Reports, Boards and Worksheets - When to use which?

[Updated July 2021 with the new Management Reporting feature]

 

As you are embarking on the UX journey, you may ask yourself: When should I use a Board? When should I use a Worksheet? and When should I use a Report?

This article is here to help you make the best decision.

High-Level View

 

Report

The Report page is used when a more static layout is required, with focused visuals, narrative and a high-level of standardized information.

We recommend using it for the following:

  • Grab decision-makers attention.
  • Tailored to executives and managers.
  • Focus attention on what matters.
  • Pixel perfect visuals.
  • Professional presentations that can be printed or presented live.

We do not recommend it for:

  • Data editing and input, Reports are for presentation only.
  • Viewing large data sets.

Board

The Board page is used for data visualization and editing in a highly polished way.

We recommend using it for the following:

  • KPI review.
  • Graphical, visual reporting.
  • Viewing data. 
  • Reviewing related data from multiple modules. 
  • Call-outs of specific metrics.
  • Landing pages.

We do not recommend using it for the following:

  • Reviewing large data sets. 
  • Editing large data sets. 
  • Inputting multiple rows of data. 

If you are in this scenario, have a look at the Worksheet page.

Worksheet

Though not recommended for reporting, Worksheets are best used to highlight a specific data set where an end user can edit data and complete planning activities with insights on supporting information.

We recommend using for:

  • Entering or editing data.  
  • Reviewing large, detailed, data sets. 
  • Filtering large data sets. 
  • Running actions on data sets. 

We also highly encourage you to leverage the Insights Panel functionality - this is giving users extra information and context; they can access cards for details about their data and use the quick links to navigate between Pages.

Let's Deep Dive

Depending on what you want to achieve, here are our recommendations:

Objectives Recommended Page Type

Executive Summary

Report Page: Use the slick look and feel of professional reporting pages; the pixel-perfect definition allows you to highlight information in a customized way.

 

Board Page: Use a combination of KPI Cards, Charts, and Tables depending on what data you want to show.

Variance Reporting

Report Page: Use the pixel-perfect functionality combined with the ability to hide headers to build a butterfly report. 

 

Board Page: Use a board page to show high-level variance reporting. 

Boards could be set up with both the table showing the variance and a graph to accompany it.

Use KPI card to show high-level totals.

 

Worksheet Page: Use a worksheet if you intend to show one primary grid and want the grid to take up the whole screen.

If users are selecting what to compare for version 1 and version 2 view, use a card on the insight panel.

The insight panel can also be used to show trends or other graphical views of the variance.

Data Import, Map, and Validate

Board Page: Add grid cards for data validation and action cards for imports. 

Worksheet Page: If this is a large set of data and any additional input is needed from the end users, this will be better suited to a worksheet page. 

Hierarchy Maintenance

Updating lists

We recommend maintaining hierarchies through modules and actions rather than directly in lists, which can be done in the New UX (through Forms) as well as using import actions created in Classic and surfaced in the New UX using an action button.

Documentation

Board Page: Use text cards with details and directions on how to use the application.

Use links from text card titles to other worksheet and board pages for navigation.

 

What about other Reporting options?

 

When you want to…

Report

Board 

Worksheet

Add-Ins

BI Tool

Get real time updates

   

Present in meetings

 

 

 

Print to fixed layout multipage PDF

   

Ad hoc number calculations

     

Include non-Anaplan data

 

 

 

Enter / update data

 

Write Back

 

Execute data import / map / validate

 

   

Provide executive summaries

 

 

Allow dynamic variance reporting

 

 

Use free-form layouts

   

 

Embed Data into narrative text

   

 

Design highly engaging pages using layered elements

   

Depending on Tool

Customize tables colors and style

   

 

In Summary

Let's recap:

End-User Objectives

Report

Board 

Worksheet

Review high-level KPIs

Insights Panel

Analyze high-level data

Insights Panel

See advanced formatting and charts

 

Compare data from multiple modules

View nested tables as a butterfly report

   

Navigate through fixed page layout design

   

Review detailed data

   

Edit large data sets

   

Filter large data sets

   

Drill down to detailed data

 

Pivot data

 

Change grid size

 

Use forms and actions

 

Switch between different grids/charts on a page

   

 

Which Pages are you using in your Planning ecosystem?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

The content in this article has not been evaluated for all Anaplan implementations and may not be recommended for your specific situation.
Please consult your internal administrators prior to applying any of the ideas or steps in this article.
Comments

@annejulie Awesome article.

For me, it comes down to the context selectors. If I need a customized selector or I need to synchronize my "insights" or there are multiple grids that facilitate a workflow, I usually lean towards a page. 

Good article, but I still miss one very essential topic: Planning!

A good planning toolbox will require bits and pieces of everything, from inputs on slightly larger grids to simple review graphs.

NUX still gives me great challenges with this, ending too often in an odd compromise that either lacks user friendliness or misses out on the process. 

Reporting is great though! 😎

 

 

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