Boost Your Business Performance with Reports in the Cloud

Elevate your report distribution to the next level – access reports anytime, anywhere, on any device using the cloud.

Deciding where and how to keep business information can be quite a challenge especially when it needs to be shared across the business; everyone expects to be able to access  it easily so they can use it to perform their work functions, wherever they may be and at any given time. The cloud, which is accessible using PCs, tablets and smartphones anytime and anywhere – is a viable solution to distributing information efficiently.

Like many people, you probably use the cloud for sharing news articles, photos and managing email; why not elevate your existing reporting process by including the cloud as a powerful distribution tool for reports as well? There are many reliable services offering convenient ways to sync your business reports (or any files you wish) into the cloud, then make them easily accessible through apps on any device. Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive are all great examples of these services.

Using the Distribution module in Sage Intelligence you can select your Dropbox folder as a destination for reports. As we know, anything placed in this folder is automatically synced to your Dropbox in the cloud and from there you can securely share different reports to people who need to see them. That’s pretty easy but those reports are only readable on PCs. How do you then make them appropriate for tablets and smartphones?

Using Microsoft® Excel® you just need to adjust the look and feel of your reports to suit the smaller screens of mobile devices. You could have an Excel report with multiple sheets like a detailed Sales pivot report which Joe wants to analyze on his PC, a Sales Dashboard which Jessica can check on her iPad whilst on the road closing deals, and key performance metrics for Andrew who likes to use his smartphone to keep an eye on how the sales team is doing. Using Sage Intelligence you can distribute each worksheet inside the workbook as a separate report to Dropbox and then Joe, Jessica and Andrew can be connected using the Dropbox app on their devices.

Let me show you a step-by-step method to distribute a report to tablets. In summary, I set up a distribution instruction to automatically take my Debtors Dashboard worksheet and convert it into a PDF format and then save it automatically inside of my OneDrive folder which syncs with my OneDrive account in the cloud.

Step 1. I prepare my report for tablet viewing

The general rule I follow to ensure my reports look good on a tablet is make them fit nicely into an A4 landscape page area inside Excel. Once done then set my page breaks inside Excel so nothing is cut off when this worksheet is converted into a PDF.

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To make sure my report is fitting into an A4 landscape area, I quickly check a print preview of what the report will look like when converted to PDF.

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Step 2. I set up a Distribution Instruction to Dropbox

My Instruction uses the File Publish option to publish my Dashboard as a PDF to my Dropbox folder. Choosing a specific worksheet to send out ensures my recipients only see what I want them to see. 

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I then ensure my OneDrive Distribution Instruction is selected for use and check the Scheduler Command option at the bottom to ensure this distribution will kick off automatically when my report is scheduled via the Report Manager.

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Step 3. I schedule my report to run automatically

By using the Scheduler Command inside Report Manager I can make sure my Dashboard to automatically run and distributed to Dropbox as often as I want.

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After obtaining the scheduler command, I use the Windows Task Scheduler to quickly create a recurring task to run my dashboard.

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 Step 4. I can now view my report via the Dropbox app on my Tablet

Once the report has been distributed, now I just launch the OneDrive app on my iPad and view my report. This report will be updated as often as I have set it to be scheduled and is instantly viewable on OneDrive.

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 Need to secure who can see reports on OneDrive? Microsoft OneDrive allows you to only share files/reports to specific people and so once you have distributed your report into OneDrive you can determine who can see it.

Be sure to try this out for yourself, I’d love to hear back from you in the comments below on how this works for you and what type of reports you think would be great to distribute to mobile devices!