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Blog Business

Data Reporting: How to Create a High-Quality Data Report

By Xiaoyun Tu , Feb 24, 2022

Data Reporting How to Create a High-Quality Data Report Blog Banner

To most people, data is incredibly boring. However, it’s also incredibly necessary for the efficient operations of any business. This means that the people who truly understand data, need to find ways of presenting it so that others can understand it, too.

The data in the infographic below could have been presented as a paragraph of text. But as data visualization, it’s more impactful. 

data report

If you want to create a high-quality data report you should be able to support your facts and present them in a way that will entice or entertain your audience. Let’s tackle some techniques on how to create an eye-catching data report that reaches your business goals.

Start the report-making process on a positive note with Venngage’s Report Maker . No design experience required!

Click to jump ahead:

What is a data report, what are the basics of data reports, how to write a high-quality report.

A data report, like the infographic below, is how you present data in a way that is both understandable and actionable. Reports can be presented in a variety of formats that have come a long way from the old-fashioned lists of numbers on a document. 

data report

Modern data reports must be visually engaging to help make the data more accessible to all. They may be presented in forms such as graphs, pie charts, infographics , PowerPoint presentations, and more; whatever best suits the data being presented and who it’s being presented to. 

Return to Table of Contents

Purpose of data reports

There are many reasons why data is crucial for how your business operates. It gives you exact information on various aspects of every area of operations so that you can make strategic changes when needed. 

It can allow you to accurately forecast demand so you can improve customer satisfaction or present alarming statistics that will stir people to action.

Types of data reports

The data you use, and how you present it, can vary greatly. For example, the data you collect from a warehouse management system may look very different from the data you collect from a POS (point of sale) system. There are two main types of data reports:

Static reports typically present data from a single source and provide historical data, such as seeing a drop or increase in eBay sales if you own an online store. This type of report is both easy to create and easy for any reader to understand. 

Interactive reports are more dynamic and will usually present real-time or current data. Think about the kind of dimensions you can track in Google Analytics, for example. The advantage of interactive reports is that because they show current data, they allow you to look more closely at what’s happening now and take action if and when needed. 

Accessibility of data reports

Data reporting needs to be as accessible to your audiences as possible. With the advent of business intelligence (BI) tools, particularly cloud-based ones, you don’t need to be an IT expert to access and create reports. However, it is essential to be aware of potential cloud security issues when utilizing these tools, as sensitive data can be vulnerable to breaches or data loss if the proper security measures are not in place.

You can easily use tools such as Google Data Studio to present information, such as the demographic data infographic below. 

data report

Different team members can collaborate on reports, giving you a better overview of how your business is performing. With Venngage’s real-time collaboration feature, working with team members becomes much easier.

With such flexible modern tools, it’s not only easier to create good data reports but also to disseminate them via different channels, from automated emails to presenting them via a dashboard report or via a specific app. 

Know the audience for your report

Why are you creating a report and who is it for? These are two essential questions of data reporting that will help to decide what data is used and how you present it. 

An annual report may just be an overview of how the business has performed so that relevant stakeholders can see it. Other reports may be created for specific reasons such as presenting financial data .

data report

The ‘who’ is as important as the ‘what’. The report you present to a potential client will probably look very different from a report created for your C-suite requesting the purchase of an on-premise system to improve enterprise planning. 

For an external report, you’re more likely to be creative in the use of fonts and graphics than you would be with an internal one. 

A branded report is always more impactful. Use Venngage’s My Brand Kit to import branding assets from multiple organizations, including logos, fonts, and colors. Then you can apply the brand to any design with just one click.

Have a detailed plan and choose the appropriate metrics

You need to identify what data matters (or matters most). The first step to doing that is to consider what you want to achieve from the data and the related reports. By doing so, you can eliminate the ‘white noise’ of unnecessary data that may end up hiding the numbers that really matter.

data report

Different reports will, of course, call for different data sets. Generally, your data will come from (and give insights into) one area of your company. For example, if creating a report on customer retention, then a major piece of data is going to be your churn rate. Reports may be created for specific reasons. These can include:

Your KPIs will demonstrate how well, or not, your previous planning and strategic decisions are working. They can also influence every major decision regarding your business as you move forward, including scalability, budgeting (in every area), marketing campaigns, and so on. Summary reports can help illustrate your results concisely.

data report

When working with KPI data, there are a few questions you should consider:

Easily add charts to your reports with Venngage. Import data from a Google sheet or CSV file and the editor automatically populates the data into your report.

Visualize data in your reports

Effective data visualization can transform boring numbers into something engaging and interesting. There are many ways to visualize data nowadays, from using the report generation capabilities of business intelligence (BI) dashboards or Google Data Studio to utilizing effective report templates like the one below. 

data report

Some examples of good templates include:

As with other areas of reporting and analytics, it’s important to consider the reason for the report and who will be viewing it. While you may be more creative with a report designed as a pitch for a new customer, you don’t want to go overboard. Use visuals that effectively communicate what the data says in a concise and understandable format. 

You should also consider how people will view the report. While some reports may be presented at a meeting as a slideshow or presentation, other reports may be sent to relevant stakeholders in an email or other formats. This means you have to make sure that any visualizations can be viewed on multiple device types.

Make an actionable data report

Some reports may be purely for informational purposes, but the majority are designed to influence and inform decisions and actions. There’s little point in cramming such a report full of great data and visualizations without some sort of conclusion that can lead to those decisions and actions. 

data report

You need to go beyond your report simply showing “how things are” and add in “this is what we need to do to change or improve”. Think of it as being an operational CTA (call to action) that demonstrates what steps and decisions should be made next. You should also be showing why those decisions are needed and the benefits they will bring. 

Use the right chart or table

data report

Graphs and tables can be an integral part of a data report, but you don’t want them to be confusing or misleading. Before you create a graph or table, ask yourself the question: “What do I want this to show?” These are visual representations of particular aspects you want to report on, such as increases in conversion rates by season. 

Make your report easy to read

Whether presented virtually or as hard copy, you want people to be able to read any report easily. That means carefully considering any use of fonts, themes, colors, and backgrounds. For example, white font on a light background will be difficult to read. It is worth having your report “proofread” by at least two colleagues to ensure readability. 

data report

The takeaway 

Data, and data reporting, have come a long way in recent years. Gone are the dull lists of figures, to be replaced by reports that can be both visually engaging and also insightful. And though visually engaging is a great thing to be, that insightfulness is the primary aim of any data reporting you do. 

Any report needs to be of high quality and must engage the reader well, but it must also inform them as much as possible, especially when the data reporting seeks to influence important strategic or operational decisions. Good data reports can be the fuel that drives your business upwards and forwards.

Need help making a data report? Create one in minutes with Venngage’s easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor.


Unleashing Insights: The Power of Data Reporting

reports the data

Raw data is collected from various channels and stored in databases, but in order to make it useful, it has to be processed to be displayed. The first step is Data Reporting. It involves using various tools to define and store data , while professionals monitor the trends, the process of data collection, and the performance of the enterprise.

Thus, data reporting is the process of collecting, storing, and displaying data to monitor the performance of a process. It requires certain skills and tools.

Data Reporting and data analytics , though often used interchangeably, are two different processes, but analytics is dependent on data reports. Here is the complete guide to understanding data reporting solutions and services.

Table of Contents

What is Data Reporting?

Data Reporting can be defined as the process of collecting, storing, and displaying data to monitor the performance of a process. It can help engineers, marketers, managers, or other professionals monitor the performance of their processes.

Data Reporting is also a type of service where a company collects data from a variety of sources and then sends it to clients or other companies for further action.

Such data reports can then be used to determine trends in the performance of processes by monitoring the data over time. That is data analysis . The analytics provides answers to questions like, “What improvements need to be made in your product sales process”, or, “Why are our costs changing? Why are we losing/gaining business?”

Data analysis is defined as the process of analyzing data collected by a data reporting system. Data analysis helps improve the process of data reporting. Reports should raise questions about the business from their end-users. But data reports do not have context, they simply present the facts.

By interpreting the data at a deeper level and providing actionable recommendations, the analysis seeks to answer questions.

This comprehensive guide will help you understand data and data reporting, and its use. You’ll learn what information is collected, how it is collected, how it’s used, and the skills required, among other things.

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Data Reporting Basics

What are data reports , how do they work, and what are the common types of data reports? Here are some answers:

Basics include:

What is a data set?

A data set is made up of the data that you want to capture and present. These are the actual source documents that contain the data that you are interested in.

The following are common data sets that are used for data reporting:

What are Data Reports and the Types of Data Reports?

Data reporting is the process of creating digestible data by translating raw data into formats that help you assess the success of your organization. There are several different kinds of data reports. They can be classified by the kind of information they report on and the manner in which they do so.

When it comes to presenting your data, there are two different types of reports: static and interactive. Static reports are simple to create and understand but do not allow users to interact with them. Most pull data from a single source, hence are called static.

Static reports provide “historical” data, i.e. of events that have already occurred. Eg: What was the cost per lead acquisition?

Interactive reports also called real-time or dynamic reports, provide access to data as it is collected in real-time. Because they update data continuously, they allow users to drill down into the data to uncover a deeper meaning.

What types of reports do you typically create? The primary type of report is a list, which provides a brief view of the facts from source documents without presenting them in a context that can then be used down the line to make decisions.

For example, you can create a list of key facts, key dates, or key costs. An example would be: How many customers opened bank accounts, in which months, last year?

What Data are You Reporting?

The next step in designing reports is to determine the information you want your users to view and the results you want them to get. A report is a detailed presentation of facts and can come in summary form, too. Then, there’s the query. Data Report summaries provide a snapshot of an organization’s performance.

They are usually generated for top management, who then disseminate the information to their staff.

Form queries are more complex. They are typically requested by users to filter the information they want. For example, an analyst might want to look at sales growth by individual products, geographical locations, or customers within particular organizations. They may want to know how many customers opened their accounts in the previous year. So they ‘query” the database for the answers.

data reporting

What is the Purpose of Data Reports?

How do you format it?

Data Reporting Tools

A data reporting tool performs the actual data reporting by collecting data from within your business processes. The data reporting tool collects data from the business processes being conducted by the company. The data reporting tool can be an Excel spreadsheet or some other type of electronic reporting tool.

The Importance of Data Reporting

Here’s why should you care about data reporting.

If data is not reported, there are two reasons why:

1) the data was not measured or

2) the data was measured but not reported

Not measuring is never an option, but reporting is often optional. If the data is not reported, it does not exist, in a sense. The data can’t be used for making decisions. This can be a problem. Also, not all data should be reported to make a decision. If a person is making a decision based on certain assumptions, they need the actual data to see if it supports the assumptions.

Why Measure the Data?

There are many reasons you would want to measure data, but there are five main ones:

1) it helps to mark the stages/progress of a business

2) it helps understand what is going on with competitors

3) it is a valuable measurement tool for taking action

4) it helps you improve your data management process

How to Write A Data Report?

These are the basic components of a good data report:

1) title and introduction

2) business logic

3) data summary

4) group by and sort criteria

5) visualizations

6) drill down

7) conclusions and recommendations

8) references and appendices

9) footnotes and credits

A good data report should include all of these elements, but it doesn’t need to be perfect.

The main points to remember when writing a data report are:

1) make sure your report isn’t too long

2) Define the type of data report you are trying to create

This includes the purpose and objective of the report. Data should be presented in a way that allows decision-makers to make an informed and confident decision based on your data and analysis.

3) Make sure to explain the purpose of the report

The data report should be designed in a way that helps the user answer the following questions:

1) What is the data in this report?

2) What conclusions can be drawn from this data?

3) What actions should take place because of this information?

The target audience should be able to clearly define the key issue being addressed by the report. This is very important.

What are Data Reporting Skills?

Many organizations simply store raw data from various sources within Excel, Access, SQL Server, MongoDB, NoSQL database, etc. But to prepare a data report, you need the following skills:

Report Vs. Analytics: Know the Difference

If you’re considering using the data to make the decision about what should happen next, should report or analytics be your guide?

A data report is a process of compiling data. It can be as simple as having a list of activities. But to take it a step further, the report has to be analyzed to deliver a statistical measure of a company, individual, product, or service. The analysis  uses data to answer strategic business questions, while a report uses data to track the business’ performance.

