This Just In: Reporting Data

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Data can pile up pretty fast in enterprises. Part of many database professionals’ jobs includes organizing that information into reports for distribution to the higher-ups. For these people, time is money, so you have to be sure to get the most important data into the most concise, condense form possible. The last thing they want is to have to through reams of information to get to a few significant data points.

In this way, reporting data is not unlike the approach journalists take to the news. You have to consider the “big picture” when compiling information for a report. To accomplish this, you have to compress a bundle of information into a small space, and make it as lucid as possible. Fortunately, many of the standard processes in place already are very conducive to reporting data.

Data Mining
For starters, many database professionals practice data mining, which is the process of sorting through information to find patterns that establish links between different subjects. Some of the foremost factors in data mining include:



  • Sequence or path analyses, which involve searching for a pattern where an action directly causes something else to happen.
  • Association, which entails looking for a relationship between two events (sounds a lot like sequence or path analysis, but not quite the same thing).
  • Clustering , which includes finding and recording new groups of facts.
  • Classification, which involves looking for entirely new patterns.


Of all of these, perhaps the last relates best to the “big picture” thinking required for data reporting. Classification is the grouping of data points for efficiency and effectiveness in operations. In a simple, stripped-down approach, data is arranged by value, with the most critical information on the quickest and most secure systems.

However, it also can be classified by other factors as well. Data can be organized by subject matter, file type, file size (regardless of byte unit), date of creation, date of most recent modification, which personnel or departments use it most frequently and so forth. Above all, information ought to be arranged according to the needs of the business. The way in which it’s positioned will give database professionals a good idea of what information will need to be featured prominently in any data reports.

Customer Relationship Management
The recent rise of customer relationship management (CRM) in IT has contributed greatly to the concept of data reporting. CRM is driven largely by database marketing, a methodical approach to gathering, consolidating and processing consumer data that is then maintained in a company’s databases. This information can relate to both current and potential consumers.

While databases have been used for keeping tabs on customers’ likes and dislikes for some time now, the practice of database marketing is distinguished by both the sheer volume of consumer data that’s conserved and the complexity of analyses and processes. Marketing professionals use that information to study customers’ habits, select markets for specific ad campaigns, compare and contrast clients’ value to the business and provide focused products and services to particular consumers.

CRM has the potential to affect your company’s bottom line significantly. Make sure that the right people are getting the right data at the right time to ensure the financial success of the business.

-Brian Summerfield,

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