Ad Hoc Reporting and Analysis
Ad hoc reporting and analysis is the ability to generate insights from business data on demand. Answering business questions now, rather than next week or next month, enables you to outstrip your competition.
Ad hoc reporting generates one-off reports for immediate, specific use.
We are all familiar with the same old business quarterly reports that always follow a specific format. However, an ad hoc report is different: a business question is posed, and the results are gathered and displayed nearly instantaneously in a human-readable format.
For instance, if you want to know how your sales location demographics have changed over the past five years, you can easily visualize this with maps for each year.
Ad hoc reporting can easily be performed on a data set by business analysts with the right tools. However, the data must be organized for non-technical users. They’ll need a self-service reporting tool to interface with the data, transform it, and display it in a readable format.
Ad hoc analysis performs on-demand complex querying on data for a specific business question.
For instance, you perform ad hoc analysis to see if a drop in sales was caused by regional product scarcity or seasonal pricing variations.
The availability of ad hoc analysis depends on how tricky the business question is to solve. For example, the question may be answered directly from the data, it may require custom code, or it could be something that data analysis templates can solve. If it needs custom coding, this requires a business analyst. But if a template can be used or the question can be answered directly from the data, and the software used to generate results is smart enough, then a non-technical user can perform ad hoc analysis.
Ad hoc reporting and analysis enable you to find answers to business questions from existing data fast. Decisions can be made quickly using this agile approach. Ad hoc is particularly useful when unforeseen events require a quick shift in operations.
The problem with many business intelligence solutions is they require business analysts and data specialists to create reports for non-technical audiences. The end-user requires a report - but the data needs to be organized by a data specialist before using it.
With ad hoc reporting and analysis, the data is already available and up to date. All that is needed is for the end-user to choose the right vectors, query type, and display option to visualize the data.
Data specialists’ time is precious, and they should not be spending it performing simple queries over and over on your business data. This is a perfect use for ad hoc reporting and analysis software to free up time for your data workers to solve your complex business questions.
- Underlying data must be clean, complete, and up to date
The answers generated from ad hoc reporting and analysis are only as good as your underlying data. For instance, if your leads database is full of fake addresses entered on a web form, you do not have an accurate idea of where your leads are coming from if you analyze the data.
- Underlying data needs to be accessible at all times
With multiple people requiring their questions answered simultaneously, it is crucial a database is non-locking for querying.
- Non-technical users need training
New software products require hands-on training. Drag and drop editors are the best choice for non-technical users to quickly learn an ad hoc reporting and analysis tool. However, they will still make mistakes and need support.
To see bipp’s ad hoc reporting and analysis in action…
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