Electronic reports, otherwise known as “dashboards”, are a convenient way of presenting and analyzing data from various sources. Unlike charts or maps, electronic reports do not require the user to move from one point to another, and they allow for much greater flexibility in displaying the data. They can be saved and referred to at a later date, making them highly useful and cost effective for many different business sectors. However, there are a few key differences between the two that you need to be aware of before deciding on which type is best suited to your organisation.
Types of Reports
There are two main types of reports; those that display data in a graphical format (lines) and those that display data in a spreadsheet (rows and columns). Graphical reports tend to be more flexible and easier to manipulate. However, this means that they take up more space and are harder to fit onto a small sheet of paper – something that some customers and clients would prefer. An example of a professional electronic report application would be ECRF systems, or electronic case report forms, which are mainly used by pharmaceutical and medical companies in their clinical trials.
What About Formats?
You can get electronic reports in a variety of different formats. One popular option is to get them as PDF’s, which can be loaded directly onto a computer and used right away. However, there are a number of problems with PDF’s. Firstly, they take up much more space on your hard drive than their equivalent report in a paper format, meaning that if you need to present data quickly or want to share it with someone else, then using a PDF would probably be a good idea. However, many people also find that using a PDF report is easier to read and understand than a map or line chart, because the format puts everything in terms that a regular person is used to reading.
Electronic Report Benefits
Electronic reports are much easier to read and edit than their paper counterpart. Instead of having to make several versions of each page in order to show a range of data or arrange it in a different way, you can simply click on the data you are interested in, and it will convert the data into a graph or spreadsheet for you. This makes it easier to manipulate and also highlights areas that are of particular interest to you. Also, because the format is typically more aesthetically pleasing than a paper-based report, many people find that they can actually retain more information from an electronic report. Perhaps because the data is presented electronically, it is more likely to retain the attention of the reader, making it more likely that they will pass on to other more detailed and technical information.
As you can see, there are many different advantages that come with the use of electronic reports. One of the most noticeable is how much easier it is for people to understand and get more involved in the information that is presented. Because there aren’t as many differences between different formats, there is less chance that a person will get lost in the presentation, especially if the information is presented in a different way. In fact, the only real difference in electronic reports is their appearance, which is more consistent and less cluttered than many other formats.