Think of a story as a presentation to an audience. Storytelling allows you to use the actual data and show the inner workings of your data model or analysis in such a way that people can understand what they’re seeing and why it matters.

Here’s an explanation by QuestionPro :

Reporting : The process of organizing data into informational summaries in order to monitor how different areas of a business are performing.

Analysis : The process of exploring data and reports in order to extract meaningful insights, which can be used to better understand and improve business performance.

So data analytics is a mathematical representation of the data and models that can also be used to describe how to predict what will happen in the future. Think of analytics as a set of formulas; it’s what you use to predict the results.

Understanding the difference between a Report and Analytics could be one of the most important things to do if you’re looking to build meaningful insights from your data. Reports will usually be much more ‘raw’, meaning they’re not quantified, and they don’t include any data analysis. They’re a way of getting your data out there so you can look at it and understand what’s going on.

If you just wanted to see the number of new visitors that have come to your site, then you’d use a report. So, reports generally include facts and statistics about a particular topic or event, but because there’s no quantifying, it’s not likely that the information will be very meaningful.

Analytics , on the other hand, will almost always include some kind of analysis of the data that you’ve collected. It may be that the only insight that they’ll provide is what proportion of visitors are returning or how much time people spend on your site. Or maybe you want to find out how many visitors are coming from specific countries or what type of device they’re using to view your site.

So clearly, the difference is in what they provide. In data-driven decision-making, analytics is often referred to as the “ visualization part ” .

What makes one a reporting tool and the other an analytics solution? The report is usually printed out in PDF format, sent to the user by email or Excel, or uploaded to a website. The reports are usually visually oriented, but not generally specific enough to be useful in the decision-making process.

On the other hand, an analytics solution provides a specific set of tools to help users make better decisions. Often this means it has a graphical user interface (GUI) which allows a user to click a few buttons and have graphs and charts appear on the screen. Other times it means that the analytics are embedded within another system.

The data provided by the analytics tool is used to identify trends, spikes, anomalies, and anomalies (e.g., outliers). If you’re not familiar with statistics then this might be an area that’s beyond your capabilities.

In conclusion: To make raw data useful, it has to be processed and displayed. Data is collected from various sources and stored in databases, but it must be processed to extract value. Data reporting, not to be confused with data analytics, involves the use of various tools for defining and storing data, along with the monitoring of trends, the collection process, and overall performance.

Therefore, data reporting refers to the process of collecting, storing, and displaying data to monitor a process’ performance. The process requires a certain level of skill and a certain set of tools. Reporting and analytics are distinct processes, despite often being used interchangeably.

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What are Data Reports? + 3 Keys to High-Quality Reports

Data reporting is the process of organizing and curating information into a format that makes it easier to digest than if you looked at the raw data.

Aug 13, 2021

By Kelly Kirwan

Data reporting is not unlike news reporting. A journalist gathers information about a story from various sources, then selects what information is most relevant and important to their readers to create an article. In the end, the journalist should have an objective representation of a situation.

You do the same when you create a data report. You gather data from a variety of sources, then select which is most relevant to your audience to (in the end) create an objective report, usually in a business context.

The similarities don’t end there. Several articles and a book declared “we’re all journalists now” in the early 2000s. Computers, phones, blogs, and social media gave everyone the tools to report, write, and publish to an audience.

In recent years, virtual dashboards, data visualization tools, and centralized customer data platforms like Segment have done the same for data reporting. Which is to say: “We’re all data reporters now.” Here’s what you need to know about data reports:

What is data reporting?

What are the benefits of data reporting, what types of data reports are there for businesses, three keys to high-quality data reporting, the foundation of successful data reporting: data accuracy.

Data reporting is the process of organizing and curating information into a format that makes it easier to digest and understand than if you looked at the original, raw data. The result of these efforts is data reports. Data reports usually take the form of tables, graphs, and charts, often bundled in static presentations or business intelligence dashboards that update information in real-time.

Data reports help the recipient better understand a situation and frequently form the basis for important decision-making and follow-up actions. Often such action is further analysis to make specific recommendations, so data reporting often gets confused with data analysis. They go hand in hand, but they’re not the same thing.

There is a clear separation at traditional newspapers between the news people—the reporters—and the opinion people—the columnists. Reporters are objective and report facts. Columnists are subjective and give their opinions. The relation between people creating data reports and data analysts is similar: Reporting uncovers and summarizes objective information, whereas data analysis is subjective—it uses that information to form recommendations and opinions.

Data reporting, when done well, distills the essential information about a complicated situation or endeavor in a format that’s easy for the reader to grasp. This characteristic of data reports makes them indispensable for modern organizations, as they provide executives and other departments with the information they need to make plans and decisions.

Communicate complex information quickly

Good data reports communicate complex information quickly, which saves their readers time and makes it easier to understand a topic or situation they’d otherwise couldn’t.

Data reports accomplish this distillation of complex information in two ways:

Curation. They present relevant data to the reader while leaving out or summarizing information that’s not helpful.

Visualization. They turn endless rows of numbers in a database into tables, charts, and graphs, making the information more accessible for the reader.

Monitor business performance at a glance

Data reports can take inputs from across the organization and summarize what's essential for the recipient in one place , often in real-time. This mission-control-like overview allows managers to monitor the data that's important to them to answer business questions and spot problems as soon as—or sometimes even before—they arise.


Another advantage of using dashboards for data reporting is that you can share them with stakeholders and tailor them to specific audiences. An executive might have an overview displaying high-level data from every department. In contrast, finance and marketing can have their own reports that go deeper into their specific areas of responsibility and expertise.

Highlight patterns and relations to uncover insights

Data reports can spark insights in their readers when they spot patterns and relations, even when the report doesn’t include specific recommendations—the realm of data analysis.

Say an executive’s dashboard shows a drop in marketing spending for the past three months and fewer applicants in the HR section of the report during the same period. The trend in those two charts suggests a relationship between marketing efforts and recruiting. Leadership can follow up this insight with further analysis or a specific experiment to test the correlation between the two.

Businesses rely on data reporting at every level, and so reports appear in many forms and sizes. On the smaller side, we have the real-time dashboard for the product team with usage data or the internal monthly sales report. More extensive reports include the annual shareholder report and research studies into the feasibility of a new strategic direction for the company.

Below we’ve listed the most common types of business reports.

Customer analytics

Customer analytics reports help companies understand—and, ideally, anticipate—customer needs. Such reports can show spending levels, product usage, likelihood to churn, or purchase preferences, to give just a few examples. They’re essential for product, marketing, and customer support teams but are often helpful for other departments, too. Reports can now provide a single view of the customer that’s updated in real-time and accessible across the organization.


Source: Qualtrics

KPIs and OKRs

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) help teams set goals and measure their progress based on a set of predefined metrics. These goals and metrics can be visualized in a report that, these days, is often updated in real-time. Such reports take the shape of a virtual dashboard, sometimes displayed on a monitor teams hang in their rooms, so they instantly see how they’re doing compared to their objectives.

Financial reports

Financial reports give an overview of the companies’ financial situation. They can include historical data, like the annual report or a monthly breakdown of revenue and expenses. There are also financial reports that look ahead, like a cash flow forecast or a budget for the coming years.

Some question the usefulness of long-term financial forecasts—most notably investor Warren Buffett, who said: “I have no use whatsoever for projections or forecasts. They create an illusion of apparent precision. The more meticulous they are, the more concerned you should be.” However, most financial reports are critical for operating any business because they give you an understanding of how much money is coming in and where you’re spending it, allowing you to make corrections where necessary.


Source: Corporate Finance Institute

Research reports

Research reports often set out to find extensive answers to a predefined question, like “Is there a market for our product in country X?” or “What do potential customers think of feature Y?” Sometimes, they’re relatively informal because an internal team handles them. At other times such reports are massive undertakings that involve external agencies, tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, and many months of work.

Research reports are most at risk of defying the definition we’ve given earlier of data reports—that they organize information so it’s easy to digest—because they tend to turn into tomes with too much irrelevant information for the reader. But, when done well, they’re treasure troves of insights that inform strategic business decisions, product roadmaps, or PR and marketing campaigns.

Data reporting is like storytelling. You need to understand your audience, have sources of unique information to make your story compelling, and present it appealingly and appropriately.

Know what you’re looking for and for whom

The first step in creating a helpful data report is understanding what question you’re trying to answer. A specific question helps you prioritize relevant information for your final report.

You also need a clear picture of whom you’re answering that question for, as the target audience determines which data is relevant and how to present it.

Know where to get your information

Once you understand the question you want to answer with your data report, you’ll need to determine where you can find the most reliable information to form that answer. In most businesses, this might involve navigating a complex web of tools and databases spread across many departments, making it challenging to find the information and verify its accuracy.

A Customer Data Platform (CDP) like Segment pays enormous dividends here. Segment Connections ensure you have a centralized, unified data source for all your organization’s departments where they can collect, access, and utilize the same data with different tools. This centralization allows you to find the information you need to create your report quickly.

Know how to present and structure your information

Presenting and structuring your data reports involves picking the most relevant information and then visualizing that data in a way that makes it as easy as possible for the reader to grasp. Such visualization goes beyond creating a chart, graph, or PowerPoint (PPT)—table stakes in modern data reporting. You’ll need to build virtual dashboards, use data visualization tools, and connect them to a centralized data platform like Segment.

“We’re all journalists now” has taken on another meaning amid an abundance of misinformation in recent years. Everyone needs one essential skill of the journalist, even if you don’t want to do any reporting yourself: the ability to distinguish fact from fiction to verify the accuracy of a story.

Anyone dealing with data reports faces the same challenge. Now that it’s easy to put together a dazzling report without the help of an expert that verifies data’s accuracy, that onus—of distinguishing fact from fiction—is on you, as either the creator or the reader.

Luckily, technology like Segment can take on a lot of this fact-checking responsibility for anyone creating data reports. Segment Protocols lets you create a global, standardized Tracking Plan for your organization, ensuring you collect data across channels, platforms, and tools in a consistent format. When your data is standardized with Segment, it guarantees the accuracy of your data so you can deliver trusted information to all business units for their data reports.

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Microsoft Teams analytics and reporting

A new analytics and reporting experience for Microsoft Teams is available in the Microsoft Teams admin center. You can run different reports to get insights into how users in your organization are using Teams. For example, you can see how many users communicate through channel and chat messages and the kinds of devices they use to connect to Teams. Your organization can use the information from the reports to better understand usage patterns, help make business decisions, and inform training and communication efforts.

How to access the reports

To access the reports, you must be assigned one of the following roles:

To learn more about Teams admin roles and which reports each admin role can access, see Use Teams administrator roles to manage Teams .

Go to the Microsoft Teams admin center, in the left navigation, select Analytics & reports , and then under View Reports , choose the report you want to run.

The reports in the Microsoft Teams admin center are separate from the activity reports for Teams that are part of the Microsoft 365 reports in the Microsoft 365 admin center. For more information about the activity reports in the Microsoft 365 admin center, see Microsoft 365 Reports in the admin center .

Teams reporting reference

Here's a list of the Teams reports available in the Microsoft Teams admin center across different environments and an overview of some of the information that's available in each report.

We're continually improving the Teams reporting experience and adding features and functionality. Over time, we'll be building additional capabilities into the reports and adding new reports in the Microsoft Teams admin center.


The Teams reports show data for active users and active channels. For example, if a user in your organization isn't active in Teams during the date range that you specified for a report, data for that user isn't included in that report.

Make the user specific data anonymous

To make the identifiable information in usage reports anonymous, you have to be a Global administrator. The Global administrator can hide identifiable information (using MD5 hashes) such as display name, group name, email, and AAD ID in the report and its export.

In Microsoft 365 admin center, go to the Settings > Org Settings , and under Services tab, choose Reports .

Select Reports , and then choose to Display concealed user, group, and site names in all reports . This setting gets applied both to the usage reports in Microsoft 365 admin center as well as Teams admin center.

Select Save changes .

Enabling this setting will de-identify user, group, and site name information in the Teams user activity report , Teams device usage report , and Teams usage report . Starting September 1, 2021, this setting is enabled by default for everyone as part of our ongoing commitment to help protect important information and enable companies to support their local privacy laws.

This setting also applies to Microsoft 365 usage reports in Microsoft 365 admin center, Microsoft Graph, and Power BI.

