As businesses grow and scale, the need for comprehensive reporting capabilities becomes increasingly important. Like many other businesses, SaaS companies require accurate, timely, and relevant reporting capabilities to make informed decisions and optimize their operations. Despite the plethora of advanced technology and tools available, enterprises often face difficulties in attaining the critical reporting capabilities they need to succeed.

Here are the top four reporting capabilities that enterprises commonly struggle to achieve, and the solutions for overcoming these challenges:

1. Timely access to data and reports

In the SaaS world, things change very quickly. Customers constantly sign up, upgrade or downgrade their subscriptions, and can churn at any time. In such ever-changing environments, businesses must be able to generate live reports using the most recent data possible in order to effectively plan and manage their business in both the short and long-term. Unfortunately, getting up-to-date figures can be an obstacle to decision-making and it’s often a case of relying on suboptimal manual processes to do the job. The older the data in your reports is, the less useful it is in facilitating data-driven decisions.

Investing in a quote-to-revenue solution with built-in, out-of-the-box reporting and analytics can automatically retrieve and consolidate all of your data across distributed systems to create a single source of truth across the business without the need to combine or clean up data or help from IT staff. With embedded reporting and analytics, you can easily get real-time data at your fingertips for faster, more confident decision-making. Your team can have peace of mind that decisions are backed by accurate and timely information.

2. Automated reporting

Analyzing your data and turning it into meaningful insights is a key factor for business growth and development. However, many organizations struggle to attain efficient and effective reporting due to the significant time and effort required to generate reports manually.

This is where automated reporting capabilities come in handy, allowing you to quickly and easily create reports in real-time without the need for manual intervention.

With automated reporting, you can generate reports on a predefined schedule (such as daily, weekly, or monthly) or trigger reports to run on specific events (such as adding new records to the data source). By putting reporting on autopilot, businesses can improve overall maintenance by reducing the time and effort required to generate reports manually, while also ensuring that reports are generated consistently and accurately.

For SaaS businesses, having pre-built reporting templates is essential to streamline the reporting process. With pre-built templates, you can quickly generate reports without having to spend time creating them from scratch. Additionally, they can serve as a starting point for you to create custom reports that are tailored to your specific needs.

Templates can be modified by adding or removing data points, adjusting visualizations or calculations, and including any additional information that is needed. These reports are designed to capture the most important metrics and data points that are relevant to the business in a clear and easy to understand way, allowing stakeholders to quickly gain insights into their operations.

3. Ability to filter by many dimensions

One of the key reporting capabilities that enterprises want but often struggle to achieve is the ability to seamlessly move from a high-level view to the detailed level. Many businesses may be able to see their basic ARR for bookings, but lack the ability to drill down and see which accounts participated and which products were upsold. With drill-down reporting capabilities, however, analytics teams can easily dig deeper into ARR and filter data by cohort or change type such as upsell or churn. This level of detail allows businesses to gain a more comprehensive understanding of their revenue growth and identify areas for improvement. For instance, by clicking on a specific month’s upsell data, businesses can quickly list out the accounts and products that contributed to that growth.

According to a McKinsey report, top-quartile companies understand the efficiency of their spend at a granular segment level and use it to adjust spending to segments that produce the highest returns. They also pull granular operating data from across the business into integrated dashboards that make it easy for leaders to see the relationship between specific, often siloed activities and overall growth outcomes. With the ability to seamlessly move from high-level metrics to detailed insights, enterprises can quickly identify areas of opportunity and make adjustments as needed to drive growth and improve their bottom line.

4. End-to-end consistent data

Having end-to-end consistent data is a crucial reporting capability that enterprises strive for but often find hard to achieve. Many companies have separate systems for their CPQ, billing, and accounting, resulting in data silos with different logic and data models that may not be fully complete and accurate. This makes it challenging to ensure that churn data, invoicing payment collection metrics, and revenue recognition are in sync. By bringing all these disparate data sets together and linking them consistently, businesses can have a better understanding of their financial health. For instance, they can easily determine how much of their bookings have been successfully invoiced and paid or what kinds of discounts were given on written-off amounts.

This blog post is an excerpt from our eBook "Mastering SaaS Metrics: A Guide to Measuring and Optimizing Revenue Growth." To read more, download the full guide here.