Zoho Reports Update: Set Threshold Markers & Show/Hide Totals in Pivot Tables

Posted by Posted on by

Zoho Reports had an update earlier this week and it brought in two interesting new features – Setting Thresholds in Charts and Show/Hide Options in Pivot Tables.

Thresholds in Charts
Businesses thrive when they try to perform better than in the past. Their performance can be quantified through metrics such as more sales/profit, lesser cost, higher productivity/operating efficiency etc. This is where setting benchmarks, thresholds & goals help, by providing a clear target of what’s to be achieved.

You can now set threshold markers in the charts you make using Zoho Reports. This helps in better visualization & tracking of your key performance data. For each chart, you can add a maximum of 4 threshold values and also name each of these thresholds too. Click on the Settings option of a chart and you’ll see a new Thresholds tab in the dialog for creating thresholds.

For example, if your Sales team has a monthly minimum target of $25,000 and a maximum target of $40,000, you can create thresholds as below.

The threshold markers will appear in the chart as below.

We have plans to make the threshold settings appear automatically, based on trends.

Show/Hide Options in Pivot Tables
In pivot tables, you can now show/hide the various sub & grand totals shown by default, providing more control in customizing the pivot views. This has been one of the most sought after features in Pivot Tables.

You will find a Show/Hide Totals menu option in the toolbar of any pivot table you create. It is also available on right-click of any cell in the pivot.

Using this options you can show/hide

  • Row Grand Total – the grand total for each row
  • Column Grand Total – the grand total for each column
  • All Subtotals – all
    subtotals within the pivot, other than the row/column grand totals
  • Specific column’s Subtotals – this option is available on the right-click menu. As shown in the screenshot above, the Product Category column’s subtotals alone can be hidden if need be.

Say we chose to hide the Column Grand Total & Row Grand Total. The pivot table will then look like below.

Hope you like the above new features. Try them out in Zoho Reports now and post your feedback to support at zohoreports dot com.

How to Use Zoho Reports to Track your Marketing & Sales

Posted by Posted on by

At Zoho, we believe in eating our own dog food. Our CEO spoke on this topic with Ramon Ray of Smallbiztechnology.com. We have had posts before explaining how Zoho Creator is put to good use in Zoho Corp. In this post, we’ll see how Zoho Reports is being used by our Sales/Marketing teams for tracking sign-ups, marketing spend and sales numbers. This will be useful & relevant for any company/startup that offer software as service (like what Zoho does). As you know, successful businesses effectively track their daily numbers.

Let’s start with the daily sign-ups. The data comes from our Zoho User Management system. Zoho Reports, thanks to its Data Import API, allows us to get the new user sign-ups and sign-in (existing user logins) data into a reporting database automatically (it’s scheduled to import data everyday). Below is what our Daily Sign-ups report looks like.

Note: The data in the reports are mocked up and are not real numbers.

You can see the troughs are during the weekends when sign-up activity is low. The highs are due to the service being featured in famous sites; say, TechCrunch (Mar 7, 2009), Hacker News (Apr 23, 2009), Digg (Jul 8, 2009) etc. To make that chart a bit more readable, let’s make the sign-ups appear week/month-wise. Let’s see how the weekly sign-ups have been in 2010.

When you look at 2010 alone, with the set time period as weekly, you get to see the detailed trend for this year. Sign-ups show a growing trend, which is obviously good for business.

Let’s now compare the sign-ups of last year and this year.

That gives you an idea of how in 2009, the total weekly sign-ups trend has actually been higher than in 2010. Why this happened can be explored and corrective actions taken. It’s good that the trend is almost catching up with 2009’s and have a high chance of continuing to grow in the coming months.

There is the other number that you will be tracking too – Sign-ins (how many people login to the service daily). This is a very strong indicator of the stickiness of your service and the potential to make revenue (the more indispensable you become, the more successful you become). Like with sign-ups, the sign-in data comes from our Zoho User Management System as well. Let’s now compare how the monthly sign-ins compare with sign-ups.

Not bad. As we get more new people to sign-up daily, some of them are finding value in our service & continuing to use it, resulting in the upward trend of sign-ins. Since the upward trend isn’t that steep, we can explore further what more we need to do to make the service more sticky & useful for the new comers.

Let’s now see how much the spend is to get all that traffic – the marketing expenses. Web start-ups typically spend to get traffic from SEO (appointing an SEO agency to tweak your web pages) and SEM (advertise
via search engine related campaigns like Google Adwords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, Microsoft adCenter, banner ads in web publications etc).

And to know how effective your marketing is, you should be comparing your marketing figures with that of sales. We take our sales figures from Zoho CRM. You may be having it in a spreadsheet or in some third-party app & that can be imported into Zoho Reports easily.