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Data Reporting

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Analytics vs. Reporting: How Are They Different and Why You Should Focus on Both

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Analytics and reporting can help businesses transform data into actionable insights, identify customer behavior patterns, measure each department’s performance, and improve operational efficiency.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

However, while these two terms are often used interchangeably, they represent different approaches to understanding and communicating data.

Reporting involves gathering data and presenting it in a structured way, whereas analytics is using data to identify patterns and gain insights to inform future decision-making.

Think of it as a nurse (reporting) and doctor (analytics).

A nurse takes vital signs, records symptoms, and reports this information to the doctor. The doctor then uses this information to diagnose the patient’s condition and develop a treatment plan.

But how many companies actually know the difference between analytics and reporting? And do they have dedicated roles for both areas?

We conducted a survey with 22 respondents to find the answers to these questions (and a few more you’ll want to stick around for).

Let’s check it out.

Importance of Analytics and Reporting

4 key differences between reporting and analytics, streamline both your reporting and analytics with databox.


What is Analytics vs. Reporting?

Analytics and reporting both represent ways of understanding and communicating data, but they do it differently.

Reporting is the process of collecting data and presenting it in a structured and easy-to-understand manner, often in the form of charts, tables, or graphs. It’s important to have a well-defined process and present data accurately, to prevent any misinterpretations.

Reports usually provide information on past performances and KPIs like sales figures, website traffic, or customer demographics. Depending on what you want to focus on, there are several types of reports (e.g. financial report, sales report, marketing report, etc.).

This process allows stakeholders, executives, managers, investors, or regulators, to quickly and easily access and understand important information like financial results and operational metrics.

Analytics, on the other hand, involves using data to draw insights and make informed decisions. It goes beyond simply looking at what has happened in the past and instead aims to answer questions about why something happened and what might happen in the future.

Modern analytics tools also leverage complex data analysis techniques, such as predictive modeling, data mining, and machine learning, to uncover hidden insights and trends in the data. The purpose of analytics is to help managers and executives make informed decisions that will drive the business forward.

Related : Marketing Monitoring vs. Marketing Reporting: What Is More Important?

Overall, analytics answers  why  something is happening based on the data, whereas reporting tells  what is happening.

Because these two terms represent different processes, companies should employ different people for both areas – data analysts and reporting analysts.

We asked our respondents whether they have reporting analysts in the company and most of them answered “Yes”.

does you company have a reporting analyst?

We also asked those who have reporting analysts about how long they’ve had them on the team. Most respondents have had them for between 1-3 years.

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As for data analysts, most respondents have 2-3 data analysts in the organization.

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Analytics and reporting both play a critical role in modern business operations.

Because of the vast amounts of data they collect, businesses need effective analytics and reporting processes to leverage the information and make strategic decisions. It helps them optimize operations, improve efficiency, reduce costs, and deliver better customer experiences.

Together, these two processes provide a comprehensive view of a business’s operations, and using only one of them can cost you relevant insights. Both are critical for businesses to thrive in today’s competitive environment.

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Our Monthly Marketing Performance Dashboard includes data from Google Analytics and HubSpot Marketing with key performance metrics like:

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We already touched briefly on some of the main differences between data analytics and reporting, but we also wanted to do a deep dive into each one individually and show you some interesting things our respondents pointed out.

The X key differences between reporting and analytics are:

Differences in Underlying Purposes and Use Cases

To begin with, analytics and reporting both serve different purposes. If you’re looking to get an answer to ‘what’s happening’ you need  data reporting .

However, if you already have data reports (in simple words: organized and summarized data) and you need to find out the answer to ‘what now,’ you need to dive into analytics (and  analytics dashboards ).

Technically speaking, reporting is a subdivision of analytics and you can’t have analytics without reporting, but analytics goes a bit further and is generally a more complex process.

As  VisualFizz’s  Marissa Ryan puts it, “Reporting is simply a means of making an observation about an occurrence. While that, of course, is an important step, reporting doesn’t necessarily provide direction, guidance, or anything actionable.”

“Analytics looks at the incoming data reports, looks for patterns, delivers insights, and guides actionable marketing decisions,” Ryan explains.

In short, “reporting is for observation. Analytics is for actions.”

Looking at reporting and analytics this way shows us they’re dependent on each other.

If you want actionable insights or recommendations from raw data, you’ll first need to organize and format it – which is what reporting takes care of.

Similarly, reporting without analytics is useless at its core. Because then you have an idea of what’s happening based on the data gathered, but no way to interpret it into actionable takeaways to execute.

With this in mind, it’s apparent that their use cases drastically differ.

Sean Carrigan of MobileQubes  adds that “analytics is useful for ad hoc interpretation of data to answer specific questions related to user behavior, trends, etc. so that improvements can be implemented.

Reporting provides data related to what is happening and is processed in a standardized format on a repeatable schedule… But it is only fully valuable when it is followed with proper and insightful analytics,” concludes Carrigan.

Related :  Marketing Reporting: The KPIs, Reports, & Dashboard Templates You Need to Get Started

Differences in the Way Data is Presented

Since reporting is about formatting and making data easy to understand, it’s more presentation-oriented than analytics. It typically relies on showcasing data in charts, graphs, and other visually appealing formats.

The focus is on summarizing key metrics and performance indicators so that shareholders and managers can easily grasp the information.

On the other hand, analytics outputs are generally in form of documented insights, recommended actions and strategies, forecasts, ad hoc reports, summary reports, and dashboards.  

Eden Cheng from  PeopleFinderFree  adds that “reporting is utilized to drag details from the raw data, in the leading form of easy-to-read dashboards of valuable graphs. Therefore, via reporting, data is carefully arranged and summarized in seamlessly digestible ways.”

Cheng also mentions that “analytics is one step ahead of reporting and enables you to question and discover variable data.”

Difference in Goals

The primary goal of reporting is to provide a standardized, high-level overview of key metrics and performance indicators. It’s used to monitor the health of the business, track progress toward goals, and identify areas that may require further investigation.

On the other hand, analytics is focused on exploring and understanding data in greater detail to uncover insights and opportunities for improvement. The goal of analytics is to identify patterns, relationships, and trends within the data that may not be immediately visible in standard reports. Analytics tools are designed to provide users with the ability to ask more complex questions, test hypotheses, and gain a deeper understanding of the data.

Alina Clark of Cocodoc agrees and adds that “the goal of reporting is to change data from its raw form, which is unintelligible and hard to understand, into an easy-to-visualize format. The end result of any reporting system is to make the analysis as easy as possible.

At the same time, analytics churns through the data, draws out the problems, and provides the solution while at it. Any data analysis that doesn’t look at the three stages (problems-solutions-conclusions) fails to achieve the intended goals in most instances.”

Put simply, the goal of reporting is to organize and summarize data, while the purpose of analytics is to interpret it and deliver actionable recommendations.

Differences in the Process

Building a report and preparing for data analytics both involve a different step-by-step process.

To build a report, you need to:

As for data analytics, the steps involved are:

Despite all of their differences, there’s one thing that connects reporting and analytics (aside from data) – they’re often overwhelming, and frankly, a bit boring.

No matter if it’s reporting or analytics, you’ll have to spend a lot of long hours collecting data, cleaning it, tracking multiple sources, juggling different spreadsheets, organizing it…

Not anymore.

Databox can help you turn those long grueling hours into a relaxing few minutes.

Here’s how easy both data analysis and reporting are with our dashboard software:

Whether you want to build a dashboard from scratch or choose one from our library of 500+ templates is up to you.

Either way, you’ll end up with a comprehensive dashboard that lets you monitor all of your key performance metrics in one place, track real-time updates, and quickly share insights with your team.

Forget about manual reporting and analysis, it’s holding your business hostage. With Databox, you can monitor metrics, track performance, analyze data, and create meaningful reports, all with one tool.

Sign up for a forever-free account and streamline both your reporting and analytics processes. Your only worry will be what to do with all those extra hours.

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When you choose to publish with PLOS, your research makes an impact. Make your work accessible to all, without restrictions, and accelerate scientific discovery with options like preprints and published peer review that make your work more Open.

How to Report Statistics

Ensure appropriateness and rigor, avoid flexibility and above all never manipulate results

In many fields, a statistical analysis forms the heart of both the methods and results sections of a manuscript. Learn how to report statistical analyses, and what other context is important for publication success and future reproducibility.

A matter of principle

First and foremost, the statistical methods employed in research must always be:

Checklist icon

Appropriate for the study design

Data management icon

Rigorously reported in sufficient detail for others to reproduce the analysis

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Free of manipulation, selective reporting, or other forms of “spin”

Just as importantly, statistical practices must never be manipulated or misused . Misrepresenting data, selectively reporting results or searching for patterns  that can be presented as statistically significant, in an attempt to yield a conclusion that is believed to be more worthy of attention or publication is a serious ethical violation. Although it may seem harmless, using statistics to “spin” results can prevent publication, undermine a published study, or lead to investigation and retraction.

Supporting public trust in science through transparency and consistency

Along with clear methods and transparent study design, the appropriate use of statistical methods and analyses impacts editorial evaluation and readers’ understanding and trust in science.

In 2011  False-Positive Psychology: Undisclosed Flexibility in Data Collection and Analysis Allows Presenting Anything as Significant exposed that “flexibility in data collection, analysis, and reporting dramatically increases actual false-positive rates” and demonstrated “how unacceptably easy it is to accumulate (and report) statistically significant evidence for a false hypothesis”.

Arguably, such problems with flexible analysis lead to the “ reproducibility crisis ” that we read about today. 

A constant principle of rigorous science The appropriate, rigorous, and transparent use of statistics is a constant principle of rigorous, transparent, and Open Science. Aim to be thorough, even if a particular journal doesn’t require the same level of detail. Trust in science is all of our responsibility. You cannot create any problems by exceeding a minimum standard of information and reporting.

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Sound statistical practices

While it is hard to provide statistical guidelines that are relevant for all disciplines, types of research, and all analytical techniques,  adherence to rigorous and appropriate principles remains key. Here are some ways to ensure your statistics are sound.

Define your analytical methodology before you begin Take the time to consider and develop a thorough study design that defines your line of inquiry, what you plan to do, what data you will collect, and how you will analyze it. (If you applied for research grants or ethical approval, you probably already have a plan in hand!) Refer back to your study design at key moments in the research process, and above all, stick to it.

To avoid flexibility and improve the odds of acceptance, preregister your study design with a journal Many journals offer the option to submit a study design for peer review before research begins through a practice known as preregistration. If the editors approve your study design, you’ll receive a provisional acceptance for a future research article reporting the results. Preregistering is a great way to head off any intentional or unintentional flexibility in analysis.  By declaring your analytical approach in advance you’ll increase the credibility and reproducibility of your results and help address publication bias, too. Getting peer review feedback on your study design and analysis plan before it has begun (when you can still make changes!) makes your research even stronger AND increases your chances of publication—even if the results are negative or null. Never underestimate how much you can help increase the public’s trust in science by planning your research in this way.

Imagine replicating or extending your own work, years in the future Imagine that you are describing your approach to statistical analysis for your future self, in exactly the same way as we have described for writing your methods section . What would you need to know to replicate or extend your own work? When you consider that you might be at a different institution, working with different colleagues,  using different programs, applications, resources — or maybe even adopting new statistical techniques that have emerged — you can help yourself imagine the level of reporting specificity that you yourself would require to redo or extend your work. Consider:

Even if a necessary adjustment you made was not ideal, transparency is the key to ensuring this is not regarded as an issue in the future. It is far better to transparently convey any non-optimal techniques or constraints than to conceal them, which could result in reproducibility or ethical issues downstream.

Existing standards, checklists, guidelines for specific disciplines

You can apply the Open Science practices outlined above no matter what your area of expertise—but in many cases, you may still need more detailed guidance specific to your own field. Many  disciplines, fields, and projects have worked hard to develop guidelines and resources  to help with statistics, and to identify and avoid bad statistical practices. Below, you’ll find some of the key materials. 

TIP: Do you have a specific journal in mind?

Be sure to read the submission guidelines for the specific journal you are submitting to, in order to discover any journal- or field-specific policies, initiatives or tools to utilize.

