September 20, 2017, by Erik Larson

Automating Your Data Reporting

Organizations publish economic and demographic data for a variety of reasons. Some reports fulfill mandatory requirements, while other reports are value-add for stakeholders. In almost every case, staff responsible for reporting are stretched thin, spending lots of time on the tedious parts of the overall process.

Every day we learn about different data reporting processes organizations perform, most of which can be characterized in the following way:

Research Person collects data from public sources (BLS, Census et al)

Research Person compiles raw data into usable format (using Excel)

Communication / Graphics Person creates infographic or other page layout

Website Person publishes the infographic and/or Excel file online

Though this process gets the job done, here is some of the feedback we frequently hear:
  1. Takes too long. Manual data collection, data formatting/cleaning, graphic design, posting to web. That's a lot of steps, and this eats into other demands for staff time.
  2. Data isn't timely. Because the process takes longer than desired, the frequency of updating the reports doesn't happen as often as leadership would like.
  3. Would love more interactivity. The end product of the process above is usually static infographics or PDF files posted to the website. Interactive reports would be a value add for visitors to the site, and a better reflection on your organization.

The Advantages of Automating Your Data Reporting

1. Set it and forget it
Wouldn't that be great? An automated solution that updates the data each quarter and allows you to re-focus your resources towards strategic work. Sounds fanciful, but automated data reporting is being employed by a growing number of organizations.
2. Faster ad-hoc reporting
The next time a request for information comes in, you'll have tools at your fingertips that can pull data together quickly and present it in a professional way.
3. Industry cluster reports
What are the key industries in your region that you want to feature? An interactive dashboard showcasing industry segments you want to attract is an incredibly valuable marketing asset.
Here is a great example of an industry cluster dashboard on eImpact:

The eImpact Difference
eImpact turns traditional reporting on its head. We make reports engaging, interactive and easy to update with our web-based technology.
Interested in learning more? A quick call is a great way to start.
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