12 Keys for Social Solutions Apricot Software Reports

Category: Reports

Data changes the way we plan, make decisions, and act. But data by itself isn’t meaningful, useful, or actionable. It must be transformed to become valuable. Your Social Solutions Apricot™ software system can take raw form and field data and transform it into actionable reports, dashboards, and analytics. The data transformation process is called the “Information Hierarchy.”

Each phase in the information hierarchy adds value to data so it can be actionable and relevant to your organization. Each phase also relates to features of your Apricot software system.

Information exists in a hierarchy.

  • Data
  • Information
  • Knowledge

There are twelve keys to Apricot software reports that will transform raw form and field data on programs, services, volunteers, grants, and donors into actionable intelligence.


Data is the simplest form of information. Data is the foundation of the information hierarchy because data is the raw inputs.

Data is captured on forms and fields in Apricot. Each form is a record and each field on a form captures a unique data point. The structure of Apricot forms (including form linking) and fields define how data will be displayed in Apricot reports.

Data in and of itself cannot yield any specific insight beyond what it is. For example, a single race demographic on a single intake form cannot offer deep meaning beyond what it is. But data is the foundation of the information hierarchy and as a result it is required for each subsequent step in the information hierarchy.  Therefore data must be clean, healthy, and properly structured in your Apricot database.

Build a solid foundation with quality data by taking these steps.

1. Build a data collection framework with forms and fields that capture data relevant to your organization’s goals and objectives (keep data collection focused on relevant data only).

2. Build a data collection framework with forms and fields that are reportable (develop forms based on reports, don’t build forms just to build forms).

3. Build forms, sections, fields, and form logic that encourage good data entry and produce quality data.

4. Run data quality reports and reviews on a frequent basis to maintain healthy data.


Information is a group of data that has purpose beyond the specific data points. Information is the aggregation of data into an understandable format. For example, take a count of participants in a particular program by a race demographic field. The data is the individual participant intake records and the race field, while the sum of those data points is a piece of information that has meaning beyond the data.

Running a report produces information in Apricot software. Information requires consolidation and aggregation of data in reports. Grouping data reveals trends and correlations that are otherwise unrecognizable when only looking at raw data points.

Because reports are so important to the transformation of data, running Apricot reports on a consistent basis is the only way to gather unique insight from the data in your Apricot database.

Take the next step by aggregating data into information with these actions.

5. Build and run Apricot reports on a consistent and frequent schedule (this seems so simple, yet it is extremely important).

6. Build a single “base” or audit report for each form in your system (as a foundation), then build more complex reports from that foundational report.

7. Filter, group, and visualize each “base” report to match your goals and objectives.

8. Follow a structured Apricot report development process that incorporates performance management principles and best practices.


Knowledge is applied information. Knowledge is created when information is contextualized and given meaning that applies to a particular situation. This contextualized information adds value that otherwise cannot be computed or aggregated statistically or mathematically. For example, the count of all participants with a specific race distinction is just information, but you create knowledge by comparing the count to a goal count of participants you hope to serve in a target population. The knowledge is the realization that you either did or didn’t achieve your goal of serving a particular number of participants in a target population.

Knowledge can only be generated with clear information applied to a situation. Because knowledge cannot be mathematically or statistically generated, it requires interpretation, thought, and potentially translation. While data and information are more computational, knowledge generation is generally a human process. Apricot can show knowledge, but you must define how that knowledge should be uncovered. You can do this by answering questions like what are our goals, what are we trying to achieve, and what outcomes show progress?

Knowledge can be created with internal Apricot reporting features or external to the Apricot database altogether. Reports run in Excel or statistical modeling software are equally capable of creating knowledge.

If you choose to use the Apricot reporting platform (which we recommend), knowledge can be created with the outcomes reporting tool, the charts feature (specifically target lines), and comparison reporting.

Develop knowledge by leveraging Apricot reporting features in the following ways.

9. Build Apricot reports that contain charts and visualizations of information including the visual components of the outcomes tool.

10. Format Apricot report charts in bulletins to produce real-time information dashboards.

11. Build reports that produce knowledge by incorporating features like outcomes, comparison reporting, and target lines.

12. Build Apricot reports that answer specific questions about your organization’s goals and objectives with data.

The information hierarchy ends with knowledge, but knowledge must be paired with action to truly manage and improve performance.


Any data, information, or knowledge in and of itself cannot change the world, save a life, coordinate volunteers, raise more funds for mission, or lead staff, but you can take action with knowledge and information. With good data that is aggregated into information and transformed into knowledge, your organization has the context and concrete evidence to act.

Whether that action is adjusting service plans, altering or reinforcing program design characteristics, or following up on produced information with more analysis, the information hierarchy can help you develop the proof you need to make decisions with confidence and accuracy. Knowledge may be power, but action is the only way organizational improvement and social change can be made.

Transform data with Apricot software reports

Apricot has a wealth of reporting and data management features. As an administrator of your database, keep a focus on those features that transform raw form and field data into actionable knowledge. Remember that information is not all the same. The goal is to have clear data, accurate information, and insightful knowledge.

How will you use Apricot reports to take data-driven action and improve organizational performance?

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