How Advanced Reporting Can Build a Bridge to People Analytics

Feb 09, 2022

Image displays a hand building a brigde

On a scale of 1-5, 1 being basic operational reporting and 5 being groundbreaking, state-of-the-art AI and prescriptive analytics, where does your organization fall?

Hold on to that answer while we show you how we think of progress in people analytics as having five levels.

Where does your organization fit in this progression?

If your answer is operational reporting, you’ve got work to do.

In the operational reporting stage, you rely on historical data to make reactive decisions, but you do yourself a disservice if you are not also looking forward.

If you’ve seen other players in your industry using analytics and want to progress to data-driven decision-making, then your next step is advanced reporting.

If you answered 2 and have implemented advanced reporting, you’ve come to the right place.

You are heading in the right direction. It may seem like a Herculean task to get from 1 to 5, but you should know it’s not a race—the slower and more deliberate your progress, the better.

If you take your time and create a firm foundation built on data culture and quality data, your chances of success are better. The goal is not 5, but progress in the right direction.

Where You Are: Advanced Reporting

In the Advanced Reporting stage, you have already progressed beyond stale, static reports.

Gone are the days when you could only answer questions like “How did we do last quarter, last year, last week?” Using data on past performance to inform hunches on future outcomes is a thing of the past.

Your capacity to include not just what happened but what is currently happening moves your business up the value chain to the first step in analytics proficiency.

Here, customized templates issue tailored reports that speak directly to your business, its needs, and challenges. You use various data sources to create reporting in greater detail. Automated reporting and analyses populate dashboards that enable you to identify trends and anomalies visually.

This first level of data analysis enables forecasting for the business based on a combination of information and educated deductions.

Five Levels of Reporting and Analytics: operational and advanced reporting; advanced, predictive, and prescriptive analytics.

Where You Are Going: Advanced Analytics

The next step in your journey is Advanced Analytics, which comprises descriptive and diagnostic analytics.

The first step beyond advanced reporting is descriptive analytics. It tells you what happened (historical trends and patterns) versus what is happening using real-time data to interpret the current state and summarize and highlight trends.

Diagnostic analytics answers the question, “Why did that happen?” using multiple techniques, including data discovery.

The discovery uses external data or internal data from other sources to effect a root cause analysis of the trends and patterns. It’s essentially a deep dive into data to search for valuable insights informing business decisions.

MicrosoftTeams-image - 2022-02-10T193128.179

We established where you are and your intended destination on the analytics journey. But how do you get there?

Is it something you can achieve incrementally over time? Do you need more investment, expertise, and experience? You are paving the way now for the next step.

Bridging the Gap

What will it take to bridge the gap between advanced reporting and advanced analytics and usher the business into the next stage of data reliance?

It’s not a giant leap.

You already have momentum. You came this far because you have buy-in and support from leadership, laying the foundation for a data-driven culture.

What’s next? Developing your advanced reporting will close four gaps on the way to analytics: the investment gap, the skills gap, the culture gap, and the data gap.

Bridging the Investment Gap

The next step will require a more significant investment in tools and resources to make analytics possible, but it does not have to break the bank.

An incremental approach is best, and with cloud-based SaaS being the preferred and more economical option, you can easily transition to the next step.

We advise you to think big but start small. Identify one problem your business needs to solve and gather the resources and data needed to tackle that project.

With each success, you build the momentum and confidence in the value analytics bring to the decision-making process, which will justify more extensive efforts.

Your existing vendor should be able to advise you on the next steps, taking into consideration your organization’s business, unique challenges, and culture.

Bridging the Skills Gap.

We expect introducing any new or upgraded technology will come with a learning curve.

The customizable self-service dashboards you implement in the advanced reporting stage were the first small step in building employee capacity and skill. Now, they must harness larger datasets as more data becomes accessible.

To truly democratize data and empower people to work with data, you must introduce intuitive tools and training.

By embedding analytics into business tools and apps, you will also accelerate learning, make data ubiquitous, and help to develop the data-driven culture.

If you don’t already have one, you will need a data analyst on your team whose job is to wrangle the data and create the reports and dashboards that your leaders need.

Bridging the Culture Gap

Which comes first—culture or technology? The same measures that bridge the skills gap will also help close the culture gap and encourage employees to build positive, trusting relationships with data.

They need to know that data is their friend. It should not intimidate them or seem like you are forcing them to learn a foreign language. It should feel like a tool that will make them better at their jobs.

Growing a data-driven culture also calls for a top-down approach where leadership sets the tone.

More than relying on data as an individual decision or management style, business leaders must create an expectation of decisions grounded in data all the time.

Emphasize and illustrate the reliance on data by explaining how you used data used in the decision-making process.

Bridging the Data Gap

Advanced reporting allows your workforce to get their hands wet in the data fountain. Now that they are used to relying on data, turn up the heat.

People analytics require higher volume and data quality.

With more data sources comes a need for data integration to provide users with a unified data view.

There must be a data cleaning process to organize it and safeguard accuracy to achieve high-quality data. This process includes the removal of errors, duplications, and inconsistencies.



In moving from operational to advanced reporting, you move from reactive to proactive decisions. People analytics take it further by adopting a future-focused philosophy that facilitates actionable insights.

The goal of analytics is to inform decision-making that can lead to better business outcomes.

By taking the first step into advanced reporting, you are well on your way to increasing decision accuracy, speed, and viability.

Download your ebook on The Datafication of HR:Migrating from Operational Metrics to People Analytics

About Pixentia

Pixentia is a full-service technology company dedicated to helping clients solve business problems, improve the capability of their people, and achieve better results.

Previously:  Next up: 


News Letter Sign up

Get in touch with us
phone_footer.png  +1 903-306-2430,
              +1 855-978-6816