Database Reporting Tools: Example & Definition

Instructor: David Gloag

David has over 40 years of industry experience in software development and information technology and a bachelor of computer science

Reporting is a fundamental operation in today's data centric world. In this lesson, we'll take a look at reporting and how it relates to databases. In the end, you should have a good understanding of these important technologies.

The Technology Behind the Scenes

It is no secret that businesses today run on information. They collect data on everything. Their sales, their expenses, their labor costs, the hours worked, etc. The list goes on and on, almost to the point of being obsessive. But is that enough? Surely, there needs to be more than just gathering? Absolutely! They want to use that data to help them make informed decisions on day-to-day questions, and they need some means to do that.

Let's step back for a moment, and look at this from the other side. Have you ever wondered how the month-end reports for your company were created? Have you imagined that some poor soul spent hours and hours collecting, organizing, and printing the data summarized within? Probably! Then you would be surprised to learn that most are obtained at the press of a button. Indeed, they are. The not-so-poor-soul uses a combination of database technology and reporting tools to accomplish the task.

What is a Database?

A database is a collection of information centered on a particular theme. Many examples of this exist behind the scenes of our daily lives. Our banking transactions are stored in a database before we see them on our monthly statements, or list them during web access to our accounts. The IRS and Revenue Canada store tax information in a database for comparison to our tax returns. And our cell phone records are stored in a database before we receive our bills. But to make this information useful, it must be organized and displayed in some meaningful way.

What is a Database Reporting Tool?

Reporting is the process of writing a detailed description on something of interest. The stories presented in your favorite newspaper, for example, are created through reporting. A database reporting tool extends the idea of reporting to a specific set of information, that stored in a database. At the push of a button, it can slice and dice the information in any way you see fit. This is the organization and printing part mentioned above.

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