Articles on statistical methods and reporting

Makin, T.R.,  Orban de Xivry, J. Science Forum: Ten common statistical mistakes to watch out for when writing or reviewing a manuscript . eLife 2019;8:e48175 (2019).  https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.48175  

Munafò, M., Nosek, B., Bishop, D. et al. A manifesto for reproducible science . Nat Hum Behav 1, 0021 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-016-0021    

Writing tips

Your use of statistics should be rigorous, appropriate, and uncompromising in avoidance of analytical flexibility. While this is difficult, do not compromise on rigorous standards for credibility!

What to do

What not to do


There’s a lot to consider when deciding where to submit your work. Learn how to choose a journal that will help your study reach its audience, while reflecting your values as a researcher…

The discussion section contains the results and outcomes of a study. An effective discussion informs readers what can be learned from your…

A thoughtful, thorough approach to your revision response now can save you time in further rounds of review. You’ve just spent months…

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Introduction to reports in Access

Reports offer a way to view, format, and summarize the information in your Microsoft Access database. For example, you can create a simple report of phone numbers for all your contacts, or a summary report on the total sales across different regions and time periods.

From this article, you’ll get an overview of reports in Access. You’ll also learn the basics of creating a report, and using options like sorting, grouping, and summarizing the data, and how to preview and print the report.

Note:  The information in this article is intended for use only with Access desktop databases. Access web apps don't support reports.

In this article

Overview of reports in access, create a report in access, add grouping, sorting, or totals, highlight data with conditional formatting, customizing color and fonts, add a logo or background image, preview and print a report, what can you do with a report.

A report is a database object that comes in handy when you want to present the information in your database for any of the following uses:

Display or distribute a summary of data.

Archive snapshots of the data.

Provide details about individual records.

Create labels.

Parts of a report

While it is possible to create “unbound” reports that do not display data, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll assume that a report is bound to a data source such as a table or query. The design of a report is divided into sections that you can view in the Design view. Understanding how each section works can helps you create better reports. For example, the section in which you choose to place a calculated control determines how Access calculates the results. The following list is a summary of the section types and their uses:

You’ll find that it’s much easier to create meaningful reports when your database has a well-designed table structure and relationships. For an introduction to planning and designing a database, see the article Database design basics .

Top of Page

You can create reports for you Access desktop database by following the steps below:

Step 1: Choose a record source

The record source of a report can be a table, a named query, or an embedded query. The record source must contain all of the rows and columns of data you want display on the report.

If the data is from an existing table or query, select the table or query in the Navigation Pane, and then continue to Step 2 .

If the record source does not yet exist, do one of the following:

Continue to Step 2 and use the Blank Report tool,

Create the table(s) or query that contains the required data. Select the query or table in the Navigation Pane, and then continue to Step 2.

Step 2: Choose a report tool

The report tools are located on the Create tab of the ribbon, in the Reports group. The following table describes the options:

Step 3: Create the report

Click the button for the tool you want to use. If a wizard appears, follow the steps in the wizard and click Finish on the last page. Access displays the report in Layout view.

Format the report to achieve the looks that you want:

Resize fields and labels by selecting them and then dragging the edges until they are the size you want.

Move a field by selecting it (and its label, if present), and then dragging it to the new location.

Right-click a field and use the commands on the shortcut menu to merge or split cells, delete or select fields, and perform other formatting tasks.

In addition, you can use the features described in the following sections to make your report more attractive and readable.

The fastest way to add grouping, sorting, or totals to a desktop database report is to right-click the field to which you want to apply the group, sort, or total, and then click the desired command on the shortcut menu.

You can also add grouping, sorting, or totals by using the Group, Sort, and Total pane while the report is open in Layout view or Design view:

If the Group, Sort, and Total pane is not already open, on the Design tab, in the Grouping and Totals group, click Group & Sort .

Click Add a group or Add a sort , and then select the field on which you want to group or sort.

Click More on a grouping or sorting line to set more options and to add totals.

For more detailed information about grouping, sorting, and totals, see the article Create a grouped or summary report .

Access includes tools for highlighting data on a report. You can add conditional formatting rules for each control or group of controls, and in client reports, you can also add data bars to compare data.

To add conditional formatting to controls:

Right-click the report in the Navigation Pane and click Layout View .

Select the required controls and on the Format tab, in the Control Formatting group, click Conditional Formatting .

Tip:  To select multiple controls, hold down the CTRL key and click the controls.

In the Conditional Formatting Rules Manager dialog box, click New Rule .

In the New Formatting Rule dialog box, select a value under Select a rule type :

To create a rule that is evaluated for each record individually, select Check values in the current record or use an expression .

To create a rule that compares records to each other by using data bars, click Compare to other records .

Under Edit the rule description , specify the rule for when the formatting would be applied as well as what formatting should be applied, and then click OK .

To create an additional rule for the same control or set of controls, repeat this procedure from step 4.

Try an App Theme options to customize the color and fonts.

Open a report in Layout view by right-clicking it in the Navigation Pane and then clicking Layout V iew .

From the Report Layout Tools options, on the Design tab, click Themes and point the cursor over the various themes in the gallery to preview the effects. Click on a theme to select it, and then save your report.

Use the Colors or Fonts galleries to set colors or fonts independently.

You can add a logo or background image to a report and If you update the image, the update is automatically made wherever the image is used in the database.

To add or remove an image:

In the Navigation Pane, right-click the report and click Layout View .

In the report, click the position where you want to add the image and on the Design tab, in the Header/Footer group, click Logo .

Navigate to the image, and click Open . Access adds the image to the report.

To remove the image, right-click the image and click Delete from the shortcut menu.

To add a background image:

On the Format tab, in the Background group, click Background Image .

Select an image from the Image Gallery list or click Browse , select an image, and then click OK .

Preview a report

Right-click the report in the Navigation Pane and click Print Preview . You can use the commands on the Print Preview tab to do any of the following:

Print the report

Adjust page size or layout

Zoom in or out, or view multiple pages at a time

Refresh the data on the report

Export the report to another file format.

Click Close Print Preview.

Print a report

To print a report without previewing it:

Right-click the report in the Navigation Pane and click Print . The report is sent to your default printer.

Note:  If you select the report in the Navigation Pane and select Print from the File tab, you can select additional printing options such as number of pages and copies and specify a printer.

To open a dialog box where you can select a printer, specify the number of copies, and so on, click Print .


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Judge Dismisses D.C.’s Privacy Lawsuit Against Meta

Cecilia Kang

By Cecilia Kang

Reporting from Washington

A Superior Court judge on Thursday dismissed a privacy lawsuit against Meta by the District of Columbia, which had accused the company of deceiving consumers by improperly sharing their data with third parties, including the British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica .

The decision was a rare victory for Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, as it battles lawsuits filed by the federal government, states, foreign regulators and consumers in privacy, antitrust and consumer protection disputes.

In his opinion, Judge Maurice A. Ross of Superior Court for the District of Columbia said Facebook’s policies had clearly disclosed how third parties could obtain data “such that a reasonable consumer could not have been misled” under the district’s consumer protection law.

The district’s attorney general at the time, Karl Racine, filed the lawsuit in 2018 after revelations that Cambridge Analytica had obtained data on tens of millions of Facebook users — including those in the District of Columbia — without their consent. Mr. Racine accused Facebook of violating the district’s law.

But Judge Ross said Facebook not only had adequately informed users of how data could be shared with third parties but had provided instructions on how to limit data sharing. He added that Facebook had taken adequate steps to investigate Cambridge Analytica and inform users after press reports about the activity emerged.

“While the district may disagree with Facebook’s approach to the situation, there is no legal basis that required Facebook to act differently,” Judge Ross said. “Facebook did not materially mislead consumers as to their response to Cambridge Analytica.”

A spokesman for the District of Columbia attorney general’s office, Gabriel Shoglow-Rubenstein, said in a statement, “We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision and are considering all of our options.”

Meta declined to comment.

Traffic passes Meta’s lighted blue-and-white logo sign outside its headquarters.

Why It Matters: This was a rare win in a controversy that continues to dog Meta.

Meta faces legal challenges around the world. The company has grappled with scrutiny and criticism for its handling of disinformation, privacy and competition. Partly to shift Meta’s narrative, the company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, has been trying to turn its focus toward the so-called metaverse, which is a virtual reality space, and artificial intelligence.

The dismissal of the District of Columbia lawsuit stands out not only against that backdrop, but also because it is a rare win in one of Meta’s most lasting challenges: the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, which exposed how Facebook’s user data can leak and spread.

Lawmakers and regulators around the world have criticized Facebook’s handling of user data after the Cambridge Analytica issues surfaced. In 2019, the Federal Trade Commission fined Facebook $5 billion for data privacy abuses related to the scandal. Last December, Meta agreed to a $750 million settlement to resolve a class-action lawsuit accusing the company of sharing data with third parties, including Cambridge Analytica. Last month, a Delaware judge rejected Facebook’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit brought by shareholders over Cambridge Analytica’s use of data.

Background: Cambridge Analytica revealed Facebook’s privacy issues.

In 2010, Facebook began a program called Open Graph, which gave developers access to the social network’s data. Thousands of companies and researchers took advantage of the program.

One of the researchers was Aleksandr Kogan, who in 2013 created a quiz app for Facebook users that collected data on users and their connections on Facebook for psychological profiling.

In 2018, news reports revealed that Mr. Kogan had given the Facebook data from as many as 87 million users to Cambridge Analytica, which used the information to build political profiles for voter targeting by campaigns. At the time, Facebook’s privacy practices and data use by other parties were not well understood. The Cambridge Analytica revelations showed how far Facebook user data could travel.

Cecilia Kang covers technology and regulation and joined The Times in 2015. She is a co-author, along with Sheera Frenkel of The Times, of “An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook's Battle for Domination.” @ ceciliakang

Top 21 Management Reporting Best Practices To Create Effective Reports

Top 21 management reporting best practices blog by datapine

Table of Contents

1) What Is A Management Report?

2) Financial vs. Management Reports

3) Management Reporting Best Practices & Examples

4) Management Reporting Trends & History

5) Importance Of Management Reports

6) Types Of Management Reports

7) Management Reporting System Functionalities

8) Best Practices Summary

Management reporting is a source of business intelligence that helps business leaders in making more accurate, data-driven decisions. But, these reports are only as useful as the work that goes into preparing and presenting them. In this blog post, we’re going to give a bit of background and context about management reports, and then we’re going to outline 21 essential best practices you can use to be sure your reports are effective.

We’ll also examine some of the examples that illustrate these practices in action created with modern online reporting tools . By the end of this article, making stunning and useful managerial reports will be second nature to you. But before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s start with the basic definition.

What Is A Management Report?

A management dashboard example visualizing the number of paying customers, ARPU, CAC, CLTV, and MRR over the course of a month.

Management reporting or reports are analytical tools used by managers to inform the performance of the business in several areas and departments. Senior executives and leadership use them to drive their strategic decisions and monitor business growth with real-time indicators.  

They basically show the worth of your business over a specific time period by disclosing financial and operational information. Reporting for management provides insights on how the organization is doing, empowering decision-makers to find the right path to increase operating efficiency and make pertinent decisions to remain competitive. To do so, many companies use professional management reporting software .

Backed up with powerful visualizations developed with a dashboard creator , no information can stay hidden, eliminating thus the possibility of human errors and negative business impact. The image above is a management report example focusing on a SaaS business. Throughout this post, we will cover different management reporting examples for different industries and departments to help you understand the power of these modern reports.

At The Beginning, Financial Reports

Most people in business are familiar with financial reports, which your business is required to keep for external accounting purposes. These reports are generally put out “after the fact” and follow a very clear and established set of guidelines known as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

While such reports are useful for legal purposes, they’re not ideal for decision-making. They give you a bird's eye view of your business operations, but without the actionable insights that are useful for making strategic choices. They’re also slow. As Tyrone Cotie, treasurer of Clearwater Seafoods says in 2015 Benchmarking the Accounting & Finance Function report, “…no matter how quickly you compile and release historical financial statements, you never make a decision from them. The challenge for finance is getting timely and accurate analysis that’s forward-looking and helps us make decisions.” This statement is valid today and, probably, in the future as well. Why?

Because this mismatch between usefulness and reality comes from the fact that financial reports were never designed to be useful: they were designed to satisfy legal requirements. They were using historical data only.

