This article will focus on the Top Cloud-based Reporting Tools for Banks.

Top Cloud-based Reporting Tools for Banks
Why was Dick Tracy’s watch so cool?  Dick Tracy was the main character of a comic strip that started in 1931.  He was a police detective that used forensic science, advanced gadgetry, and wits to catch the bad guys.  This series was the beginning of today’s police procedural mystery stories—although the Dick Tracy stories often ended in gunfights just the same. His stories typically follow a criminal committing a crime and Tracy’s relentless pursuit of the criminal.

What made the series so cool was Dick Tracy’s watch.  Wherever he went, the watch was with him.  If he ever got in trouble, he would just talk into his watch and his buddies at the police department were right there to help him out. If he wanted to see his girlfriend Tess Truheart, he would just turn on the screen and there she was in living color.

It seemed like the whole world was it his beck and call on the back of his hand.  The magic of Dick Tracy’s watch lives on today in our use of the mobile phone in the palm of our hands.  Think about it.  Our mobile phones are with us everywhere we go.  We can now FaceTime with anyone.  We are no longer tethered to an office computer and phone to communicate with the world.

The use of mobile technology gives new meaning to the song by The Who, written by Pete Townshend, called “Goin’ Mobile.”  The song says,

Out in the woods
Or in the city
It’s all the same to me
When I’m drivin’ free, the world’s my home
When I’m mobile

Why reporting tools for banks are going Cloud – No matter where I go these days, people are staring at their mobile devices.  It does not matter their age these days.  Young kids keeping up with their friends on Snapchat, singles looking for their next date on Tinder, and older folks tracking their investments on Ticker are just a few examples.

It makes sense that banking executives today want to keep up with how their bank is performing by using the same technology.  In the past, a bank executive would receive a paper report via inter-office mail to stay informed.  Then came e-mail as a way of delivering reports.  If the reports were interactive, the executive would have to connected to the bank’s data through a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

VPN is a virtualized extension of a private network across a public network, such as the Internet. It enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. Applications running across the VPN may therefore benefit from the functionality, security, and management of the private network.

The key here is a private network.  To connect, the executive would have to use the VPN software that was loaded on their work PC or laptop.  In order to interact with the data on a report, additional software needs to be loaded on the same machine.  The list of additional software solutions typically includes Microsoft Excel and an Excel add-in.

Here is the problem.  You get an alert that earnings for the month is going to be short while you are driving to your next business appointment.  To find out more, you need to pull over to find a Starbucks, turn on your laptop and connect to your VPN, find the report template that alert is tied to, and then start your analysis.  That is so outdated!

What needs to happen is that the alert has a hyperlink that you can click on your mobile device that will seamlessly take you right to the report variance.  You need to be able to just click an option or two to drill into the data to find out what is going on.  The results need to come back in graphical form so you can quickly visualize the issue while you are merging onto I-405 at 5:15 PM (caution: this is not recommended!).  The only way this can be done is through a Cloud-based reporting tool.

Components of Top Cloud-based Reporting Tools for Banks – The are a few key components that will qualify a solution to make this list.

  • Excel-based report writer – almost all of the Corporate Performance Management (CPM) reports are written by accountants.  Virtually every accountant uses Excel in some form or fashion to write the reports.  If the tool is going to be adopted by your accountants, it must have Excel as the primary report writer.
  • Easy to use/understand data warehouse – there are many solutions that can connect directly to data sources.  The problem with that approach is that your solution will have to run on a VPN in order to connect.  Aggregating all the pertinent data into a common data warehouse that is easy to use and understand is key.  Since data warehouses can be on-premise or on Cloud, the use of a VPN can be eliminated.
  • Data and application needs to be in the Cloud and secure – If you want to free your executives from clumsy personal computers and laptops, the data and application need to be in the Cloud.  All they need is access to the internet and a password to gain access.  Of course anything on Cloud needs to be secure.  Picking the right host provider will be key.  Two of the top Cloud providers are Amazon through Amazon Web Services and Microsoft through Azure.  Both are heavily certified to keep your data safe and secure.
  • Easy to navigate web portal – Having a catalogue of reports to choose from is nice but can be cumbersome to navigate while using a 3” by 5” screen (and driving!).  A good web portal will organize the reports that meet the user’s needs.  For instance, having a bunch of accounts payable reports in a Credit Officer’s list of reports is just clutter.  They just want to see the necessary reports that are relevant to them.  Being able to flip through the reports like you would songs in iTunes will make life much easier for your team.

What tools make the list? – It terms of providing Data Warehouses with Excel report writers, Cognos by IBM, OBIEE by Oracle, BusinessObjects by SAP, and BI360 by Solver are all excellent solutions.  All of these solutions come in on-premise or Cloud options and utilize Excel to build the report templates.  If you are going to go with on-premise, however, you will still need to utilize a VPN to access your data.  If you are ready for “Cloud only” solutions, Host Analytics and Adaptive Insightsare a few others to consider.

But if going mobile is the true objective, then you need to check BI360’s web portal approach to reporting.  It is enabling world-class decisions in the palms of your executives’ hands.  The nice thing about using Solver as your option is that they already have a catalog of bank templates already prebuilt for much quicker adoption.

With BI360’s web portal deployed, you can create lists of favorite reports for each member of your executive team much the same way iTunes allows you to build playlists.  You can flip through the reports just like the cover flow feature of iTunes as well.  All of the reports, charts, graphs can be drilled into for quick data interrogation and understanding.  Whatever you choose, allow your executives to go mobile by getting them a top Cloud-based reporting tool for banks today. Solver, Inc. is happy to answer any questions and review BI360’s easy-to-use, Excel-based budgeting and reporting solution for banking users.  If you are looking to take your love affair with Excel to the Cloud, choose the right tool that will meet your bank’s needs today.