There are hundreds of cloud reporting tools available for analyzing and building reports from a variety of business data (financial, sales, marketing, operations) and finding the right one for your needs can be difficult.
The benefit of a cloud reporting tool is that it can provide analytics and report on large amounts of data from multiple sources without you needing to install or maintain on-premise software.
But not all cloud reporting tools are equal — for example, some require coding experience to use, while others are accessible to non-technical employees; or some tools are specific to industries (like sales and marketing reporting tools) while others are general-purpose business intelligence (BI) tools for building reports from any business data.
Let’s take a closer look at a few, starting with our own, TapClicks.
We’ve been in the cloud-based data management and reporting space for decades with our world-class solution, TapClicks.
Designed specifically for marketers (but also used for other business areas), TapClicks is the cloud reporting tool of choice for large brands and enterprise agencies who are handling multiple campaigns and clients and dealing with a large amount of marketing data.
Here are 4 reasons why enterprise-level agencies and brands choose TapClicks as their marketing cloud reporting tool:
TapClicks can extract data from thousands of data sources, notably including all your marketing data sources. While most reporting tools for sales and marketing data have “data connectors” to dozens or a hundred common marketing platforms, we have collected data for hundreds of brands and agencies from over 6,000 unique data sources via our “Smart Connector” tool, including home-built databases and offline data sources.
This is because our Smart Connector tool gives brands the ability to build data connections to nearly any data source, including those that have APIs, but also more obscure or even offline data sources like home-built databases and the like.
That means that for agencies and brands reporting on large amounts of marketing data, TapClicks can be the go-to single source of truth and marketing data warehouse for all of their marketing data (not just some or most of it).
Once your data sources are connected, the data is stored permanently in your own cloud-based database, managed by the TapClicks team. Data is automatically downloaded daily (or whenever you choose to refresh it) so you can be assured that it will always be up-to-date.
For many data sources, you can also download 12 months of historical data which will be stored alongside your cloud data, ready for you to access whenever you want.
As well as managing your cloud database, the TapClicks team also looks after the API connections. This means that if there’s a connection break, your IT team doesn’t need to worry because TapClicks will take care of it for you.
Here’s a short video showing how to set up a smart connector:
The beauty of the TapClicks data warehouse is that no SQL programming experience is required to use it. It’s been designed so that anyone can access the data without any coding knowledge and analyze that data right there in the platform. We’ll talk about that next.
Typically, businesses and agencies spend a lot of time each month number crunching in Excel spreadsheets — distilling large amounts of raw marketing data from multiple datasets to key takeaways and creating visualizations and meaningful reports for clients and stakeholders. These analyses are often repetitive (e.g. calculating return on ad spend for each channel every month).
With TapClicks, you can perform calculations and define key metrics that you need to use often directly in the TapClicks cloud, and those metrics and calculations will be saved and available for you in the future — so you don’t have to calculate them by hand over and over. These can be used across as many campaigns or clients as you like and can be accessed and edited by your team, or whoever you want.
Let’s look at an example.
Different platforms call similar terms by different names (for example, “follows” on Twitter or Facebook and “subscribes” on YouTube). When reporting on these campaigns, marketers want to group these different metrics together (for example, “total social media subscriptions” or “total social media engagement”). We call these “umbrella terms”.
For many agencies and marketing departments, they have to calculate these high-level key metrics every month, manually. This is repetitive work that wastes dozens or hundreds of hours of employee time per month.
But with TapClicks, you can define umbrella terms in the cloud just once, and they will be automatically updated with the latest data and forever available to use for future reports.
In our visual below, you might want to define “total social engagement” as the sum of post-reactions on Facebook, “views” on YouTube, or click-throughs on LinkedIn.
Having an analytics solution which allows you to customize metrics and do calculations directly in the cloud is not only convenient, it’s a significant time-saver. It’s also scalable. You can set them up once and they can be used in any dashboard or report for any campaign or client. We’ll discuss our cloud-based dashboards next.
In TapClicks, you can create visual reports via our cloud-based dashboards.
As with the custom metrics and calculations (#2 above), the benefit of our dashboards is that they can be used as templates across as many campaigns or clients as you wish.
Many users start by choosing one of our dashboard templates and then customizing it by selecting the metrics (“widgets”) they want to include. Data can then be visualized however you want — graph, chart, pie-chart, etc.
Because everything is cloud-based, any updates you want to make can be applied across as many dashboards as you want, so there’s no need to go into every campaign or client to update each one individually. And, if you want to make a change to just one dashboard, you can do that, too. Simply select the client or campaign where you want the change to apply.
