Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Does Your Business Need a Reporting Software or Document Generation Software?

If you own a business or a company website, it is important to know how to collect relevant business data and generate a report that will be helpful in determining what the business needs to improve its operations or profitability. I also don't know technically  how to go about this but they say that a reporting software and a document generation software can help. What is a reporting software or a document generation software?

Reporting Software

A good business reporting software system provides tools that helps design, generate, and distribute reports easily. Reporting software helps a company put its data into good use. But what helps you make the most of your business reporting software?

When your data is in a SQL database such as IBM's DB2, My Sql, Oracle, or Microsoft's Sql Server, then  a system is necessary that can generate killer SQL Reports. Learn from the linked page how paying attention to six key features can transform your report from blah to wow!

When your data is in XML format, be it a file, XML extracted from a database, a REST datasource, or other, then a system that can generate XML Reports is needed.  How can you make people become interested in your data as much as you do? How can they better understand your report? The key is in data representation.

For the output, many times you may need to create Excel Reports from your data. Excel is much better than banded reports. There will be instances when banded reports are appropriate, but there is a very limited sub-set where they are used.

HTML Reports are another helpful output format because the data can be easily accessed in any browser. This is very beneficial for OEM Reporting systems because upgrading your software's reporting component  helps attract more customers and keep them.

Document Generation Software

Document Generation Software is the most thorough and efficient means of automating documents. It is sometimes called dynamic document composition, docgen, or document process automation. Advanced Document Generation software can provide its users with a flexible, intelligent format.

For more information on this topic, refer to Wikipedia - List of Reporting Software, Wikipedia - Document Generation, and DMOZ - List of Java Reporting Software.

Below is a simple flow diagram showing how data is collected and processed to generate a document or report in an Excel or HTML format.

Diagram illustrating the elements of a basic template processing system. Image from Wikipedia.

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