/ 5 mistakes to avoid when creating ad hoc reports
5 mistakes to avoid when creating ad hoc reports
It can be tough to create a report on the fly, especially if you’re not used to doing it. With data being essential to business decisions, it’s important to make sure that your ad hoc reports are accurate and informative.
Yet far too many people make avoidable errors when they’re creating these types of reports. From not having a clear purpose for the report to not proofreading it before sharing, these mistakes can cost you time, money, and credibility.
In this article, we will cover five mistakes to avoid when creating embedded ad hoc reports and how you can create better reports that get results.
First, let’s take a closer look at embedded ad hoc reports and why they’re so important.
What are embedded ad hoc reports?
When a business wants to make a data-driven decision, it will often create what’s known as an ad hoc report. This type of report is created on the fly and is designed to address a specific business need.
Ad hoc reports can be created in several different ways, but they typically involve pulling data from multiple sources and then analyzing it. Once the data has been analyzed, it can be presented in a number of different ways, including charts, graphs, and tables.
While ad hoc reports have traditionally been created using BI tools, they can also be embedded into other applications. This is where embedded ad hoc reporting comes in.
Embedded ad hoc reports are simply ad hoc reports that have been embedded into another application. This can be done for many reasons, but the most common is to make it easier for users to access the report.
For example, if you have an ad hoc report that’s been created using a spreadsheet, you may want to embed it into a slideshow presentation so that you can share it with others. Or, you may want to embed an ad hoc report into a web application so that users can view it without logging into the business intelligence (BI) tool that’s been used to create it.
No matter the reason, embedded ad hoc reports offer a number of benefits. First, they’re typically easier to access and use than traditional ad hoc reports. Second, they can be customized to match the look and feel of the application in which they’re embedded. And third, they offer a more seamless user experience since users don’t have to leave the application to view the report.
Now that we’ve covered what embedded ad hoc reports are and why they’re so important, let’s take a closer look at the 5 mistakes to avoid when creating them.
1. Not having a clear purpose for the report
One of the most common mistakes people make when creating an embedded ad hoc report is not having a clear purpose for the report. All too often, people will create a report simply because they think it would add value simply by existing.
Yet, if you don’t have a clear purpose for the report, it’s likely that it won’t be as valuable as it could be. This is because, without a clear purpose, it can be difficult to determine what data to include in the report and how to present it.
Before you start creating your embedded ad hoc report, take some time to think about its purpose. Ask yourself questions such as:
Who is the report for?
What decision am I trying to help them make?
What data do they need to see?
How can I present the data in a way that’s easy to understand?
By taking the time to answer these questions, you can ensure that your embedded ad hoc report is designed to meet the specific needs of your users.
2. Not cleaning the data used in the report
You will want to ensure that the data used to power the report has been cleansed and formatted properly. This includes things like ensuring that dates are in the correct format and that currency values are formatted correctly. Consider elements such as:
Another mistake to avoid when creating an embedded ad hoc report is not considering the user experience. People will often create a report without thinking about how users will interact with it.
This can lead to reports that are difficult to use or that don’t provide the information users need. To avoid this, it’s important to think about the user experience when designing your report.
Some things to consider include:
How easy is it to navigate the report: Can users easily find the information they’re looking for? Do they have to click through multiple pages to find what they need?
How easy is it to understand the data: Is the data presented in a way that’s easy to understand? Are there any visualizations or charts that can help users make sense of the data?
How easy is it to take action on the data: Can users easily export the data or take action on it? Are there any features that would make it easier for users to do what they need to do with the data?
By considering the user experience when designing your report, you can ensure that it’s easy for users to find, understand, and use the data. When you prioritize the user experience, you’re more likely to create a report that’s actually used and valued.
4. Not updating the report regularly
Data is always changing, which means that your embedded ad hoc report needs to change as well. If you don’t update the report regularly, it will quickly become outdated and inaccurate.
To avoid this, make sure to set a schedule for updating the report. This will ensure that the data is always up-to-date and that users can trust the information they’re seeing.
If your embedded report is pulling in data using a BI tool, you may be able to set up a schedule for refreshing the data automatically. This can save you time and ensure that the report is always up-to-date.
Don’t risk using stale data just because it’s easy. Even if you’re able to refresh the data automatically, you should still review the report periodically to ensure that everything is accurate.
5. Not getting feedback from users
Finally, one of the biggest mistakes you can make when creating an embedded ad hoc report is not getting feedback from users. Too often, people create a report and never revisit it to see how it’s being used.
This feedback is essential for making sure that your report is actually meeting the needs of users. Without feedback, you won’t know what’s working and what isn’t. As a result, you won’t be able to improve the report over time.
Who is the right user to provide feedback? This will depend on the report and the data. In some cases, it may be appropriate to get feedback from a small group of users.
In other cases, getting feedback from a larger group or even from all users may be better. The key is to ensure you’re getting feedback from people who will use the report.
Getting feedback can be as simple as sending out a survey to users or setting up a meeting to discuss the report. However you do it, make sure you’re getting feedback regularly so you can improve the report over time.
The bottom line
Creating an embedded ad hoc report doesn’t have to be difficult. However, there are a few mistakes you’ll want to avoid.
Not considering the user experience, not updating the report regularly, and not getting feedback from users are all common mistakes that can lead to reports that are difficult to use or that don’t provide the information users need.
By avoiding these mistakes, you can create an embedded report that’s actually used and valued by users. When you make the user experience a priority, you’re more likely to create a report that meets users’ needs and provides them with the information they need to make better decisions.
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