Heptangles - How Can You Report Your Data?

Dear Adam

This month in Heptangles we bring you the third and final part of the Data Cycle – Data Reporting. You’ve been through Data Mining to collect large amounts of data in your business that you can assess. You’ve then used Data Interfacing to find ways of joining up your data and making sense of it.

When you understand how to report your data, you can share vital information between all the people in the business who need to know what’s going on. We hope you find this issue of Heptangles useful.

Best wishes,

The Solution 7 Team

The Data Cycle: Part Three – Reporting Your Data

How do you turn your data into decisions? The volume of data in your business can be overwhelming, but this data alone doesn’t give you a competitive edge. It’s only when you can put your data to good use that you can identify insights into your customers, your markets and your own business performance.

To be able to make the best decisions, you need easy access to information about how much stock you have, how many orders you’re expecting and what price your customers will pay and when.

How can you use data reporting within your business?

Operations – how much do your different customers order and when? Do you have enough stock to cover the demand? Which are your more successful or more profitable lines? Your operations department needs access to this information in a clear, easy to understand format, that makes it simple to order stock, or check the availability of the right members of staff.

IT – all the data created by Operations will be looked after by the IT department. IT is also usually responsible for creating reports much of the rest of the business use for making decisions. Can your IT department create the right sort of reports for the different parts of your business?

Finance – once your data has been created by Operations and processed by IT, it’s often down to the Finance department to make decisions about the future of the business, or to discuss options with the other departments. Financial reports can seem complicated to the untrained eye. A profit and loss statement can help operations decide which customers are more important, but only if they can make sense of such a report. Does your reporting system allow an explanation of all the options, or just produce pages of numbers?

Finding the best way to report your data throughout your business is not necessarily a case of buying expensive software and sending your staff on training courses. Start by looking at the tools that are already known to your employees they will be able to use without further training. Look for tools that can be integrated with your existing systems rather than investing in brand new ones that stand alone.

Whatever reporting system you decide to use, probably the most important consideration is that it needs to be adaptable to suit all the different departments within your business, so that everyone has access to the data on which they base their decisions.

If you need help with creating the right type of reports for the different parts of your business, talk to Solution 7 about how we can help. Call us on 01865 784 650 or email lorraine.lockhart@solution7.co.uk

The 7 Useful Tips on Writing a Report

Whether you’re writing a technical report or producing a document from which business decisions will be made, here are a few tips to help you.

Decide what you want to say, then say it. When you write a report, think just about reporting, not about investigation or data interpretation.

Check what standards you need to conform to, depending on who needs to read and understand your report.

You don't have to write the report in the same order you expect it to be read. The introduction can be the hardest thing to write, as it summarises all the work and your conclusions, so you can leave it until last.

A shorter report is a better report. If you can say the same in 2000 words as in 5000, then it's better to write 2000 words. Most people write too much at first, so write what you need to, then reduce it by at least 20%.

You might find it hard to be critical of your own work. Regard everything you write as a draft, until it has been read by at least one other person.

Make all important style and authorship decisions before you start. Decide in advance, for example, the degree of balance between formality and informality you will use in writing. Once you’ve made these decisions, stick to them and it’ll make your report easier to read.

Don’t edit your document at all until you have written the whole thing. It's easy to get bogged down with the details of individual sentences and later find you need to remove whole sections. If this happens, you will find that writing a report takes much longer than it should.

For more tips on report writing click here.

 Solution 7 News

The National Packaging Waste Database has finally gone live – after nearly two years of planning, software development and implementation.

At Solution 7 we’re actively supporting 1800 users across the UK, which is keeping us quite busy!

Click here to visit the website and find out more about the project that will help ensure that recycling is done properly and that targets for packaging waste recycling are met.

 Next Month …

… we’ll bring you something completely different in Heptangles. You’ve been hearing about WEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) regulations for some time. What do you need to do? We’ll give you the practical advice you need.

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