That should give you an idea of how the marketing spend has affected sales. Not bad at all, as a fraction of sales is being spent for marketing and as the marketing spend increases, so has sales. You might want to explore why the dip in marketing spend in December 2009 didn’t affect sales (actually, it grew).

As you can see, all the above data – sign-ups/ins, marketing spend, sales – are from different systems. Sign-ups/ins from the web app, marketing spend from SEM providers & other marketing channels and sales from your online store, spreadsheets or CRM. Let’s see what value Zoho Reports brings in for you.

  1. It allows you to collate & centrally maintain data from disparate sources in an easy way.
  2. It helps you to create all sorts of reports & dashboards easily through a drag-and-drop inteface.
  3. As you can have multiple people handling marketing and sales, Zoho Reports’ collaboration features enables you to work together as a team, in data analysis and creation of reports easily.
  4. It helps you to easily share the reports and dashboards online with your business colleagues (no emailing of reports as attachments!)
  5. Intuitive Reports and Dashboards help you & your team see how your business is performing and take action based on visual analysis of different trends.

You can put all the above data in a single Marketing/Sales dashboard. The one we have explained is just a basic example. And of course, it is not just for web start-ups. You can analyze your physical goods sales data, downloads of your software products etc (marketing & sales data of any business can be analyzed). You can further classify your Marketing campaigns into various categories (online, radio, print etc), and Sales according to different reps/regions. You then get a clear picture of how effective each of your marketing spends are and how your Sales department is performing.

We would love to hear from you, our real customers, on how you use Zoho Reports for your business analytics and reporting. Mail us about your experience/usage at support at zohoreports dot com.

Sign up now to Zoho Reports for free and start tracking your business numbers, in a much better & easy way.

Zoho Reports: Advanced Summarizing Options in Pivot Tables

Posted by Posted on by

Spreadsheet users know the importance of pivot tables and the role they play in easy summarizing and visualization of data. With Zoho Reports, you can make pivots by drag-and-drop. There are many summary functions available – Sum, Maximum, Minimum, Average and Count – when constructing pivots. And now, further options are available for each of these functions as shown in the below screenshot.

The options available are

  • Normal: Applies the chosen summary function over the data as is
  • % of Row: Displays the data as a percentage of the total for each row
  • % of Column: Displays the data as a percentage of the total for each column
  • % of Total: Displays the chosen summary function as a percentage of the grand total of all data present in the report
  • Running Total: Displays data in successive cells as a running (cumulative) total of a selected field
  • Difference From:  Displays data in each cell as the difference from value in the previous cell, based on the base field provided
  • % of: Displays data in each cell as a % of value in the previous cell, based on the base field provided
  • % of Difference From: Displays data in each cell as a % of difference from the value in the previous cell, based on the base field provided

In the featured ‘Super Store Sales’ database, we now have some pivots to demonstrate the new enhanced functions. For example, you can use the Running Total option to see the cumulative total over quarters (or months) in 2009-10.

Like Running Total, you can use the other options as well. For example, the embedded report below shows how much each product category in each quarter has contributed (as percentage) to the overall profit.

Do try these new pivot functions in Zoho Reports & let us know your views.

Zoho Reports: Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics Dashboard

Posted by Posted on by
We had earlier made a live dashboard for the Beijing Summer Olympics 2008. A good many sports enthusiasts visited it and many of you had good things to say about it. For the ongoing Winter Olympics at Vancouver, Canada, we found there are a good many sites offering live updates with lots of cool info. However, a single page where you get to see the results and trends at a glance was lacking. So with that in mind, we collected information from different data sources and built a dashboard using Zoho Reports. It is available at http://vancouver2010.wiki.zoho.com.
Some of the reports that form part of the dashboard

  1. Medal standings till now
  2. Medals won today (by athletes & by nations)
  3. Top 5 performing countries (classification by men/women also available)
  4. Progress of top performing nations till now
  5. How the top countries have performed across the various sports disciplines

We are updating the dashboard as often as we can, so that you can get a bird’s eye view of what’s happening at Vancouver. You can also access the entire data set from the Vancouver 2010 Database and Reports hosted on Zoho Reports. Other than the dashboard for the ongoing Games, we collected data for all the past Olympics and did some analysis on them as well.

Creating and sharing of reports & dashboards using Zoho Reports is easy and fun. You can make use of the intuitive, drag-and-drop interface and other powerful capabilities of Zoho Reports for getting in-depth views out of your diverse business data. Get started with Zoho Reports now.

