Reporting Xpress

How Reporting As A Service Works at Reporting Xpress

Reporting Xpress was born out of the recognition by a group of senior foundation executives of the need to get current, actionable information into the hands of people charged with executing their organization’s mission.

Project Activty Reporting DashboardScreenshot

The Beginning of Reporting Xpress

It started with project/fund activity reporting, i.e., how to make sure hundreds of people across their organization who are not accountants but are responsible for spending individual pools of money on things like scholarships, research grants, endowed chairs, etc. can keep track of spending, fund balances, investment returns, new donations, budgets, etc. without having to become users of a powerful but complex financial system.

Once we started digging into what a solution might look like, we realized there were other pretty common challenges across all types of non-profits and foundations that could be addressed by an automated reporting and report distribution system.

Of course, today, that means implementing a cloud-based system, and Reporting Xpress was launched as a Reporting as a Service platform (RaaS) based on AWS’s robust cloud infrastructure.

Reporting Xpress _ Cloud Based Reporting

The Most Common Challenges We Can Solve

  • Automate report generation and distribution of project or fund-based reports.
  • Automate report generation and distribution of financial and/or fundraising reports for distributed sub-units of your organization, i.e. locations, branches, colleges, parishes, departments, teams, etc.
  • Improve access to information for non-core system users via a simple, intuitive, secure reporting portal and automated email distribution.
  • Automate reports that combine data from multiple systems. There is no reason routine to manually create reports that combine data from various systems using Excel or some other tool each week/month/quarter/year.
  • Reduce the risk of error in manually created or manipulated reports put together outside of your core systems.
  • Combine data from multiple reports into a single executive-level view.
  • Reorganize reports to make them actionable tools.
  • Improve the aesthetics of reports to better reflect the professionalism of your back office team.
  • Increase the frequency of reporting. If a report is automated, there is no reason not to have daily updates.
  • Automate ETL functions to create files used for import into some other system.
  • Just about anything else you find frustrating about your current reporting, i.e. the ability to include nonstandard or “custom fields” on a report, segment or subtotal a report on any field or attribute, custom calculations, etc.

We don’t look much like other circa-2018 startups. Our CTO has been surfing the latest technology waves for 30+ years. His prior startups have twice been named Microsoft Partner of the Year. Our CEO has 30+ years of experience growing technology companies, including co-founding three other successful B2B SAAS products. This experience provides us a deep appreciation for the process, information security, system resilience, and other things you would expect from a mature company.

We became a Blackbaud Technology partner because they are the worldwide market leader in non-profit financial and fundraising software. It also helps that we are right up the road from Blackbaud in Columbia, South Carolina. However, we can integrate with any cloud-based software with API access.

Reporting Xpress Work More Efficiently Xpress Reporting as a Service

The Reporting Xpress Difference

  • Reporting Xpress extracts data from your core systems via API and shapes it into a temporary JSON data warehouse in the cloud from which we can generate reports.
  • The temporary data warehouse gives Reporting Xpress the ability to reshape your data and combine data from multiple systems to provide report views that may not be available from your core systems.  Don't worry.  We don't store any of your source data.  We delete it as soon as we generate the reports and only store reports in encrypted AWS secure storage.
  • Not all reports are designed to be consumed by humans. Reporting Xpress can also generate 'reports' that are data files. These can be CSV’s, SQL files, XML, etc. that can be imported into other systems freeing staff from the repetitive tasks of exporting and reshaping/cleaning data to get it ready for import into another system.
  • All of Reporting Xpress’s computing and storage resources exist in AWS’s world-class cloud infrastructure and Reporting Xpress leverages native cloud services provided by AWS for optimum security, performance, and availability.

Report Templates

Report Templates are Defined by a Dataset, and the Structure of a Report Layout

Report Templates are at the core of the Reporting Xpress pricing structure. 

A report template includes items like:

    • A dataset made up of data from one or more sources of like or complementary data
    • A definition of any pre-processing of data required (i.e. calculate account balances or average time between gifts)
    • A definition of columns for the report
    • A definition of report calculations 

A report template can be used to spawn multiple reports based on the filtering of data.  For example, an individual gift report may be produced for each fundraiser and/or each campaign or appeal.  They would all use the same template (the same look and feel and dataset drive them) with different filtering.  An organization with 15 fundraisers might receive 15 individual gift reports from one template.  Accompanying visualizations are usually considered part of the report template.

Summary or Rollup reports are generally considered a separate template from detail reports.

Multiple report templates can be aggregated into a larger automated reporting package contained in one document(PDF, Word, PPT, etc.)  or spreadsheet, but the templates are still counted individually.  

Customer SAAS pricing for automated reporting is typically based on the number of report templates deployed regardless of the number of actual individual reports produced.  The number of reports produced is typically significantly larger than the number of report templates.  Another Example: A single scholarship report template may be used to produce hundreds of individual scholarship reports, but still counts as one template.

The one current exception to this model is Financial Edge Project Reporting.  Because the frequency of project reporting multiplied by the volume of active projects creates such large numbers of reports (i.e. 5,000 active projects x 3 reports per project plus summary reports by department/college/etc. equals 15,000-20,000 reports per night), pricing for FE Project Reporting is based on the number of active FE projects. 

Intuitive User Interface

Reporting Xpress was designed to make it incredibly easy for anyone to access the information they need to more effectively execute their job.  It starts with a Federated Security platform that leverages your existing network directory for identity management.  We will help you with this integration.  The benefit is that users are recognized by their existing logins and passwords so no one has to remember or manage another set of user credentials.

The basic user interface has two panels.  On the left is a folder structure that should be familiar to anyone who has used a computer in the last twenty years.  Reporting Xpress automatically security trims this folder structure for each user so they only see folders containing reports that they have permission to view.  On the right are what appear similar to Monopoly Cards.  Think of each card sitting on top of a stack of reports organized by date.  The cards contain controls to allow you to interact with that stack of reports.

Reporting Xpress UI Example

The cards contain information about the reports and allow you to select and interact with the individual reports.  Although we include live webinar-based training for end-users with every implementation the comment we hear most often is: "'No thanks, this is a simple website and we already know how to interact with websites".  

Reporting Xpress Monopoly Card

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