Trying to make financial management reports useful

The mentioned mismatch led some companies to try to use their financial reports for legal purposes as decision-making tools by including additional information in them. While this approach has some merit, it has one big drawback: increased complexity and time cost. Considering that financial reports have to hit specific legal deadlines and that any additional information will cause them to be prepared in a more time-intensive way, this approach of “hybridizing” financial reports into management + finances is not recommended. Thus, the practice of management reporting separately from financial reporting came about. Managerial reports use a lot of the same data as financial reports but are presented in a more useful way, for example via interactive management dashboards .

As a Growthforce article states, management reporting helps answer some of the following questions for a CEO:

To answer these questions, you will need a financial management report, focused not on legal requirements, but on business-level, and decision-making ones. In essence, analysis reports are a specific form of business intelligence that has been around for a while. However, the use of dashboards, big data, and predictive analytics is changing the face of this kind of reporting.

Before moving on to our list of best practices we leave you an image to help you easily visualize the differences between these two types of reports.

Differences between traditional financial reports and modern management reports

**click to enlarge**

What Should Be Included In A Management Report: Top 21 Best Practices, Examples & Templates

We’ve asked the question: ‘ what is a management report?’ and explored the clear-cut benefits of an effective managerial report. Now, it’s time to consider the management reporting best practices.

Here, we’ll explore 21 essential tips, looking at management reports examples while considering how you can apply these principles to different types of management reports.

1) Set the strategic goals and objectives

For every report that you will write, you will need to start with the end in mind. Why do you need that report in the first place? Do you know the key drivers of your business? How can you tell if your pricing is correct? How do you define success? Ask yourself some important data analysis questions that will allow you to address the needs of the report.

Once you know what you are monitoring and why it will be much easier to set the performance indicators that will track each specific aspect of the performance. Don’t go further in the reporting process until you have set at least two to three goals.

2) Gather and clean your data 

After you’ve set strategic and operational goals for the organization, your next step is to collect the information needed to track the success and performance of your efforts towards achieving those goals. Now, an important point to consider here is to pick only the data that will assist you in tracking your goals. Businesses gather an infinite amount of information coming from customers, sales, marketing, and much more, and tracking everything can become overwhelming and counterproductive. Instead, pick the sources of data that you actually need and move on to the cleaning stage. 

Once you have selected your sources, you need to ensure your data is clean and ready to be analyzed. When we say clean your data, what we mean is erasing any duplicates, missing codes, or incorrectly formatted data that can damage your analysis in the future. If just by reading this you are thinking “what a tedious process this must be”, it's because it is. Cleaning your data manually requires a lot of time and effort. That said, there are many online data analysis tools out there that automate this process to save you countless hours of work and prevent any risk of human error. 

3)  Pick the right KPIs for your audience

OK – so you know that you need to focus on a small number of KPIs. Which ones should you be putting on?

It really depends on your audience – both on their job function, and their level of seniority. For example, a junior sales manager and a junior marketing manager are both going to want to see different indicators. And the junior marketing manager is going to be interested in different data than the head of marketing. Good KPI management is critical in the process of manager reporting. A good way to think about the challenge of picking the correct metrics is to think: what data-driven questions will the readers of this report want to be answered? A sales manager might be interested in which of his reps is performing better, while an inbound marketing manager might want to know which piece of content is performing better in terms of new email signups. Only after answering this question, you will be able to address your audience’s expectations and benefit from effective reporting. You can also read our KPI reports article where you can find precious advice on how to pick your KPIs.

Hereafter is an investment management reporting dashboard for investors that illustrates this practice well. It focuses entirely on variables that investors would care about, including the share price and the price-to-earnings ratio.

Management report for investors focusing on KPIs investor-oriented: Return on Asset, Return on Equity, Debt-Equity ratio, Share Price, P/E ratio, and Working-Capital ratio

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4) Take customer feedback into consideration in your reports

An additional management reporting best practice is using customer service analytics to draw conclusions from your client's feedback. Customer feedback plays into the overall performance of an organization as it caters to the organization’s ability to meet the needs of its customers. Customer feedback not only helps teams gauge what they’re doing wrong on their digital channels but also what they’re doing right .

Reporting on insights from feedback surveys can aid in forming a more data-driven digital strategy. For example, it can be leveraged to inform your product roadmap, identify pain points across the website (usability), and boost overall customer satisfaction.

Is it overall customer satisfaction you wish to report on? Dive into your charts and show the rise (or fall) of your Net Promoter Score (NPS). Then take it one step further and analyze open comments associated with your scores to uncover what’s causing the drop. From here you can formulate a strategy for boosting the organization’s NPS.

Here is an illustration of an NPS (feedback) chart:

NPS and CES development by month, depicted on a line chart throughout the year

5) Tell a story with your data

Our next tip zooms out of hard data and figures to focus more on the style and how to present your raw content. Human beings are primarily persuaded through 3 different types of information: context, content, and meaning. When you tell a story using the insights on your report, you can utilize all of them. This form of storytelling is challenging, but you have a few tools at your disposal and some tips:

Hereafter is a good management report example of storytelling, mainly thanks to the three large historical graphs taking up most of the display:

Financial executive reporting telling a story thanks to historical graphs (Revenue, Operational expenses and Earning before interest) that are displayed so as to be the most important graphs, with additional info on their side (Gross Profit Margin, OPEX ratio, EBIT Margin, Net Profit Margin, etc.)

Let’s take a real-world example of how you can selectively use metrics to tell a specific story: you are the head of marketing and need to justify your current expenditures on content marketing to the CEO. She doesn’t care about email signups or page visits. No, your CEO is interested in revenue and ROI (an essential element of any effective financial management report). It is your job to connect the KPIs you look at revenue so that your CEO understands how important funding your department is.

You could show her the following variables to tell a story:

Using all of this information, you can answer the following question: how much new revenue is being driven by your new content marketing strategy?

This is the kind of story that can make or break funding allocation for a department.

6) Make your report visually pleasing through focus

The human mind cannot process too much data at a time without getting overwhelmed. Getting overwhelmed leads to decision fatigue – which makes it harder for your management team to think strategically. That’s why when it comes to this level of reporting, you should remember the mantra of “less is more”. As a rough rule of thumb, displaying three to six KPIs on a report is a good range, and going too much beyond this is not the best idea.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t have other data presented – but you must have a clear hierarchy of visual importance in your report, and only give the most important spots to your indicators. Other metrics should occupy secondary or tertiary positions. State-of-the-art online dashboard software allows you to easily build interactive KPI dashboards in no time that will become your prime asset when you’ll need to convey your information.

The following cash management reporting example is good to showcase this best practice:

Management report of Revenue and Customer Overview, displaying 4 main KPIs in order of importance and comparing to the previous year, with the purpose of telling a clear story

The four KPIs in this report template are prominently displayed:

These metrics are set in context with historic trends, targets for the period, or other metrics like Customer Lifetime Value, causing this focused graph to tell a story.

7) Make your report very clear

In business writing and management reporting, clarity is the primary objective. This has several implications for your report design:

For more tips & tricks on data-efficient reporting, you can read one of our previous blog posts on how to create data reports people love to read.

8) Be mindful not to mislead 

As you learned in our two previous points, making your reports visually appealing and following design best practices is a fundamental aspect to achieve a successful management reporting process. Another important aspect to consider in this regard is to be mindful of the way the information is presented to avoid being misleading. As a manager generating a report, it is very likely that you will have a diverse audience which can include people that are not familiar with the data presented in them. For this reason, following some best practices to avoid your reports to be misleading can help you keep your work objective and easy to understand. 

9) Go digital!

An important best practice for management reporting is to ditch paper-based reports and go digital. Online KPI reporting software is a great asset for your business, as they offer real-time updating capabilities, saves money, and reduces waste.

These digital reports can be made to be interactive, allowing you to get more granular or zoom out as you please. What’s more, they are collaborative tools that let your team onboard the analytics train and work conjointly on the same report. Another example we will provide you with is the following marketing KPI report:

Marketing report for management, with main KPIs about costs and revenue

This is the perfect type of report a management team needs to ensure actionable, data-driven decisions: a high-level overview of the marketing performance is given. Indeed, focusing on the click-through rate, the website traffic evolution or page views wouldn’t make sense. On the other hand, the big picture of how the marketing department works as a whole will be more appreciated: total revenue generated standing next to the total spend, the profit that came out of it, the return on investment, etc.

10) Strike a balance with your visualizations

We’ve established that making your report clear is vital to success. Another way of making sure that your management report format is digestible is to make your various visualizations balanced on the page. Our SaaS executive dashboard is an excellent example of a visually balanced management report format:

A management report visualizing the number of paying customers, ARPU, CAC, CLTV, and MRR over the course of a month.

The primary focus of this particular example is to provide a customer-centric view of the costs, revenue, and performance stability of your SaaS-based activities from a senior standpoint.

As you can see, our SaaS executive dashboard serves up 4 performance indicators (Customer Acquisition Costs, Customer Lifetime Value, ARPU, and MRR) to offer a concise snapshot for senior decision-makers, with each visualization selected based on their ability to offer at-a-glance information without clashing or creating confusion.

When choosing types of graphs and charts , it’s important to consider basic design principles while also considering whether each chart, graph, or display works cohesively to provide essential information without causing conflict or consuming too much time.

By considering the previous management reporting best practices, testing your visualization choices, and considering your core goals throughout, you’ll create a managerial report that gets real results.

11) Make your report scannable & drillable

It’s clear that going digital with your management reporting system is essential in our tech-driven age. And, as we touched on earlier, two of the significant advantages of these systems are interactive functionality and customizable features.

By being able to customize your reports with ease while taking advantage of interactive features, you can build on your data visualization selection and design practices to ensure your management report template is both scannable & drillable.

Take this dynamic project management reporting example, for instance:

One of our management reporting examples: IT project management depicting the budget, workload, overdue tasks, upcoming deadlines, among others

By making customizations and using interactive functions to drill down deeper into particular pockets of information, this IT report sample is effective for quick access to real-time project performance information as well as comprehensive trend-based data.

Working from the top left to the top right and down the project dashboard in a logical format, you can see the dashboard is entirely scannable and customized for cherry-picking important metrics. Here, it’s possible to get a clear gauge of project progress, looming deadlines, budgets, and workloads by simply scanning the page.

Plus, by taking advantage of interactive features and drill-down boxes, it’s possible to dig deeper into your data as required. By embracing customizable and interactive dashboard features, you can build your creations flexibly, working in real-time or with monthly management report tools. If you want to track your progress in a different format, you can take a look at our KPI scorecard article and organize your milestones differently.

12) Deliver real-time data that aligns with your objectives

Regarding major types of management reports, it’s important to understand when to lean on real-time insights, knowing when to use this kind of dynamic data is the most prominent feature of your dashboard.

We’ve covered the importance of storytelling and selecting a balanced mix of KPIs (for past, predictive, and real-time insights). But what is important to consider with any management report sample is making sure your real-time insights fully align with your objectives.

The next of our management reports examples comes in the form of our energy dashboard - a prime representation of well-placed real-time insights:

Energy management dashboard with selected KPIs

Energy management is challenging as it requires quick responses to potential issues or inefficiencies to prevent major losses or problem escalations by utilizing modern energy analytics solutions. As demonstrated in this most insightful example, while you can see a mix of data types, the real-time metrics reflect the core aims of monitoring energy consumption and improving powercut management.

When creating your report, here’s what you should do to ensure your real-time data aligns with your primary goals:

13) Try Predictive Analytics & AI Technologies 

Following the line of real-time data, our next best practice is related to advanced management reporting systems. To extract the maximum potential out of your management reports, you need to be sure you invest in a tool that will make your process easier, more automated, and more time-efficient. To help you with this purpose, there are several business analytics tools in the market that can offer you these types of solutions. Let’s look at what you can achieve with these technologies. 

Predictive analytics: Unlike not many other solutions out there, datapine provides a predictive analytics tool that takes historical data in order to predict future outcomes into your business performance. Getting these kinds of predictions is valuable as it will let you prepare in advance for the future and spot any potential issues before they happen. 

