More Apps; Less Reports

If you needed a phone number, would you use a printed phone book or an application on your iphone? As technology evolves we rely more often on apps (applications) to solve problems like finding a phone number.   The same (r)evolution needs to happen with reporting.  Reports are static and old-school like phone books.   Very rarely does a report solve a problem.  To ensure value for customers and users we need to make the transition from reports to apps.

Reports have their place.  Think annual report or some other regulatory obligation.  Your customers however really aren’t looking for more reports, despite their requests.  What they mean to ask for are apps that answer their questions and solve problems.  

We need to provide them a better, more modern way to stay informed and discuss data with others.  The everyday decision maker understands the notion of an app because they use them every day.   Much better than some dashboard or report you might create.  The idea of delivering apps vs. reports isn’t some unique idea.  

Gartner says that by 2017, 25 percent of enterprises will have an enterprise app store.   As apps take over enterprise solutions why shouldn’t reporting solutions follow suit. Probably closer to home is Google Analytics.  While it’s a dashboard and a way to generate reports, at its core it’s a series of apps.

  • A few other reasons we’re biased towards delivering data as apps vs. reports:
  • Creates a mindset of delivering big data in bite size portions.   
  • Demonstrates your expertise or knowledge of the data since it’s more discrete.
  • Forces you to think mobile-friendly.
  • Allows you to use proven web design best practices
  • Permits a new way to talk about the data with your customers, i.e. solving problems vs. displaying information

If you want to further your fluency in  “App thinking”, check out some of our other content which will offer some practical tips, especially our data product checklist.


"Gartner Says That by 2017, 25 Percent of Enterprises Will ..." 2013. 10 Aug. 2015 <http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2334015>