Data Visualisation, Reports & Dashboards

Report and Dashboard Production Presenting and analysing your data in charts, tables, gauges and indicators to provide new insights and inform decision making

We work with social housing providers producing reports and dashboards for operational, management and executive level consumption across the whole range of business functions.

Examples of reports and dashboards delivered include:

  • Arrears monitoring
  • Voids costs and performance
  • Repairs cost and performance
  • Homelessness monitoring
  • Analysis of all business areas, rents, repairs, arrears, letting etc

Report elements can include tables and cross-tabs, collections of performance indicators, graphs and charts, and depending on the systems in use can be delivered as PDFs, spreadsheets or web pages.

The primary tools we use are: Business Objects, Microsoft SSRS and Microsoft Power BI.

Take a look at these examples:

If you need extra report writing resource capacity for anything from 1/2 day upwards, we can help.

Data Visualisation

Business Objects

This market leading reporting tool has the has capability to deliver great reports and has been used by many Orchard Housing customers due to its excellent and powerful features.

Business Objects uses ‘universes’ to shield users from the complexity of underlying data and provide a translation between the database terminology and understandable business terms - the so-called ‘semantic layer’. This is one of its great advantages, but also a constraint, as any data not included in the universe is not available to report on. Also, many universes are overly complex, meaning data cannot be accessed as expected, and/or incorrect results are obtained. It is pitched as an easy to use, end user, tool but experience shows this is often not the case.

Our experience of Business Objects, particularly in the Orchard Housing environment, means that we can almost always find a solution to any reporting requirement, sometimes through multiple merged queries, possibly using a modified universe or custom SQL.

Microsoft SSRS

Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services is a great option for organisations that adopt Orchard’s IMS and datamarts solutions. The IMS requires a SQL Server installation, and that comes with SSRS at no extra cost.

SSRS includes its own web server where reports are published, meaning that access and consumption by end users is extremely simple.

It is a good solution for printable paginated reports and also includes very simple to use drill down from high level summaries to low level details, using expand and collapse buttons.

Microsoft Power BI

Power BI is Microsoft’s latest reporting tool and is a powerful interactive dashboard data visualisation product. It has been compared to more established products such as QlikView and Tableau, but is much less expensive.

Microsoft say: “Power BI is a suite of business analytics tools to analyze data and share insights. Monitor your business and get answers quickly with rich dashboards available on every device.”

Take a look at these examples:

Power BI includes as standard visuals such as:

  • Tables and matrixes
  • Bar, line, area, scatter and combined charts
  • Slicers
  • Gauges
  • Single and multi line forms
  • Maps, filled and point based

A report page can include several of the above visuals showing different aspects of a data set, and by default, all the visuals are interactive. So for example, clicking on a bar in a bar chart showing costs by area would adjust any other visuals on the page to show data just for that selected area.

Drillable hierarchies can be built into any visual enabling rapid navigation from summary to detail data. At the lowest levels there are options to view the underlying data or records.

Maps have built in functionality to automatically recognise geographic data including postcodes, towns, countries etc.

ORS & DataPA

There is also Orchard Reporting Server (ORS) and DataPA OpenAnalytics, which is a cost-effective alternative, which when combined provides a reporting solution providing web based dashboards

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Our Products & Services

Read more about the social housing enterprise data analysis services we can offer you