Artificial intelligence (AI): As we’ve mentioned a few times throughout this post, management reports should make your life easier. For this reason, embracing the powers of AI can take your managerial data to the next level. datapine’s intelligent alerts use neural networks to learn from trends and patterns in your data so they can later notify you if something unusual happens. All you need to do is set predefined targets or goals and the alerts will set off as soon as a goal is met or something is not going as planned. 

14) Keep your dashboards actionable and improve constantly

Expanding on the previous point: whether a financial management report, a monthly management report or any other type of senior dashboard, continual improvements will ensure your offerings remain relevant and actionable.

The digital world is constantly evolving, and as such, business goals, aims, strategies, and initiatives are always changing to adapt to the landscape around them. To ensure your reports work for you on a sustainable basis, you should periodically test each report to check for any irrelevant KPIs while looking for any reporting inefficiencies. This can be done simply by utilizing visual analytics tools that use the power of visualization to ensure your reporting stays on course and improves your business's bottom line.

At this point, you’ll have already laid out the framework for your reports, and by committing ample time to make updates as well as improvements, you’ll remain one step ahead of the competition at all times. Get testing!

15) Develop your reports collaboratively

Managerial reporting systems are designed to offer insight, clarity, and direction.

To squeeze every last drop of value from your managerial reports, you must commit to developing your reports according to the landscape around you—and the best way to do so is as a team.

By taking a collaborative approach to your company management report initiatives, you will increase your chances of making tweaks or enhancements that offer a real benefit to your business.

Suppose you're in charge of financial management reporting, for instance. In that case, you should create a tight-knit workgroup of relevant specialists within your organization to gather on a regular basis and assess the relevance of your KPIs or metrics.

With this mix of professional perspectives, you will gain the power to spot any existing report management system weaknesses (outdated visualizations, inefficient reporting layouts, unnecessary data, etc.) to ensure that your accounting management reports not only capture every valuable fiscal insight but work in a way that gives every user the tools to perform to the best of their abilities.

As modern management reporting templates offer flexible 24/7 access across a multitude of devices, it’s possible to develop or evolve your visualizations and insights collaboratively on a remote basis, if required.

16) Create a sense of cohesion & consistency

Concerning financial management reporting best practices, our dynamic financial dashboard is as good as it gets. With a balanced mix of scannable visualizations and KPIs designed to drill down into the four primary areas of CFO management, this particular tool demonstrates the unrivaled value of internal management reporting.

One of our management reports examples focused on Chief Financial Officer's data such as revenue, EBIT, operations expenses, etc

Here, everything is geared towards striking a balance between economic value, improved financial performance, and ongoing employee satisfaction, presented in a logical and digestible format for swift decision-making even under pressure.

One of the main reasons this CFO manager report template works so well is it is functional as well as visual cohesion and consistency. Every key element is neatly segmented on screen, with charts that offer a wealth of relevant information at a glance.

As you can see, everything flows, each element fits into the right place, the colors and tones are cohesive, and it’s clear where you need to look when you need very specific nuggets of information at the moment.

Using this template as a working example, which you can adjust also as a CEO dashboard , you can create various types of reports in management with visual and practical consistency and cohesion at the forefront of your mind. If something appears out of place or creates friction, go back to the drawing board and start again until everything is harmonious and offers genuine value.

17) Compartmentalize your data effectively

A striking sample management report, our interactive IT dashboard is a dynamic informational toolkit for anyone leading a company’s technical innovation and progress.

A dashboard showing relevant metrics focused on internal processes, learning, finance and customers, and users, important for modern CTOs

Whether you’re a small, medium, or large business (and regardless of your sector), our CTO-centric management reports template focuses on minimizing technical issues, streamlining tech-based processes, improving team attrition rates, managing new developments, and more.

In addition to its streamlined functionality and sheer reporting power, one of the key reasons this managerial report example is so powerful is its effective compartmentalization. Expanding on our last trip, by focusing on cohesion before considering how you will compartmentalize your insights, you will consistently get the most from your management reporting efforts.

We touched on this before, but it’s a vital component of reporting, so it’s worth covering in further detail: once you’ve committed to your data and visual KPIs, examine how each key element fits into your report and place it into the ‘right compartment’ on-page.

Looking at the CTO dashboard, each core branch of information is split into a box under a clear-cut subheading. Within each of these compartmentalizations, there is clearly labeled data, insights, and visualizations.

By drilling down further into how you compartmentalize your reports, you will give yourself the ability to analyze one area of information or grab an entire snapshot at a simple glance. As a result, you will improve your business performance and streamline your decision-making process.

18) Create a scannable timeline

Employee management reporting help managers make vital improvements to specific functions of the business with clear-cut direction and complete confidence.

Our HR dashboard — a must for any modern HR department — exists to help personnel-based managers keep their employees happy, engaged, and motivated. Employees who feel valued and engaged in the business are generally more productive and more creative, so looking after your talent the right way should be one of your company’s top priorities — no exceptions.

Managerial report example showing talent management metrics such as the hiring stats, talent turnover rate, fired talents, satisfaction, and rating

When it comes to HR, managers need to take care of many tasks which include picking the best payroll system, conducting performance reviews to ensure productivity, hiring the right talents, and more. Putting the talent area into perspective, our HR management reporting template serves up a perfect storm of data-driven insights that covers staff turnover, dismissal, rising talent, and overall satisfaction levels. For example, the talent satisfaction KPI for HR managers gives you a clear overview of whether your business gives enough incentives to satisfy your current workforce.

But not only here, but you will also gain a deep working insight into where you might be going wrong while capitalizing on your strengths and, ultimately, offering the right reward, recognition, training, and support where needed.

What makes this workforce management reporting example so successful is the fact that it provides a solid timeline of information. By working down or across, you can access an excellent balance of historical, real-time, and predictive knowledge with ease.

As such, this report paints a data-centric timeline that will empower any HR manager to examine trends, understand fluctuations in employee engagement rates, and create viable strategies that increase retention while boosting productivity.

The takeaway here? When considering the contents of a good management report, it’s always important to look at how your visualizations and design layout create a timeline that allows you to formulate initiatives that will benefit the business both in the moment and in the future.

19) Embed your reports  

As we are about to reach the end of this insightful list of tips and best practices, we couldn’t leave out one of the technologies that have revolutionized the reporting landscape: embedding analytics. Essentially, embedding a report means integrating all the functionalities of a business intelligence reporting software such as dashboards, charts, and more, into your company’s existing system. 

Having access to this type of technology is not only way cheaper as your company doesn’t need to invest in creating a system of their own, but it can also provide a great competitive advantage. Embedded dashboards and reports are fully customized to the colors, logo, and font of the organization, allowing employees and managers to enjoy all the functionalities of a reporting system in a familiar environment which can boost productivity and performance. 

20) Explore self-service analytics tools 

The times when financial or management reports were only meant for analysts or scientists are long gone. In today’s data-driven era, if a business wants to fully succeed and get an advantage over competitors they need to make sure that everyone in its organization can benefit from data analysis. For this purpose, implementing a self-service business intelligence tool can be the answer. 

In simple words, self-service BI refers to the process or tools companies use to analyze and visualize their data without needing any prior technical skills. Management reporting systems such as datapine include a user-friendly interface as well as an intuitive dashboard designer that will allow you and anyone in your business to visualize insights from several sources and create powerful reports with just a few clicks. Businesses that benefit from these types of solutions can extract valuable information into their performance and constantly spot improvement opportunities. 

21) Encourage a data-driven culture

Following on from the prior point, by implementing self-service solutions you will gain an invaluable benefit: a data-driven culture for your business. Your company culture is the blueprint for how your business runs as well as how everyone within your business interacts or operates internally. Naturally, your internal culture will have a notable impact on the way your clients, customers, and affiliates view your business.

Seventy-eight percent of top business leaders believe that company culture is among the top five things that add value to their company. That said, if you want to maximize the power and wider organizational values of your data-driven reporting efforts, you should make it a key component of your company culture.

If you place the value of data and using it to its maximum capabilities at the heart of your company culture, you will empower everyone to embrace and make use of the reporting tools that will improve their performance while making their roles easier (which, in turn, will boost employee satisfaction levels).

To do so, you should hold regular meetings to explain how data reporting can benefit every department within your organization while holding educational workshops where everyone within the business can learn how to use the tools.

Let’s now go over the history of these reports, where they come from, and how they have been developed.

History And Trends Of Management Reporting

In the past, legacy systems were used to prepare reports for management – and still are, in many cases. These systems are much more useful than financial reports but still, have their drawbacks. Legacy systems are often quite technical in their operation and interface, which makes them challenging for most non-IT personnel to use effectively. This creates a situation of “lag time” between a member of management wanting a report and actually receiving it.

In modern times, with the breadth and depth of data available growing at an astonishing rate, these challenges have only escalated. As Peter Wollmert, an EY global leader, stated in a quote from a Financial Director article: “Many [CFOs] are encumbered by legacy systems that do not allow reporting teams to extract forward-looking insight from large, fast-changing data sets”.

To put the rise of management reporting into perspective let’s analyze the results of Deloitte’s survey about the changes in this managerial practice. As we mentioned before, top managers are no longer satisfied with static financial reports that don’t provide the level of insights the business needs to grow. Although getting a clear picture of a company’s finances is fundamental, modern management reports provide the context and reasons behind the business's financial results, which makes it possible to go deeper into the roots for better decision-making. 

Although managers have the willingness to adopt these reporting practices, the survey shows that only 24% of the reporting time is actually spent doing analysis and building strategies. The reason is businesses today are still spending an insane amount of time building their reports. Paired to this, 50% of respondents said they were unsatisfied with the speed of delivery and the quality of the reports they receive. 

What businesses need today are management reporting systems that will provide them with the perfect mix of internal and external real-time data to put their business performance into context and drive those much-wanted business insights. 

Tools such as datapine provide businesses with an all-in-one management reporting system in which they can connect all their data sources to create real-time automated reports in the form of professional business dashboards . By adopting this type of technology managers and their teams can save countless hours on manually gathering the data and creating the reports and spend all the necessary time monitoring and analyzing their performance in the most interactive and efficient way. 

Why Is It Important To Write A Management Report?

For any function and in any industry, reports are more than useful, they are crucial to the well-functioning of the company.

Reporting is all the more important in management as it has higher stakes and holds bigger, cross-disciplinary decisions. In general, reports are important to management for various reasons: they measure strategic metrics to assess and monitor the performance, they set benchmarks about said performance, enable the business to learn from its activity by leaving a track record and finally enhance communication. Here’s a short list of management reporting benefits:

Essential Types Of Management Reports

As we’ve mentioned throughout this post there is an immense amount of growth possibilities when implementing a modern management reporting system in your business. To finalize interiorizing you into the benefits of these powerful tools we will mention 5 essential types of management reports you can adopt for different analytical purposes. 

What Should A Successful Management Reporting System Include?

During our 21 tips to generate efficient management reports we presented you with a few features any software worth its salt should include such as real-time data, embedding capabilities, predictive analytics technologies, and more. A management reporting system that wants to be successful in today’s fast-paced world, needs to support itself with a set of functionalities and technologies that will make it more efficient in various aspects. Paired to the features we already presented before, a couple of others that are fundamental include: 

If you’ve ever dealt with generating a report then you must be aware of the fact that manual work is the enemy of productivity. For this reason, your management reporting system should provide you with the possibility to automatically connect multiple external and internal data sources with just a few clicks. Management reporting tools, such as datapine, offer professional data connectors that allow users to merge all their sources into one location. The best part is that the information in them is updated automatically, eliminating any kind of manual work from the process.  

Another important functionality is user-friendliness and accessibility. Analytics has become a mandatory practice for modern businesses, meaning generating reports and analyzing the information in them is a task that cannot be segregated to people with technical knowledge anymore. When investing in professional software, make sure it has a user-friendly interface that anyone in your organization can use. This way, you’ll make sure all employees are empowered to integrate data into their daily routines. 

While report generation is an important part to consider, data exploration is equally as important. Traditional reports created on PowerPoint or Excel, often limit users to only analyze the information that is visually available. Modern management reports should be interactive and provide a set of filters that allow users to navigate the data and extract deeper conclusions from it. For instance, datapine’s drill down filter allows you to explore lower levels of data just by clicking on a specific chart. For example, say you have a chart showing sales by product category. A drill down would allow you to click on a specific category and see the best-selling products in that category. This proves to be a great method to support discussions and make more improved strategic decisions. 

