What is Reporting Tools?

Reporting software helps present information from computers so it can be easily understood by human beings. A report builder takes data and puts it into charts, graphs and tables according to specifications determined by the user.  Virtually all relational database software packages include some reporting tools. However, users often want analysis and presentation options that are not included with the database software’s built-in reports. They also typically want to import data from multiple sources, something that is not always easy to do with a particular database’s out-of-the-box reports.

IT Central Station members have written reviews and comments about a wide variety of reporting software products. Their selection criteria include the ability to do ad hoc reporting and easily visualize data. Ease of use for reporting software in general is a common theme of user reviews on IT Central Station. 

Users want the ability to connect to any data with ad hoc reports, blending data from multiple sources. Ease of dashboard creation and ease of dashboard sharing also figure prominently into user preferences for reporting. And, of course, speed and stability are highly prized in reporting.

Proven compatibility with popular packages is helpful, according to IT Central Station Managers. For example, a reporting tool with that has SQL Server Integration Services SQL Server Management Studio on the Microsoft stack is preferable given how common that platform can be.

Reporting is a practical business matter, too. Some users stress the importance of a reporting tool helping to achieve organizational goals. For these users, reporting does not exist in a vacuum. A report needs to be part of well understood business workflow. The tool should support this workflow.  In this vein, some users recommend that potential adopters of reporting look closely at the solution’s scheduler, which makes it easy to run the jobs and jobstreams at any convenient moment.  


Find out what your peers are saying about Tableau, Microsoft, Windward Studios and others in Reporting Tools. Updated: July 2020.
430,223 professionals have used our research since 2012.