Athena Software Blog
Penelope client management software reporting options
Posted by Jordan Fox on Sep. 2, 2016

There are many different reasons why health and social service organizations seek out client management software like Penelope.

Some of the more common reasons include: being unhappy with their current system, making the move from paper to software, or wanting a more comprehensive system to replace multiple databases.

Whatever the reason, most organizations have a few key components they would like to see in a new software system, a list that usually includes one of the primary reasons of all - reporting.

Depending on what region you’re in, your reporting needs can vary drastically.

There are reports you need for funders (which can change frequently), for internal annual reporting, for government bodies, and so on.

If these reports were static and consistent over time, this would make life somewhat easier but that's rarely the case.

Reporting requirements can change quite often, and it leaves you and your team with the difficult task of sifting through the data in your software system to find the right nuggets you’re looking for.

Instead of focusing on your organizational work and improving the service you deliver, you often find yourself waist-deep in data every month trying to pull together your reports.

That's why I want to take a moment and explain the three basic ways of building reports out of Penelope.

Please keep in mind that these options are not mutually exclusive, meaning you can use one or a combination of these options. The choice is up to you!

1. Built-In Reports

Option 1 - use the more than 130 built-in reports that come with every instance of Penelope.

These can be used to report on your client demographics, funders, group classes, scheduling, staff productivity, program details, billing and accounts, documents and assessments, and more.

Access to these reports is controlled by the security permissions you configure in Penelope, so that you can provide staff members with access to just the reports they need, while supervisors or management can have access to all reports if necessary.

The reports are easy to use and can be pulled out in a PDF that can be printed with your agency logo or sent via e-mail.

Penelope reports include built-in options so that results can be filtered by date range, service, worker, or other options, as relevant to the particular report.

2. ODBC Connection

Option 2 - export your raw data via an Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) connection.

We give you this option as part of your software package by providing access to an ODBC driver at no cost.

An ODBC driver allows you to access the raw data in the back-end of the system, export it to a third-party application such as Excel, and then query the database to create an essentially unlimited number of reports to meet your needs.

Some organizations prefer this method for a few reasons.

Perhaps you have someone on staff who is proficient at manipulating data and creating reports in Excel.

Or maybe you're already using a report-building program that you’re comfortable with, and you want to continue using it to create reports with your Penelope data.

Either way, the ODBC connection is a small but very powerful asset that you gain access to with Penelope.

Giving authorized users access to the data allows your organization to use data in custom queries for report building, or to create an export so that it can be uploaded to other software systems such as financial or payroll software, for example.

Creating custom queries to pull out the data you need to report to your stakeholders can also be done with help from our data specialists.

Our in-house experts are happy to provide a quote to help you meet your reporting needs at any time.

Tableau can create compelling visualizations of your Penelope data

3. Tableau

Lastly, Option 3 - use Tableau Reporting with Penelope.

Tableau is a leading online reporting and dashboard building tool that helps people see and understand their data in a variety of ways.

You have two options when you’re purchasing Tableau for use with Penelope.

You can go with our annual SaaS subscription, where we host your data and you can build your own custom reports or outsource them to our team here at Athena.

The other option is if you purchase Tableau Desktop directly from Tableau which allows you to build your own reports on your own server.

With Tableau you’re able to set up online dashboards where you can consistently monitor metrics crucial to your organization.

These reports can be generated and distributed to a list of your choice automatically through e-mail as well.

Between all of these options, Penelope is the client management software solution that can meet your reporting needs.

In our experience, it makes a large difference if you have a clear idea of what your reporting needs are now and what changes could happen in the future.

This way, we can address your pain points right from the get-go and ensure that you and your team have the tools and resources at your fingertips to pull the right information from the system quickly and efficiently.

If you're interested in learning more about Penelope or the reporting options described here, contact us today!

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