Take Back Time by Taking Reports Online

Do you find yourself running the same reports each month and sending them out to customers or your internal staff? What else could you accomplish each month if this was taken off your plate?

Perhaps you’re an event coordinator who needs to send weekly registration numbers to clients. Or, maybe you’re a venue sales manager who needs to report revenue numbers to an executive each month. There are thousands of these possible scenarios for any event or venue professional, all centered on the fact that you have access to valuable data that your stakeholders need. Yet, your time is also very valuable, and you are spending it manually preparing and sending reports out via email.

This common inefficiency may be why we are seeing more and more organizations move to online, real-time reporting. With information available on a secure web page, customers and colleagues can log in and access the data whenever they please. And, when the report is pulling data directly from your database, your visitors know they are always seeing the latest numbers with a simple page refresh. That type of customer self-service increases their satisfaction levels while reducing what often accumulates to hours of manual work for you and your staff.

More than likely, your data is proprietary and you will want to ensure it is safeguarded. It is best to have your customers and employees log in before viewing the report to secure the information. And, when your reports are connected to a database that has access privileges set, you can configure the settings so the only information a user sees is appropriate for them.

Sounds good in theory, but will the change be warmly welcomed?

online-reporting-helps-you-take-back-timeWhen making any process change, there is always some concern about user adoption. I’ve worked with many event and venue professionals who would like to move certain reports online but are concerned that customers who are accustomed to receiving the information via email will not take well to the new self-service model.

When this occurs, I encourage customers to guide users through the new process as much as possible. For instance, if there is any concern about users knowing how to locate and view the report results, add a user guide – linked from the login page or a landing page – that details how to navigate and use the new features on the site.

For best results, test your strategy

Another way to assess your new online reporting process adoption strategy is to vet it with a small group before rolling it out completely. I worked with one visitors bureau that successfully increased adoption of their online reporting strategy by giving a small group of bureau members access first and asking for feedback on the new process. Then, when all the kinks were worked out, all members were given access to the online reporting site.

The reports were no longer manually emailed to members once the site was live, saving the visitors bureau hours each month on manual report collection and distribution. If a member requested a copy of the report, the bureau directed them to the new site. To restrict access to sensitive information, members had to log in before they could view the report data. And, to help the members know how to navigate and use the new site, the bureau provided a link on the member login page to a PDF with detailed instructions. The bureau achieved great adoption all because they conducted proactive tests of the new process.

Are you thinking about saving time by taking your reports online? I’d love to hear about your experience – what went right and what could have gone better. Feel free to contact me via email or connect on LinkedIn or Twitter. (Ungerboeck Software International clients: You can read even more about how to publish EZWriter Reports as a web page in the Ungerboeck KnowledgeBase!) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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