/ How to choose the right embedded ad hoc reporting solution for your business

How to choose the right embedded ad hoc reporting solution for your business

As a business owner, you know that data is essential to making informed decisions. But gathering and analyzing data can be time-consuming and complicated. Plus, you never know if you’re getting the whole story when you only have access to specific data sets.

Fortunately, there is a simple yet intuitive solution that can help you make better decisions quickly and easily: embedded ad hoc reporting.

With embedded ad hoc reporting, businesses can create their own custom reports without the need for IT assistance. This means that you can get the data you need when you need it, in the format that you want.

What does embedded ad hoc reporting offer? How can it take your BI tools to the next level? Let’s take a closer look.

 

Embedded ad hoc reporting: the basics

If you’ve worked with data, you’ve likely built reports that utilize prebuilt dashboards and templates. For example, you may have an in-built sales report that uses data from your customer relationship management (CRM) system.

With ad hoc reporting, you don’t have to rely on pre-determined dashboards and visualizations. Instead, you can create your own reports using the data that you have access to.

This means that you can answer questions like:

  • How many new customers did we acquire last month?
  • What was our customer churn rate last quarter?
  • How much revenue did we generate from our online store last year?

Ad hoc reporting doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, the best ad hoc reporting solutions are designed to be easy-to-use and require no programming or SQL knowledge.

 

What does “embedded” mean in ad hoc reporting?

When a reporting solution is described as “embedded,” it means that it can be seamlessly integrated into your existing applications.

This is different from traditional ad hoc reporting solutions, which are typically standalone programs that require separate login credentials and data imports.

With an embedded solution, you can create reports directly from within your CRM, ecommerce platform, or any other application that you use to store data.

 

The benefits of embedded ad hoc reporting

There are many benefits that come with using an embedded ad hoc reporting solution, including:

Flexibility: With ad hoc reporting, you’re not limited to predefined schemas or data sets. You can use any data that you have access to, which gives you the flexibility to answer any question that you may have.

Self-service: With an embedded solution, business users can create their own reports without IT assistance. So, rather than waiting for someone else to generate a report for you, you can get the data that you need when you need it.

Improved decision making: ad hoc reporting gives you the ability to slice and dice data in any way that you want. This means that you can quickly and easily identify trends, spot opportunities, and make better decisions for your business.

Lower costs: Since business users can generate their own reports, you can save money on report development costs. Additionally, embedded solutions typically have a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than traditional ad hoc reporting tools.

 
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The risks of ad hoc reporting

Ad hoc reporting is not without its risks. The most common risk associated with ad hoc reporting is data security.

Since business users have direct access to data, there’s a greater chance that sensitive information could be exposed. Additionally, business users may not have the training or expertise necessary to properly handle sensitive data.

To mitigate these risks, it’s important to choose an ad hoc reporting solution that comes with built-in security features. These features should include things like user authentication, data encryption, and role-based access controls.

Another risk to consider is data quality. Since business users can access and manipulate data, there’s a greater chance that they could introduce errors into the data set.

Make sure you choose an ad hoc reporting solution that comes with data governance features such as data auditing and versioning. These features will help you track changes to the data set and ensure that only accurate and up-to-date information is being used.

 

How to choose the right solution for your business

If you’re looking for an embedded ad hoc reporting solution for your business, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.

Step 1: Define your reporting requirements

Before you start evaluating solutions, it’s important to take a step back and think about your specific reporting needs.

Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What kind of data do I need to report on?
  • How often will I need to generate reports?
  • Who will be using the reports?
  • What format do I need the reports in?

Answering these questions will help you narrow down your options and find a solution that’s tailored to your specific needs. Plus, it will ensure that you don’t overspend on features that you don’t need.

Step 2: Consider your budget

Ad hoc reporting solutions can vary widely in price, so it’s important to consider your budget when evaluating options.

Keep in mind that embedded solutions typically have a lower TCO than traditional ad hoc reporting tools. So while you may pay more upfront for an embedded solution, you’ll likely save money in the long run.

Consider ad hoc reporting capabilities as an investment in your existing applications and data rather than a cost.

Step 3: Evaluate potential solutions

Once you’ve defined your requirements and considered your budget, it’s time to start evaluating potential solutions.

When evaluating ad hoc reporting solutions, be sure to pay attention to features such as:

  • Ease of use: The best solutions are designed to be used by business users with no programming or SQL knowledge.
  • Data sources: The solution should be able to connect to all of the data sources that you need, including databases, CRMs, ecommerce platforms, and more.
  • Visualizations: The solution should offer a variety of visualization options to help you make sense of your data.
  • Export options: The solution should allow you to export your reports in the format that you need, whether that’s PDF, Excel, CSV, or JSON.

Additionally, be sure to read online reviews and talk to other businesses that are using the solution to get a feel for how it works in the real world. This can help you narrow down your options and find the best solution for your needs.

 
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Step 4: Implement the solution

Once you’ve selected a solution, it’s time to implement it.

When implementing an ad hoc reporting solution, be sure to pay attention to the following:

  • Data security: The solution should offer features such as data encryption and user authentication to help keep your data safe.
  • Performance: The solution should be able to handle large data sets and complex reports without slowing down your system.
  • Scalability: The solution should be able to scale as your business grows and your reporting needs change.

Additionally, be sure to work with the vendor to ensure that you have all the resources you need for a successful implementation, including training and support.

Step 5: Learn, adjust, and adapt

Finally, remember that an ad hoc reporting solution is a tool that you can use to help your business make better decisions. As such, it’s important to take the time to learn how to use the solution and then adjust and adapt your reports as needed.

Over time, you’ll likely find that your reports become more complex and your data sets grow larger. As this happens, you may need to upgrade your solution to a more powerful tool. But as long as you keep learning and evolving your reports, you’ll be able to make the most of your ad hoc reporting solution.

 

Choose the best BI tool for embedded ad hoc reporting with Domo

Ad hoc reporting solutions can be a great way to get more insights out of your data, but choosing the right solution can be tricky.

When evaluating ad hoc reporting solutions, consider features such as ease of use, data sources, visualizations, export options, and security. Additionally, be sure to read online reviews and talk to other businesses that are using the solution.

Once you’ve selected a solution, it’s time to implement it. When implementing an ad hoc reporting solution, focus on data security, performance, scalability, and resources.

Finally, remember that an ad hoc reporting solution is a tool that you can use to help your business make better decisions. As such, it’s important to take the time to learn how to use the solution and then adjust and adapt your reports as needed.

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