Related Links

Zoho Reports Moves Out of Beta, Pricing Plans Announced

Posted by Posted on by

We’re happy to announce that Zoho Reports, our online business intelligence & reporting tool has graduated out of beta today. Zoho Reports helps businesses make better sense of their data by providing useful insights through powerful reporting and analytics, which
transforms to informed decision making. It achieves this through an impressive set of capabilities that lets users easily perform a variety of tasks, such as:

  • Upload any data. Zoho Reports lets users securely upload spreadsheets and tabular data such as .CSV, .TSV, .XLS or .HTML files. Of course, users can also add
    data directly using the spreadsheet-like interface.
  • Push data from any application. Zoho Reports works with hosted and traditional (in-house, behind a firewall) business applications and databases for reporting and analysis. Users can fetch and upload data into Zoho Reports from Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL  and MS Access databases. Automatic periodic uploads/synchronization is also supported.
  • Drag-and-Drop interface. Users can visually analyze and build insightful reports and dashboards using a drag-and-drop interface, all by themselves.
  • Use a variety of reporting components. Users have access to a wide range of reporting components, including charts, pivot tables, tabular view and dashboard components that ensure
    the most insightful report building and analysis possible.
  • Query with SQL. Zoho Reports lets users create powerful and flexible reports with SQL queries written in any database dialect/syntax.
  • Collaborative analysis. Users can develop reports together, enabling informed, collaborative business decisions. Reports can easily be shared with fine-grained
    access control, giving the report owner complete control over data and reports being shared.
  • Embed reports anywhere. Zoho Reports encourages widespread consumption of business intelligence by enabling users to embed reports in websites, intranets, blogs,
    applications, iGoogle and Microsoft SharePoint Server.
  • Secure all data and reports. Zoho Reports maintains a highly secure environment for all user data. Access to data and reports is secured with a proper user name and password, via HTTPS (SSL connection) network connectivity. All data and reports are hosted in highly secure datacenters, which offer redundancy, backup and continuity.

New  functionalities in this release include,

  • Dashboard view. Users can collate similar reports and view them all on a single page. For instance, a dashboard page consisting of 10 reports can be displayed in a “5×2” (five rows and two columns) format.
  • iGoogle gadget. Users can embed the gadget version of Zoho Reports in their iGoogle home page, giving them ready access to their reports and dashboards from their iGoogle page.

Like other Zoho products, Zoho Reports offers a generous free edition. And the pricing plans start at $15 per month (for 250,000 rows and 2 users). Take a look at Zoho Reports. We hope you’ll like it.

Adding Interactive Reports to your Presentations

Posted by Posted on by

One of the important things we have been focusing out this year has been integration between the various Zoho apps. An example of such an integration – Zoho Show has long allowed embedding of Zoho Sheet’s spreadsheets and charts. The same is now possible with Zoho Reports too. You can embed your cool reports that you created in Zoho Reports into a Zoho Show presentation and impress your audience with live interactive reports.

Let’s say as your company’s Sales Manager, you are to present the month’s sales figures. Use Zoho Reports to crunch all your sales data, make reports out of it and Zoho Show to make your presentation. Embedding the reports from Zoho Reports, you make the presentation much more interactive and powerful. You can mouseover the embedded charts and get relevant values displayed. You can click on the data points in the chart and drill down to the actual values too. See such a slide show in action below (embedding the presentation in a web page / another application is another plus when using Zoho Show)

How to embed reports in Zoho Show presentations

In Zoho Reports, click on Publish -> Embed in Website/Blog. Copy the html code snippet given. In Zoho Show, click on Insert -> HTML code. Paste the code from Zoho Reports and click on the Insert button. The chart/table will get embedded.

Go on. Create Zoho Show presentations with embedded cool & live reports from Zoho Reports. I’m sure your audience will love it :)

Zoho Reports : Connectors for Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL and MS Access Databases

Posted by Posted on by

So much of your business data from many of your applications lie in a database like Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL or MS Access, behind a firewall. Getting meaningful reports out of such databases and taking corrective actions based on those reports is what business intelligence is all about. The databases themselves are typically costly and creating reports out of them isn’t that easy. Buying additional reporting tools, which you need to install and maintain, adds up to your costs. But by making your data available in Zoho Reports, you get these major benefits:

  1. Create meaningful reports easily using just drag-and-drop
  2. The reports you create are accessible from anywhere
  3. Enable collaborative analysis and reporting
  4. Share the reports over the web to whoever you want
  5. Very affordable, pay-as-you-go monthly pricing plans (Zoho Reports is actually free, as of now)

Zoho Reports makes it easy to push data from behind-the-firewall databases (and CSV files too) by providing you with an Upload Tool (a database
connector). Using the tool, you can easily connect and push data from your databases like Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL and MS Access to Zoho Reports. You can schedule data uploads in regular intervals so that you continue to get near-real-time reports based on your dynamic data.

As the diagram above shows, the tool works in a simple way. It is a database connector that pulls data from your databases and uploads it to Zoho Reports. Data gets transfered securely over the Internet to Zoho Reports using a secured connection (HTTPS).  You can then create powerful reports and analysis based on the data uploaded. Read more about how to move data from your in-house databases to Zoho Reports.

If you are interested in using Zoho Reports for your business intelligence and reporting needs, do contact us for a personalized demo.