Going back to the first point, automation is key when it comes to achieving an efficient management reporting process. We already talked about merging your sources of information as a key automation feature. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Any reporting system worth its salt should also provide other automation features such as report automation and sharing. This means, telling the tool that you want to generate a report with specific data in it and you want it sent to a specific recipient on a specific date and time, and the system should do it on its own. Relying on automation for various tasks that would otherwise take a lot of time and resources, is a great way to focus your efforts on growing the business and carrying out successful strategies. 

How To Prepare A Management Report – Summary

Blackboard showing a summary of the 21 management reporting best practices by datapine

To sum up the main steps we have explored throughout this guide and cement our understanding of the question “what is management reporting,”, here is a list of the ten management reporting best practices you should use to prepare a solid report or overview. By taking the time to get acquainted with these approaches, you will boost your business intelligence (BI) initiatives sooner than you think.

Without further ado, let’s summarize:

With all of these reporting best practices, you can now perform online reporting that will help your company’s leaders to make effective, data-driven decisions. 

Key Takeaways Management Reporting 

On our journey, we’ve considered the question, “what is management reporting,” outlined the management reporting definition , looked at management reports examples, explored best practices, and drilled down into the business-boosting benefits of dynamic digital dashboards.

It’s clear that by embracing the wealth of digital data available to your business and harnessing it effectively, you stand to make the kind of management decisions that will drive your organization forward with force, accelerating your success in the process.

In a nutshell, you should follow the management reporting examples by hand-picking a few relevant KPIs to display and tell a clear story with your data. It’s also essential to work collaboratively, creating a healthy ecosystem of data-driven innovation that will empower everyone in the business to benefit from the unrivaled power of managerial-style reporting. Knowledge is indeed power, and if your business runs on it, you will reap great rewards, both now and in the long run.

Combine this concept with the help of our BI dashboard software which will empower you to work on the evolution of your data in real-time while enabling you to create efficient dashboards, and you will drive your business well above the competition.

Take charge of professional destiny today by trying datapine with a 14-day trial , completely free, and start creating your own reports just with a few clicks!

Understanding Data Reporting: Types, Benefits and Examples

reports the data

Companies won't make it far if they don't collect, track, and analyze data. The breadth of gathered information may seem overwhelming: marketing campaigns, sales figures, team efficiency, key performance indicators, various metrics, and statistics. But just like a pinging heartbeat monitor, data reports signal how a business is doing.

In this article, we'll walk you through the must-knows, cover the different types of data reports and their advantages for business, as well as provide data report examples.

What Is Data Reporting?

The main purpose of reporting is to collect data that'll help to evaluate, assess, and analyze business performance based on the obtained facts and latest figures.

But what is a data report? It is a presentation of the gathered and merged information from multiple sources. It can serve as an organized and timely record showing the current state or the dynamics of selected criteria over a period of time.

Defining data reporting

In the old days, such data was handled manually with lots of amendments and calculations done by hand. Obviously, this time-consuming way of how to report data required many resources and often lacked the freshest updates.

Modern reporting tools (as well as product analytics platforms like Mixpanel or Amplitude ) help to automate and upscale reporting so they become simple to comprehend and digest. By using information that's well-formatted and updated in real-time, a decision-maker can draw conclusions and take action faster (for instance, amend the strategies or effectively make informed calls).

As a rule, data reports may come in various formats . These can be:

Why Is Reporting Important?

While the necessity for a business to handle data analytics is pretty straightforward, many companies still face several challenges.

One of them is that not all employees are as "analytics-literate" as you'd want them to be. This is because analytics may be hard to grasp if data reporting isn't addressed optimally.

If reports take too long to create or understand , this is another red flag. You'd be surprised how many businesses in the 2020s still rely on good-old static PDFs and Excel spreadsheets which may take forever to scroll through, let alone to figure out.

At this point, you're probably picturing bored faces blankly staring at their screens or dozing off. But this problem may be more significant than you think. According to Towards Data Science , 74% of employees admit feeling unhappy or overwhelmed when working with data, while 14% prefer to avoid such tasks altogether. Topping that, an impressive percentage of employees claim that data analytics tasks cause stress or burnout and result in procrastination.

Statistics on employees and data analytics

This is bad news for businesses. But even more so, sloppy or overcomplicated data reports often lead to miscomprehension and missed opportunities since pivotal indicators are left unnoticed.

What if you could have cut down costs on a tactic that isn't returning needed profit? Or what if better online reporting would allow your organization to predict the market changes and get prepared instead of missing out?

The bottom line is that a business will gain more if analytics stops being a hassle. By implementing automation for your business with Bik and using custom-built reporting solutions, organizations get a chance to eliminate loads of manual work and reduce human errors.

When utilized wisely, data reports become easier to cope with and can serve as an all-encompassing source of priceless information that reflects the current state of the company's core processes. This is why you should take data visualization reports seriously, as they allow for further analysis and lead to improved decision-making.

reports the data

What Are the Benefits of Data Reporting?

When modern tools and data analytics perform in a duet, tangible value is seen almost immediately. Modern data analysis reports come in different shapes and sizes. And the best part is that they no longer have to be those run-on spreadsheets with pages of explanations that are exhausting to work with. With a proper approach, data reporting may become a fundamental basis for business growth.

Below we list some notable advantages of data reporting .

5 Main Data Reporting Benefits

1. The team has a better understanding of the big picture

A simple-to-use dashboard that pulls data from reports in real-time keeps more people on track. It makes crucial information accessible and defies the boundaries between analytics-savvy specialists and regular users, making complex graphs a thing of the past. As a result, you get a team that's in sync and easily crunching data.

2. Not missing critical insights

Once again, simplicity is the biggest ally of data reports. When you see the updates in real-time, it lowers your chances of important business discoveries slipping away from your sight. This includes both positive and negative aspects such as sudden conversion drops or, on the contrary, opportunities to make additional profit. You get control over the data that may have previously been a hassle.

3. Faster and more informed decision-making

It may sound disappointing, but many wrong decisions have led to budget drain specifically because data didn't back the assumptions. And this could have been avoided if a business had taken a step up with its data reporting. Curated data that is organized and well-presented simplifies perception. 

Yes, the business world is still very unpredictable, but just as with weather forecasts, you can make more precise calls if you monitor the situation in real-time instead of taking wild guesses. 

4. Enhanced budget distribution and planning

Resources allocation and determining the business or startup budget flow are not simple tasks. Yet when reporting data, all the information is available at a glance, so you can save money and know which areas need more resources and where you should cut costs.

5. Plenty of room for customization

Regardless of the path you take, it's possible to tweak data reports around your needs. Depending on the purpose and requirements, you may craft the reports or dashboards to suit various objectives, enhancing their designs in terms of usability. Flexibility is among the things that make data visualization reports so great.

Need a hand with data reporting?

Don't be shy to reach out, Upsilon's team is always ready to assist with data report optimization.

Types of Data Reports

Many innovations of the digital age have been recently transforming the approach to business and startup analytics , reporting, and data management. Of course, enhanced data curation upscales these processes, paving the way to important insights and gains.

As briefly mentioned, data reporting may come in a variety of forms. Depending on the purpose and needs of an organization, data reports may be of different types , including:

Things to Consider When Reporting Data

A data report in itself isn't a magic wand. And if you want it to serve its purpose, the solution must be feasible and created with due thought. Here are several tips you should note when approaching the matter of how to report data properly.

Data reporting tips

1. Define the purpose of the report

Aiming at a detail-oriented report is wise, but squeezing too many things in one place is a common mistake. This is especially the case when a report or dashboard started out as something easy to comprehend but grew to become a complicated mess.

To avoid this, do your best to identify what this report is for. List your main questions and decide whether their corresponding metrics can coexist in one dashboard or need to be split.

2. Decide on the metrics and data sources

Where will the data be gathered from? How will it be merged and blended? How are you going to evaluate and analyze the incoming data? You get one step closer to a good report by pinning down the major indicators.

The same goes for resources, as the inputs need to be clear to obtain accurate results when reporting data. Though you may have many data sources collected from multiple platforms and channels, the information needs to be unified and organized in one central system.

3. Who will use the report?

There are many data report examples when reports are put together without keeping the user in mind. For instance, although a marketer and sales specialist may both care about conversion rates, the data that's of interest for each of them may be different. Therefore, make your solution adjustable according to the user or make separate solutions for various roles.

Likewise, mind the accessibility of the information as collaboration is key. Ideally, a user should have access to data from various devices, allowing for round-the-clock availability even via a mobile device.

4. Mind usability

Your data reports must be simple to follow and navigate. So you need to consider your use of colors, structure, layouts, and element placement. By extracting the essentials, you make data relevance a priority. Adding filters and optimal formats to your data visualization reports can help users modify the parameters and find answers to their questions more effectively.

5. Check data accuracy

You should also prioritize the quality of the displayed information in your reports. You wouldn't want to deal with inaccurate data or that shown with the wrong timing, right? So check twice that your data is correct and readily available, for example, delivering the right information in real-time or for a chosen period (week, month, quarter, etc.). Automation is your biggest helper in this respect.

Not sure where to start with data reports?

Data reporting can become solid analytics leverage. Feel free to discuss your needs with us!

Upsilon's Experience with Data Reporting

Upsilon has been delivering high-end data visualization services and reporting solutions for quite a while now. So, to provide you with specific data visualization report examples that we've worked on, we'd like to tell you about the fully customizable reports we've created for Collectrium .

The objective was to develop a reporting solution allowing collectors to easily craft detailed reports containing all the vital information about an art object or collection. The process of making as many reports as you want needed to be simple, fast, and straightforward. At the same time, the data shown in the reports had to provide a structured representation of the art collections in an easy-to-comprehend format.

Flexibility and convenience were among the priorities. So we built templates, fitted the reports with customizable fields and layouts, and organized the process in simple-to-follow steps. Thanks to the implementation of droplists, filters, and ready-made blocks, filling out the details of every object is effortless.

Collectrium data report

Furthermore, the data reporting solution is now an integral part of Collectrium's customizable dashboard , which includes neat data visualization for key operations using diagrams, charts, and other means.

Collectrium Dashboard

Over to You

With the market constantly changing, a business needs to be up-to-date and guided by the latest and most relevant data. Although the incoming information pool may be complex, flexible and modern data visualization reports come to the rescue.

When approached with due thought, they show the full panorama, allowing businesses to stay afloat and not miss a thing. Reinforced dashboards and advanced data reporting bring agility and scalability to organizations and improve their odds of staying competitive in the long run.

If you need intuitive, accessible, and actionable data reports, don't hesitate to contact us , as Upsilon's team is always glad to provide a consultation!

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How to Write a Results Section | Tips & Examples

Published on August 30, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on November 11, 2022.

A results section is where you report the main findings of the data collection and analysis you conducted for your thesis or dissertation . You should report all relevant results concisely and objectively, in a logical order. Don’t include subjective interpretations of why you found these results or what they mean—any evaluation should be saved for the discussion section .

Table of contents

How to write a results section, reporting quantitative research results, reporting qualitative research results, results vs. discussion vs. conclusion, checklist: research results, frequently asked questions about results sections.

When conducting research, it’s important to report the results of your study prior to discussing your interpretations of it. This gives your reader a clear idea of exactly what you found and keeps the data itself separate from your subjective analysis.

Here are a few best practices:

If you conducted quantitative research , you’ll likely be working with the results of some sort of statistical analysis .

Your results section should report the results of any statistical tests you used to compare groups or assess relationships between variables . It should also state whether or not each hypothesis was supported.

The most logical way to structure quantitative results is to frame them around your research questions or hypotheses. For each question or hypothesis, share:

A note on tables and figures

In quantitative research, it’s often helpful to include visual elements such as graphs, charts, and tables , but only if they are directly relevant to your results. Give these elements clear, descriptive titles and labels so that your reader can easily understand what is being shown. If you want to include any other visual elements that are more tangential in nature, consider adding a figure and table list .

As a rule of thumb:

Don’t forget to also mention any tables and figures you used within the text of your results section. Summarize or elaborate on specific aspects you think your reader should know about rather than merely restating the same numbers already shown.

Example of using figures in the results section

Figure 1: Intention to donate to environmental organizations based on social distance from impact of environmental damage.

