Mastering the Art of Reporting: Your Essential Guide to Data-Driven Storytelling

Report.

From Oxford Languages:

Verb:

  • Give a spoken or written account of something that one has observed, heard, done, or investigated.

Noun:

  • An account given of a particular matter, especially in the form of an official document, after thorough investigation or consideration by an appointed person or body.

While these definitions help us understand what a report is, they lack an explanation of why we would report in the first place. I interpret these definitions as "telling a story." This leads to the question: What story are we trying to tell? And to better tell that story, it's essential to know who is asking.

In presales, we often encounter the question: "Can you show me your reporting?" To this, I respond: "What kind of story are you trying to tell?" For instance, if someone wants to see throughput for their team on a weekly basis, they're essentially asking: "How did my individual team members perform last week based on the tickets they resolved?"

So far, we've discussed two questions that help us understand how to approach a report: "What story are we trying to tell?" and "Who wants to know?" Let's introduce a third question to ensure we benefit from the reporting: "What will we do with what we learned?" If you don't have plans to leverage the knowledge gained from the data or the story, you might be reporting just for the sake of reporting. Knowing without doing only adds to either comfort or anxiety.

"Great info, Sean! I'm new and want to leverage this knowledge, but I'm not sure where to start."

Now, let's discuss some good starting reports:

  • Aging Tickets: Showcasing all Open Tickets on a scale from Oldest to Newest.
  • Origin Report: Displaying the totals of how all tickets are received/created.
  • Top 5 Category/Subcategory: Highlighting the totals of each Category/Subcategory, focusing on the top 5.
  • Top Resolvers: Revealing the top resolvers of issues/requests.
  • CSAT: Last but not least, measuring Satisfaction.

I plan and hope to write a post for each of the five reports mentioned above. Remember, this is a discussion post, so I encourage you to share your thoughts, collaborate, and discuss!