Reporting vs Analytics: Their Differences and Importance
TL;DR: People often think data reporting and data analytics are one and the same. In reality, reporting is the sorting and organization of data, while analytics derive insights from that data and often influence business decisions. Three key differences to take note of between reporting and analytics are purpose, methods, and value. Call centers gather an extensive amount of customer data over time, therefore management teams require both powerful analytics and detailed reporting in order to deliver excellent customer experiences.
When you think of common analytics tools, what first springs to mind?
Perhaps, Google Analytics? Good guess.
It is a super popular tool. In fact, 29 million sites on the internet use Google Analytics. (Source)
But, Google Analytics is not an analytics tool but actually a reporting tool. Now you may be thinking…. Is there a difference between reporting and analytics? The answer is YES!
In this article, we are going to explore the functionality of analytics and reporting, the key differences, and how clarifying your understanding of these terms can help your business work cohesively, more specifically, your business’s call center.
The Importance of Analytics and Reporting in Business
Quite simply, data is here to stay. Businesses that understand the immeasurable value that their data holds and the impact of being able to properly access it will come ahead of competitors. Better understanding data through reporting and analysis helps with decision making and action within your organization leading to increased value and enhanced performance.
What Is the Difference Between Reporting and Analytics?
When it comes to data, “reporting” and “analytics” often mistakenly get used interchangeably in business jargon. The truth is that understanding the differences can mean a great deal to the bottom line of your company.
The way we look at it, reporting is a subset of analytics. You can’t really have analytics without reporting, but analytics goes further than reporting. Both tools are designed to convey important information to help make better business decisions. But the propensity to assist in decision making is where the two types of data contrast.
What Are the Definitions of Reporting and Analytics?
Now, let’s discuss the key differences and definitions of data reporting and data analytics.
- Reporting is about taking existing information and organizing it in a way that is user-friendly and digestible. Reporting offers no judgment or insight. Data reporting often revolves around pulling data from different sources to be presented in a concise manner. Reporting should always be accurate, precise, specified, and defined as it targets answering the question of “What is happening?” in day-to-day business operations.
- Analytics is about drilling down into data to look for insights that will inform business decisions by injecting business expertise into the interpretation of the data. Data analytics focuses on “why” something is happening within an organization. Analytics by nature are meant to assist in determining a course of action, predictions, or recommendations.
Reporting vs Analytics: 3 Key Differences
So what is the difference between data analytics and reporting?
The purpose of reports is to take data and organize it into clear information. Analytics aims to take that data and provide insights.
When talking about reports or reporting you will see language being used about organizing, formatting, building, configuring, consolidating, or summarizing.
Regarding analytics you will see words about investigating, performing a “deep dive”, questioning, examining, interpreting, comparing, and confirming.
Reports follow what is commonly referred to as a “push approach” which simply means, however, a report gets made it is designed to push to users. Be it a manager, employee, or consultant the deliverable on a report is that data is made available for use.
So if reports “push” then you may have guessed that by contrast analytics follow a “pull approach” where analysis is done to “pull” out the answer to whatever business question is being asked. In the case of analytics, the deliverables are predictive analytics (answers about what is going to happen in the future) or prescriptive analytics (what are ways to optimize the next steps).
Ideally, every facet of your businesses’ process is designed to help your business grow, move forward, make more profit, or increase your value in your respective marketplace. So we want to make it quite clear that reporting and analytics are both valuable to your business model. However, reporting is about what is, and analysis is about could be. So as far as pushing your company forward you need to be able to draw insights from data to align your organization strategically. Some organizations get stuck on how to obtain and organize their data and some organizations get stuck on how to use data strategically.
Let’s Look at an Example of Data Reporting and Data Analytics in the Call Center
So what does this look like in action?
This report around a simple call queue is not much of a report by itself, but you do see that there were 111 abandoned calls over the last week. This report gives you a tiny piece of information, but you’re missing some key peripheral data that makes all the difference.
Now in this next report, we know that there were 111 abandoned calls and the average time a caller waited was almost two minutes before deciding to hang up. This is also a simple report, but that’s how it’s intended to be. A report brings attention to the key performance indicators (KPIs) that are important to you and your team. This is where analytics play a key role. Analytics bring context to those reports.
Example: Adding Analytics
One thing you could do to analyze here is to look at an hour or half-hour intervals. For example, half-hour intervals have been added here and this clearly shows that the bulk of the abandoned calls occur from 9:30-10:30 am or 1:00-1:30 pm.
That’s interesting. From there we could go deeper by looking at call volumes (were there just a lot more calls during that time?) or staffing levels (are these common break times for the agents?) to understand where we could make adjustments.
We could also look at something like Service Time intervals to understand the distribution of how long customers are waiting before hanging up.
By adding this on, we see that 28 callers abandoned at an average of 5 seconds or less. There’s not much that can be done about this and those customers likely aren’t frustrated – maybe they just got another call and decided to call back later.
But a large portion of the callers, 47, waited over a minute for an average of 4 minutes and 12 seconds. That’s where you want to plug holes as quickly as possible – what can you do to get that average wait time down by a minute or two minutes?
This is where the two examples we’ve depicted here start to play together. We could look at just those 6th STI customers by an hour of the day and compare it with staffing or call volumes. With a nimble analytics tool, we can plug and play pieces until we fully understand what’s occurring and how to change it going forward.
The ability to manipulate the data on reports in real-time for better business decisions is what makes analytics so special. Of course, getting insights from your phone data can be done by building out multiple versions of your own static reports, but it’s also true that it can be difficult to determine which metrics to pull into a perspective that’s going to be important at any given time.
By looking at the example, you may not be able to do anything about the calls that hold under 5 seconds, but if you decide that it’s unacceptable for 47 calls to be abandoned after an average of 4:12, then you could staff your agents appropriately.
Analytics and Reporting Tools for Business Call Centers and Contact Centers?
While there is a wide variety of data visualization and analytics software, few include robust reporting functionality and customization options. And due to the extensive amount of customer data call centers gather over time, management teams require both powerful analytics and detailed reporting in order to deliver excellent customer experiences.
At Brightmetrics™, our mission is to help teams get more from their contact center data. Serving both the Mitel and Genesys Cloud systems, our analytics and reporting software enable teams to gain critical insights into the performance of their contact center by helping to identify key performance indicators and metrics.
Our summary dashboards are easy to use, and our reporting tools can be easily customized to fit your business needs. Everyone from your call center agents to your CEO can use our intuitive drag and drop capabilities to build and schedule reports, as well as create public dashboards to keep your team up to speed no matter where they are located. Our business intelligence software enables Mitel (MIVC, MICC, ECC, and MiVB) and Genesys Cloud customers to see the high-level trends and nitty-gritty details that are impacting your customers’ experiences and your agents’ performances.
Get started with a FREE TRIAL and harness the power of your data to make intelligent business decisions.
Key Takeaways On Analytics vs Reporting
You probably have gleaned from this blog post that in the case of reporting and analytics you cannot have one without the other. Reporting can involve sophisticated tools with intensely detailed nuances and that will only improve the insights that are able to be obtained through analytics.
Data that is collected and organized is easier to visualize. Data that is easier to visualize is easier to make actionable. It is between data reporting and data analysis that truly transformational insights originate that help businesses. At the end of the day data that is accessible and understood should be helping you monitor all facets of your businesses’ operations.
Right now is the perfect time to align your strategy and be intentional with your decision-making. Having all members of your team on the same page about what they mean when they talk about “analytics” or “reporting” tools will help your implementation plans stay on track.