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In qualitative research , your results might not all be directly related to specific hypotheses. In this case, you can structure your results section around key themes or topics that emerged from your analysis of the data.

For each theme, start with general observations about what the data showed. You can mention:

Next, clarify and support these points with direct quotations. Be sure to report any relevant demographic information about participants. Further information (such as full transcripts , if appropriate) can be included in an appendix .

“I think that in role-playing games, there’s more attention to character design, to world design, because the whole story is important and more attention is paid to certain game elements […] so that perhaps you do need bigger teams of creative experts than in an average shooter or something.”

Responses suggest that video game consumers consider some types of games to have more artistic potential than others.

Your results section should objectively report your findings, presenting only brief observations in relation to each question, hypothesis, or theme.

It should not  speculate about the meaning of the results or attempt to answer your main research question . Detailed interpretation of your results is more suitable for your discussion section , while synthesis of your results into an overall answer to your main research question is best left for your conclusion .

I have completed my data collection and analyzed the results.

I have included all results that are relevant to my research questions.

I have concisely and objectively reported each result, including relevant descriptive statistics and inferential statistics .

I have stated whether each hypothesis was supported or refuted.

I have used tables and figures to illustrate my results where appropriate.

All tables and figures are correctly labelled and referred to in the text.

There is no subjective interpretation or speculation on the meaning of the results.

You've finished writing up your results! Use the other checklists to further improve your thesis.

The results chapter of a thesis or dissertation presents your research results concisely and objectively.

In quantitative research , for each question or hypothesis , state:

In qualitative research , for each question or theme, describe:

Don’t interpret or speculate in the results chapter.

Results are usually written in the past tense , because they are describing the outcome of completed actions.

The results chapter or section simply and objectively reports what you found, without speculating on why you found these results. The discussion interprets the meaning of the results, puts them in context, and explains why they matter.

In qualitative research , results and discussion are sometimes combined. But in quantitative research , it’s considered important to separate the objective results from your interpretation of them.

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Full Transparency

2023 Data Breach Investigations Report: frequency and cost of social engineering attacks skyrocket

Human error continues to play a significant role in breaches across all industries.

Verizon 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report | Verizon

What you need to know:

Cost per ransomware incident doubled over the past two years, with ransomware accounting for one out of every four breaches.

Pretexting (Business Email Compromise) has more than doubled since the previous year.

The human element is involved in 3 out of 4 breaches.

Analysis of the Log4j incident illustrates the scale of the incident and the effectiveness of the coordinated response.

BASKING RIDGE, NJ – Verizon Business today released the results of its 16th annual Data Breach Investigations Report (2023 DBIR) , which analyzed 16,312 security incidents and 5,199 breaches. Chief among its findings is the soaring cost of ransomware – malicious software (malware) that encrypts an organization’s data and then extorts large sums of money to restore access.

The median cost per ransomware more than doubled over the past two years to $26,000, with 95% of incidents that experienced a loss costing between $1 and $2.25 million. This rise in cost coincides with a dramatic rise in frequency over the past couple of years when the number of ransomware attacks was greater than the previous five years combined. That prevalence held steady this year: Representing almost a quarter of all breaches (24%), ransomware remains one of the top cyberattack methods.

The human element still makes up the overwhelming majority of incidents, and is a factor in 74% of total breaches, even as enterprises continue to safeguard critical infrastructure and increase training on cybersecurity protocols. One of the most common ways to exploit human nature is social engineering, which refers to manipulating an organization's sensitive information through tactics like phishing, in which a hacker convinces the user into clicking on a malicious link or attachment.

“Senior leadership represents a growing cybersecurity threat for many organizations,” said Chris Novak, Managing Director of Cybersecurity Consulting at Verizon Business. “Not only do they possess an organization’s most sensitive information, they are often among the least protected, as many organizations make security protocol exceptions for them. With the growth and increasing sophistication of social engineering, organizations must enhance the protection of their senior leadership now to avoid expensive system intrusions.”

Like ransomware, social engineering is a lucrative tactic for cybercriminals, especially given the rise of those techniques being used to impersonate enterprise employees for financial gain, an attack known as Business Email Compromise (BEC). The median amount stolen in BECs has increased over the last couple of years to $50,000 USD, based on Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) data, which might have contributed to pretexting nearly doubling this past year. With the growth of BEC, enterprises with distributed workforces face a challenge that takes on greater importance: creating and strictly enforcing human-centric security best practices. 

"Globally, cyber threat actors continue their relentless efforts to acquire sensitive consumer and business data. The revenue generated from that information is staggering, and it's not lost on business leaders, as it is front and center at the board level," said Craig Robinson, Research Vice President at IDC. "Verizon's Data Breach Investigations Report provides deep insights into the topics that are critical to the cybersecurity industry and has become a source of truth for the business community."

In addition to the increase in social engineering, other key findings in the 2023 DBIR include: 

While espionage garners substantial media attention, owing to the current geopolitical climate, only 3% of threat actors were motivated by espionage. The other 97% were motivated by financial gain. 

32% of yearly Log4j vulnerability scanning occurred in the first 30 days after its release, demonstrating threat actors’ velocity when escalating from a proof of concept to mass exploitation.

External actors leveraged a variety of different techniques to gain entry to an organization, such as using stolen credentials (49%), phishing (12%) and exploiting vulnerabilities (5%).

One of the ways that enterprises can help safeguard their critical infrastructure is through the adoption and adherence of industry leading protocols and practices. Verizon recently  became the first nationwide telecom provider to become a participant of Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security ( MANRS ): a global initiative that provides crucial fixes to reduce the most common routing threats that can be exploited by attackers. Participation in MANRS demonstrates Verizon’s commitment to implementing industry best fixes to common routing threats and best practices geared at helping to prevent cyber incidents for customers on the network.

View 2023 Data Breach Investigation Report:


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The Verizon Mobile Security Index 2022 reveals that there is a continued rise in major cyberattacks in the last year involving a mobile/IoT device, up 22% year-over-year

The Verizon Business 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report (2022 DBIR) examines an unprecedented year in cybersecurity history, and sheds light on some of the leading issues


A newsletter briefing on cybersecurity news and policy.

New report scrutinizes ransomware, human failings in cyber, log4j and more

reports the data

with research by David DiMolfetta

Welcome to The Cybersecurity 202! I’m often recommending TV shows and movies here, but I’d like to recommend the book “Recursion,” by Blake Crouch. It would be irresponsible to tell you the plot, but it’s equal parts science fiction and thriller. If that description works for you, then you should give it a try.

Reading this online? Sign up for The Cybersecurity 202 to get scoops and sharp analysis in your inbox each morning.

Below: A deepfake of President Vladimir Putin aired in Russia, and Twitter failed to prevent the appearance of dozens of child sexual abuse images on its platform. First:

A smorgasbord of data in Verizon’s annual breach report

When a vulnerability in the ubiquitous open-source tool log4j was discovered in late 2021, it stirred a tornado of dire warnings from government and industry.

Data out today sheds additional light on the scope of the activity from attackers eager to exploit the bug — and from network defenders sprinting to fix it on their systems.

That’s one of the chief insights from the annual Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report , regularly one of the most comprehensive rundowns of breaches and other incidents over a one-year period.

Let’s talk about the report’s insights on log4j and other topics — including ransomware, costly business email compromise attacks and the ongoing tendency that humans have for being their own worst enemy on cybersecurity.

After the vulnerability in log4j known as Log4Shell became public, everyone seemed to spring into action . Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency officials warned that it could affect hundreds of millions of devices , given the tool’s popularity as a logging library tool to record activity within systems. Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary of Policy Robert Silvers later said it was one of history’s worst vulnerabilities.

Malicious hackers quickly sought to exploit Log4Shell, Verizon found. Of those attempted exploitations, one-third of the attempts over the report’s time frame happened in the first 30 days, peaking at 17 days.

“As soon as the vulnerability was out, everybody was rushing to exploit,” Alex Pinto , a lead author of the report, told me. “But the interesting thing is that everybody was rushing to patch, too.”

On the balance:

The human element and business email compromise

Nearly three quarters of breaches involve humans doing something wrong, whether it was falling for a phishing email or errors or — less a mess-up and more about the insider threat — misusing their access to computer systems, according to Verizon.

That’s actually a little better than last year, but it’s a number that fluctuates between 74 percent and 80 percent annually, Pinto said, so the trend tends to be consistent. On the other hand, 83 percent of breaches involved external forces, Verizon found.

One of the associated factors is business email compromise attacks , which is a kind of scam where the criminals try to trick someone at a business into transferring money to them, perhaps by posing as someone else.

Those are some of the most costly kind of scams. According to Verizon’s study of incidents reported to the FBI, the median loss in recent years from business email compromise is $50,000.

While phishing is still a very popular attack method, pretexting — when someone uses a fake story or pretext to trick a victim into doing something — is more popular, the report states. Pretexting now accounts for 50 percent of social engineering attacks that rely on manipulating a victim, compared with 44 percent for phishing.

“It is too simple of an attack to do,” Pinto said of pretexting. “It can be done at scale and sometimes with even less technical expertise than phishing.”

Ransomware incidents held steady at 24 percent of breaches, Verizon found. It was, however, everywhere: 91 percent of industries had ransomware as one of the top issues they dealt with over the 12-month period.

That reverses a long trend of a rapid rise, Pinto said. “It kind of stabilized,” he said. “We might have reached some sort of saturation point.”

It’s a conclusion that mirrors some other organizations’ findings about last year. But opinions vary about the cause of the plateau, and experts expect the ransomware threat to get worse this year.

Over the last two years, the median cost of ransomware has risen, from $13,000 to $26,000, Verizon found.

Putin deepfake declaring martial law aired in Russia

A deepfake video of Russian President Vladimir Putin declaring martial law and ordering a general mobilization aired on Russian TV and radios on Monday, Jenna Moon reports for Semafor .

“The broadcast, which also claimed there was an ongoing Ukrainian incursion into Russia, was aired in Belgorod, Voronezh, and Rostov, cities in close proximity to Ukraine’s border,” Moon writes.

The deepfake has not yet been attributed to any group.

Deepfakes have become an emerging matter that regulators may have to address in the context of political advertisements and political campaigns, our Technology 202 newsletter previously reported. A deepfake of Indian Bharatiya Janata Party official Manoj Tiwari criticizing incumbent Arvind Kejriwal during India’s legislative assembly elections in 2020 went viral on WhatsApp and marked the debut of deepfakes in election campaigns in India.

Number of companies who were victims of last week’s MOVEit hack grows

The BBC, U.K. health and beauty company Boots, and Aer Lingus are among a growing list of companies that have been subject to the effect of the MOVEit hack disclosed last week, Joe Tidy reports for the BBC .

U.S. company Progress Software last week said hackers broke into its MOVEit Transfer tool that allows for the secure transfer of files. The tool is popular around the world, the report says.

Microsoft this week linked the attack to the Russia-linked Cl0p ransomware group.

Twitter missed dozens of child sexual abuse images, report finds

Twitter in recent months failed to prevent dozens of child sexual abuse images from being shared on the site, Alexa Corse reports for the Wall Street Journal .

Researchers from the Stanford Internet Observatory told Twitter of the matter and resolved it sometime in May, according to the Journal.

Researchers from March 12 to May 20 detected more than 40 images previously flagged as potential child sexual abuse material (CSAM) from a sample of around 100,000 tweets.

Efforts to weed out CSAM on platforms have faced head winds, as cybersecurity advocates fear that legislation aimed at curbing such material could prompt tech companies to stop offering end-to-end encryption for users.

Government scan

Officials stress interagency cooperation as key to cybersecurity improvements (Inside Cybersecurity)

Augusta not in contact with ransomware group behind attack, mayor says (The Record)

Industry report

Cybercriminals target C-suite, family members with sophisticated attacks (Cybersecurity Dive)

Emerging tech, misinformation dominate May transatlantic council talks (Nextgov)

National security watch

Former ByteDance executive claims Chinese Communist Party accessed TikTok’s Hong Kong user data (Wall Street Journal)

Global cyberspace

First in space: SpaceX and NASA launch satellite that hackers will attempt to infiltrate during DEF CON (CyberScoop)

War crimes committed through cyberspace must not escape international justice, says Estonian president (The Record)

Secure log off

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Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.


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