What Is Business Intelligence Reporting?

If you own or run a business, leveraging data is essential to your growth. However, processing and drawing from large amounts of information can be overwhelming to even the most seasoned analyst. Business Intelligence (BI) reporting is driven by technology and helps executives and managers analyze data, presenting information that is actionable and can contribute to informed business decisions.

BI mixes a wide variety of applications, tools, and methodologies that assist organizations with collecting data (via both external sources and internal systems), preparing it to be analyzed, creating and running queries against the data, and building reports, data visualizations, and dashboards, all while making results accessible to operational workers and those making corporate decisions.

Benefits of Business Intelligence

Why would you want to spend money on BI? Business Intelligence programs provide the following documented results:

  • Accelerated and improved decision-making
  • Optimized business processes
  • Rising revenues
  • Increased operational efficiency
  • Competitive advantages over other businesses
  • Increased awareness of market trends and business problems

BI often includes historical information and new data collected from source systems, providing both strategic and tactical decision-making support. When BI first came into being, data analysts and IT professionals were essentially the only ones using it. Now, business executives and employees also leverage BI software, including self-service and data discovery tools, helping them make informed decisions that benefit their organizations.

What Types of Programs Make Up BI?

Most BI reporting systems include various types of advanced analytics, such as:

  • Data mining
  • Text mining
  • Exploratory analysis
  • Predictive analysis
  • Statistical analysis
  • Big data analytics

BI teams most often utilize specific tools to oversee queries and business data analysis, while advanced analytic projects are most often left to larger teams of data scientists and statisticians.

Some of the most popular tools on the market are Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, and Qlik, with Microsoft Power BI being rated as having the top ability to execute reports and a complete overall vision by Gartner in February of 2020, labeling Microsoft Power BI as the “Magic Quadrant Leader among analytics and business intelligence platforms.”

Source: Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence

Project Business Intelligence Reporting

ProjectProject Server, and SharePoint (in support of Project, Program, and Portfolio Management), all share a driving factor in doing work that consists of good reports and reporting from Project data. Microsoft Project data is not a well-covered topic in the plethora of online resources available, and unless you’re experienced in the underlying data scheme of Microsoft Project Online or Project Server, it can be confusing.

Using BI reports to view project data is a clean and effective way to review individual project status as well as the status of the entire program portfolio. Project programs, like Microsoft Project, tend to have the ability to produce schedule-related reports within their own application. With Business Intelligence tools, however, this capability is increased exponentially.

For example, here are some of the basics for a simple project status report.

Project Metadata – High-Level Visuals

Firstly, you’ll need all your project metadata. Project Online or Project Server store this in their Projects table of the data schema natively, however, this may be data stored in a SharePoint list or even an Excel spreadsheet.

Organizing this metadata on your report page is important to inform and ensure the reader knows what they’re looking at. This can take the form of a simple table, a smart narrative visualization, or even a basic data card. It’s generally a good idea to place this information near the top of the report page. Try to keep this section in the top quarter section of the page.

Example is taken from Advisicon’s Power BI Report Pack for Microsoft Project

Trends and Graphs – Answering your Business Questions

Secondly, aim to have the meat and bones of your report front and center. This will contain your trends and graphs that answer any business questions your company may have as you evaluate your project. For example, analyzing the actual cost of the project against the forecasted baseline over the time of the project.

Example is taken from Advisicon’s Power BI Report Pack for Microsoft Project

Granular Information – Milestones & Individual Project Performance

The remainder of your page should contain granular information that is beneficial to the report viewers. This information may consist of the completed milestones, current project % complete, upcoming milestones, or project performance. Remember, these are just examples. It’s important to be informative in your report, yet not overwhelming. Beware of putting too much information on the page that will result in a cluttered that overwhelms the report viewer.

Example is taken from Advisicon’s Power BI Report Pack for Microsoft Project

That’s a brief, easy way to set up a new project status report with a layout that will be intuitive and professional for your viewers to consume and easily analyze the status of your projects.

Overall, BI tools have increased the capability to expand on statistical analysis of your projects or any data you may have.

Get Help With Your BI Strategy

In short, if you’re looking to increase profits and turn your business into a well-oiled machine, Business Intelligence reporting tools can help take you to the next level. At Advisicon, we offer business intelligence tools that empower you to grow your business. From reporting software to analysis tools, our products contain everything you need to assess your business’s potential and make decisions that increase your ROI.

New to BI? No worries! Our unique trainings offer in-person instruction on the use of each of our many software offerings, so you can learn, step-by-step, how to utilize each tool for your optimal benefit.

Our business is here to serve your business. We bet you have questions, and we’re here to answer them. Contact us today to sign up for training or simply discuss our many options with one of our specialists.