need to prepare the corresponding report. For the data safety purpose, the business department needs to prepare the report all by itself.

A medical products company needs to prepare a report about Clinical Practice. Preparing the report involves many concepts that may easily confuse the average technical personnel. In this case, having the business personnel to prepare the report can reduce errors.

As a professional reporting tool, first it should support for rapid report building:

Take esCalc for example. It has a report design interface of grid style, easy to learn and understand, and capable of building reports rapidly.

The whole interface is shown below:

In which, the data zone is similar to the Excel spreadsheet whose grid employ a letter as the header and a number to indicate the column number. In the cell, you can reference other cells for calculation with the cell name, as shown in the below figure:

The tool bar is available to set the style elements for massive cells, such as font, size, alignment, ruling, merge & split, and the format painter to copy and paste the style, as shown in the below figure:

On the right, there is a cell property panel for users to set the cell properties. For example, input the formula once to implement the color changing in every other row, as shown in the below figure:

Right click on the cell to show the prompt menu, and perform the group, query, locating, and sorting operation, as shown in the below figure:

The grid-style design interface is simple and easy-to-use, saving the efforts of cumbersome data alignment procedure; Referencing the data with the cell name can avoid the complicated variable definition; With the multi-level grid, the data hierarchy and summarization can be implemented more easily. In the grid, reporting becomes more intuitively. In this way, the result can be presented undistortedly and consistently in the procedure of design, preview, print, and export.
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