While business intelligence has been gaining ground for years — spreadsheets giving way to more sophisticated and powerful analytics tools — all the transformations 2020 inspired also pushed data analytics and reporting strategy solidly into “must-have” territory. The question is no longer whether business intelligence tools can support operations and growth, but which tools are best suited to the organization’s particular needs.

Access to clean, real-time billing data, visualized in a powerful way, is especially critical, as these insights can drive decision making not only in the accounting department but across the organization — from sales and marketing to research and development to human resources. When real-time billing data — collected with each transaction and throughout the quote-to-cash process — is available at a glance, businesses can quickly spot trends in product performance and customer engagement. This enables more accurate forecasting, more informed product decisions, and faster responses to changes in customer preferences and market trends.

So, what should businesses look for in business intelligence tools? In this post, we break down seven trends that are powering the most effective data analytics and reporting — in 2021 and beyond.

6 Reporting Trends Driving Business Growth

1. Real-Time Insights

When decision makers are limited to monthly or quarterly summaries to review critical business data, their ability to respond quickly to changing trends or unexpected events is extremely limited. Real-time reporting, however, provides up-to-date access to the relevant, accurate information that’s needed to make critical decisions at the drop of a hat. When agility is crucial to staying ahead of a rapidly changing market, real-time reporting is an invaluable advantage.

2. End-to-End Visualization

Data is foundational to every corner of a business, from customer engagement to product development to revenue. So it follows that organizations looking for robust reporting capabilities will look for business intelligence tools that play well together, combining usage, billing, and revenue recognition data with other important business data like CRMs, CPQs, ERPs, and provisioning data. If these systems don’t integrate seamlessly, you’ll find yourself spending significant time and effort ensuring data sets are complete and accurate before you can start start teasing out insights. Collaboration is critical across every system that supports business operations — and it’s especially important for business intelligence.

3. BYO Visualization Tool

Because data is generated from many different sources and in many different forms, powerful visualization capabilities are an important component of data reporting. When users can look at data visualizations that convert raw data into clear, actionable insights, then they can use that data to make savvy decisions that support the growth of the business. Your organization may already have a preferred visualization tool, such as Tableau, Microsoft Power BI, or Qlik Sense — and that’s great! Look for a business analytics solution that gives your favorite platform greater access to your billing and revenue management data in order to glean even more insights.

4. Reporting from Anywhere

One of the beauties of SaaS platforms is that they’re available to users anywhere, from any device — a function that became even more important when 2020 turned the traditional workplace upside down. In reporting, too, businesses are looking for platforms they can access anywhere, anytime, on any device — from home offices or headquarters or on-the-go. When far-flung teams have easy access to critical information, they can collaborate far more effectively to make informed decisions as they work toward achieving key business goals.

5. Future Forecasting

A reporting tool that shows users what has happened or is happening is great, but one that uses that data to help forecast what will likely happen is even better. Predictive analytics use existing data to forecast future probabilities — a useful tool for understanding likely customer behaviors, financial growth, and more. And, more importantly, for recognizing when changes are necessary to derive the outcomes you want.

6. Data Security

Finally, data security is not a new concern for businesses or their clients, and regulations including PCI DSS, SOC 1, and SOC 2 have increased the onus on businesses to ensure they’re storing and using data in a way that keeps it safe from breaches and other threats. Look for a reporting tool that’s equipped to remain compliant with your organization’s security standards as well as federal regulations.

Powerful business intelligence strategies are a must-have for growing businesses looking to remain competitive in today’s crowded, ever-evolving landscape. That’s why we developed Gotransverse’s Premier Data Access — to enhance reporting and analytics by giving businesses direct access to their data, integrating seamlessly with preferred visualization tools, and combining with other key data sets that power the business. Learn more about how Premier Data Access can give you a 360° view of your revenue, and when you’re ready, request a demo to find out whether Gotransverse is the right billing platform for your organization.