Here is a video showing how to set up a dashboard in TapClicks:
The beauty of using TapClicks is that you can grant permission to whoever you want (e.g. clients, stakeholders, team members) so they have access to the dashboards that are relevant to them. Permission levels can be given right down to the metric (“widget”) level. So, for example, if you don’t want a client to see your mark-up costs for an ad campaign, you can easily filter this information out.
Clients can view their data via a near real-time dashboard or you can create reports for them using our reporting software, ReportStudio. We’ll explain more about this next.
In our experience, despite all modern reporting tools having cloud-based dashboard functionality that lets users drill down into real-time data and live charts and graphs, most clients and stakeholders still prefer to also receive reports via email in a format they are familiar with, like PDFs or PowerPoints, because this is how they are used to passing information to executives and making key business decisions.
Most marketers as a result spend countless hours taking charts and graphs from dashboards and reporting tools and copying and pasting them into weekly or monthly slide decks, updating numbers in the decks for that week or month, and emailing them to management or clients.
To help with this, we designed ReportStudio to be a full-featured report builder which automatically populates PowerPoint slide decks with the latest data, right inside the cloud.
Because everything is done within the TapClicks platform, from extracting the data (#1 above) to configuring metrics (#2 above), it’s easy for any team member to design and build reports directly in the cloud.
You can choose one of our ready-made templates as a starting point (or create your own from scratch) and drag and drop any metric, chart or graph you want into the slides. Once set up, the reports will automatically update anytime the presentation is opened, saved, or exported. Presentations can be exported to most popular file formats like PPT and PDF.
Here is a short video on how to schedule reports with TapClicks:
It essentially means that you can create interactive reports that other team members can access or edit within the platform without the tedious back and forth of draft versions of PowerPoint files.
TapClicks is a powerful all-in-one solution which takes care of the entire data lifecycle for you. It does this by:
It does all this directly within the TapClicks cloud providing you with a flexible and scalable cloud reporting tool which saves time and benefits your team and your clients.
Many businesses use BI tools (business intelligence) to do complex analysis and cloud business reporting. As with SaaS reporting tools generally, there are many BI reporting tools available. Unlike TapClicks, many do not have data integrations with every source and some are complicated to use.
It’s worth mentioning that with TapClicks, in addition to creating reports directly within the TapClicks cloud, you can export your data to any other platform or tool if you wish (e.g. AWS, CRM platform, ETL tool, etc.). So, if you are already using a solution like one of the ones below, you can use TapClicks to collect and store your data and then push it out to that tool from the TapClicks platform.
Here’s a brief look at 6 BI cloud reporting tools.
Domo is a business intelligence and data visualization platform that is fully mobile. Domo integrates with hundreds of data sources and tools from your CRM to social media and web analytics.
A key feature is Domo’s App Dev Studio which enables business users to build custom intelligent apps to aid workflows with little or no coding experience.
The platform does require some upskilling but can be a good option for large businesses who want this extra functionality.
To check out our full article on the difference between Domo and TapClicks, click here.
Google-owned Looker is a business intelligence and data analytics platform that enables large enterprises to conduct advanced analytics.
Connecting to hundreds of data sources, Looker runs raw data through the 50+ SQL databases before applying its proprietary modeling language, LookML, to transform the results into metrics.
Looker is a sophisticated power BI tool and if you have the IT expertise to customize it to your organization’s needs it can produce multi-layered data analytics that will inform decision-making.
To check out our full article on the difference between Looker and TapClicks, click here.
SAP Crystal Reports is a popular BI reporting software solution that can collect data from almost any data source.
SAP offers a suite of dashboard and reporting capabilities which allow you to use a drag and drop interface so you can optimize your data and provide easy-to-understand reports for clients and stakeholders.
Sisense is an end-to-end BI platform which allows business users to create dashboards and powerful reports from real-time data.
The user interface is relatively easy to use, the platform connects to multiple data sources and the resulting fully interactive reports are attractive and provide compelling business insights.
Tableau is a business intelligence tool commonly used to provide general data management or actionable insights for large brands and enterprises.
Tableau offers powerful data visualization which includes standard reporting and dashboards, both of which can be automated.
The platform gives you the option to embed analytics which enables users to integrate their data into external applications.
To check out our full article on the difference between Tableau and TapClicks, click here.
Zoho Analytics is a self-service BI tool with 100+connectors and in-depth data reporting functionality and visualization tools.
Interactive dashboards and reporting templates can be used for ad hoc reporting or automated. The platform has an intelligent assistant powered by AI which is used for data analysis in real-time.
The tool requires some technical know-how and is a powerful reporting and analytics tool.