In a typical organization, most databases are built with data keyed in by different people. For example, a CRM database will be updated by several sales reps and each of these reps will have his/her own way of entering data. It can be ‘Road’ for some, while others may prefer ‘Rd’. Similarly, it can be Drive or Dr, and CA or California. Such variations slowly corrupt the sanity of the data and can make it unsuitable for reliable analysis & reporting.
The situation is made all the more worse if the data is aggregated from multiple data sources where each system follows its own conventions and processes. To make such data uniform and credible, periodic data cleansing becomes necessary. Only clean, sanitized data can provide you reliable inferences when analyzed.
Zoho Reports now supports a Find & Replace function which makes data
cleansing easy and which results in keeping your data clean. For using this function, right-click on a column name and choose the Find and Replace option. (you can also invoke the Find and Replace option under the More Options menu too).
Enter the relevant data for Find what and Replace with fields.
All the matching data in the column will get replaced.
Other than with text values as shown above, the Find and Replace also works with date & numerical values. Say a sales rep mistakenly entered data with the year as 2007 instead of 2008 (a pretty common data entry error, especially when a new year arrives), you can easily cleanse such data too.
Hope you like the Find and Replace function useful for your data cleansing job. Try it now in Zoho Reports & let us know your feedback.
Helena Schwenk of Ovum Research has a nice post analyzing LucidEra’s failure and what it means for the other SAAS BI players. Helena concludes,
The spotlight is now likely to shine very brightly on other SaaS BI companies (…) While LucidEra’s collapse doesn’t necessarily mark the end of SaaS BI as we know it, it could mark the start of a SaaS shift towards larger BI players whose brand and broad portfolios continue to dominate the market.
What Helena points out will certainly happen. The “M” in SMBs, will now look at the smaller, one-product SaaS BI vendors with more caution – and rightly so. But they don’t have that many places to look at. The solutions offered by larger BI vendors are typically more expensive and complex and that puts businesses in a bind. They may have to stick with using the good old spreadsheets as their only BI tool (read why spreadsheets aren’t that good a choice).
Zoho Reports is bridging the gap by providing a more powerful solution for analyzing data than a spreadsheet or simple pivot table, but not something as complex as a Business Objects implementation. An enterprise opting for Zoho CRM, Mail, Projects, Meeting and other Zoho services can easily take advantage of Zoho Reports for analyzing its data. Its simple, spreadsheet-like interface makes it easy for the users to build, view and share reports. And its various import options allow companies to upload as well as push data from applications or databases behind the firewall easily. Zoho Reports is free as of now and the pricing to be announced soon will be in the lines of other Zoho products – an ample free version accompanied by very affordable pricing plans.
Helena also makes another good point. Customers always want to know that their investments will be safe in the long term. Zoho Corporation serves the technology needs of more than 40,000 customers worldwide. We have been profitable in every year since our inception in 1996. Customers who are looking for a stable BI partner who is investing in an easy-to-use, reliable BI platform for the long-term will find an excellent tool in Zoho Reports.
We posted about enhancements done to the pivot table recently in Zoho Reports. Here’s more. Pivot tables (and charts, filters) now support quarterly and weekly intervals. This adds to yearly, monthly intervals before. This can be best explained in the sales context. What if you want to know how you did in 1Q 2009 Vs 4Q 2008 (previous quarter) or 1Q 2008 (previous year, same quarter)? Or what if you want to know how you did this week compared to last week or see the trends of the earlier weeks? It is easy now to have reports for such scenarios.
The screenshot above is for the Actual Values – Quarter & Year, sales in various quarters of each year. Seasonal/Cyclic – Quarter option differs from this as it will give the sum of Quarterly Sales summed across years.
Similarly, the Weekly option is available too. Sales figures of different regions for the various weeks in 2008 shown as a Pivot table.
The same quarter & week concepts are available in Charts and Summary Views.
You can also Filter the data using Quarter and Week timelines.
Try the new Quarterly & Weekly options in Zoho Reports and let us know your feedback in the comments.
Integrating the powerful reporting & analytics functionality of Zoho Reports into Zoho Creator has been one of the most requested feature. We have heard it and enabled the first step towards this goal.
In Zoho Reports, we have introduced the feature of scheduled periodic import of CSV files from any accessible Web URL. With this feature you could set up Zoho Reports to periodically fetch data in CSV format from any accessible Web URL. This would be really useful in scenarios where you have new data being published or updated periodically and you would like get those updates inside Zoho DB & Reports for reporting and analysis. Till now you had to re-import this data manually into Zoho DB & Reports, every time an update is available. Now you just have to setup up the periodic import feature and Zoho DB & Reports would do the rest for you.
With this feature you could also (enable Zoho DB & Reports to) periodically fetch data from your Zoho Creator Application into Zoho DB & Reports as changes happen to the same. As the latest data is made available inside Zoho DB & Reports, you could create any type of powerful reports with it. The reports created using Zoho DB & Reports could also be embedded back inside your Zoho Creator application using the new HTML Page view feature introduced in Zoho Creator 3.0
The following presentation demonstrates how you could periodically import data from Zoho Creator into Zoho DB & Reports:
Do give the above feature a try and let us know your feedback. This is just the first step in making available the powerful reporting functionality of Zoho Reports to Zoho Creator users. We are continuing our work on this problem to further simplify the process. A much closer GUI level integration of making report creation features of Zoho Reports available within Zoho Creator is in development. We will keep you posted once we are ready with it…
Happy Reporting and Keep tab on further development…
Zoho Reports – Online Reporting & BI Service