Ad hoc reporting can seem intimidating to business owners unfamiliar with the process.
But don’t worry, we’re here to help. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about ad hoc reporting—from understanding the terminology to creating your own report.
Ad hoc reporting is the process of extracting specific data from a system for analysis outside of the scheduled reporting process. It’s used to generate reports on an as-needed basis and helps business owners make more informed strategic decisions.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about ad hoc reporting.
What is ad hoc reporting?
One way to think of ad hoc reporting is as the creation of “custom” reports. While most businesses engage in a standard reporting process, ad hoc reporting enables them to create a report tailored specifically to their organizational or departmental needs.
Why use ad hoc reporting?
There are several reasons why businesses might want to use ad hoc reporting:
1. To get more information about their business data than what is available in the standard reports generated by an analytical tool
One of the advantages of ad hoc reporting is that it allows you to get a more specific view of your data.
For example, let’s say you want to see a report of all the customers who have made a purchase in the last month. With ad hoc reporting using a business intelligence (BI) tool, you can easily create this type of report in minutes.
2. To customize reports based on the audience
Managers and other business leaders usually want reports that are tailored to their team or department. They don’t want to have to filter through unnecessary data that doesn’t apply to their role.
Ad hoc reporting enables business analysts to create custom reports that are specifically tailored to a certain audience by incorporating only relevant data. This type of reporting is made easier through the use of an intuitive business intelligence tool.
3. To make more informed strategic decisions
Ad hoc reporting can help business owners make more informed strategic decisions. By extracting relevant data through the use of filters, business owners can better understand what is happening within specific areas of their business. This information can then be used to make decisions about where to focus their resources.
How to use ad hoc reporting
If you want to start using ad hoc reporting, there are a few things you need to do:
1. First, you need to understand the terminology. Ad hoc reporting has its own jargon, which can be confusing for those who are not familiar with it. To help you out, we’ve included the definitions of a few common terms:
Data sources: You will be extracting data from these data storage systems.
Queries: These are the questions you will be asking about the data.
Reports: These documents will be created based on the data you have extracted. They may contain visualizations of the data.
2. Next, you need to choose the right tool for the job. There are a number of different software programs that can be used for ad hoc reporting. To choose the right one for your needs, you’ll need to consider factors such as the size of your database, the complexity of your queries, and the format of the reports you want to generate.
3. Once you’ve chosen a tool, it’s time to start preparing to create your reports. The first thing you’ll need to do is connect to your data sources and run some queries. To do this, you’ll need to have a good understanding of SQL (Structured Query Language). Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with SQL—there are plenty of resources available to help you learn. Some tools with a drag-and-drop interface enable users to create reports without any knowledge of SQL.
4. Finally, you’ll need to format your reports and then save them in a format that can be easily shared with others. Once your reports are saved, you can then share them with colleagues or clients, so everyone is on the same page.
Embedded ad hoc reporting with BI tools
If you’re looking for a simple way to begin using ad hoc reporting in your business, you might consider implementing a BI tool with ad hoc reporting capabilities built-in.
Several BI tools on the market offer embedded ad hoc reporting capabilities. These tools make it easy to connect to data sources, run queries, and generate reports. Plus, they come with a range of features that make it easy to format and share your reports.
Ad hoc reporting tips
Now that you know the basics of ad hoc reporting, here are a few tips to help you get started:
1. Start with a simple data set. When starting with ad hoc reporting, it’s best to start with a simple data set that you understand. This will make it easier to learn the basics and get a feel for how the process works.
2. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Ad hoc reporting is all about experimentation. So, don’t be afraid to try new things and see what works best for you.
3. Seek help when needed. If you get stuck, plenty of resources are available to help you out. Depending on the reporting tool you choose, there are a number of online forums where you can ask questions and get advice from experienced users. Alternatively, you can always contact a professional consultant for help.
How you can use ad hoc reporting in your business operations (practical examples)
Now that you know everything there is to know about ad hoc reporting, let’s take a look at how you can use it in your business operations. Here are some practical examples of how ad hoc reporting can be used:
1. Ecommerce businesses can use ad hoc reporting to track sales data and customer behavior. This information can be used to improve the user experience, optimize marketing campaigns, and increase conversion rates.
2. Retail businesses can use ad hoc reporting to track inventory levels, product sales, and customer satisfaction. This information can be used to improve store operations and make more informed strategic decisions.
3. Service-based businesses can use ad hoc reporting to track customer satisfaction, service quality, and employee productivity. This information can be used to improve the quality of service and make sure that customers are happy.
4. Manufacturing businesses can use ad hoc reporting to track production data, quality control, and customer satisfaction. This information can improve the manufacturing process and ensure that products are of high quality.
5. Non-profit organizations can use Ad Hoc Reporting to track donor data, volunteer activity, and fundraising performance. This information can be used to improve fundraising efforts and make sure that donations are being used effectively.
Ad hoc reporting can be used in a wide range of industries and organizations. These are just a few examples of how it can be used to improve business operations.
The bottom line
Ad Hoc Reporting is a powerful tool that can be used to generate reports on an as-needed basis and helps business owners make more informed strategic decisions.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ve covered everything you need to know about ad hoc reporting—from understanding the terminology to tips for creating your own reports. Now that you know all there is to know about ad hoc reporting, put it to good use in your business operations and see the benefits for yourself.
Check out some related resources:
Domo for Financial Services Playbook
How a leading fashion retailer is using data to drive growth
Nucleus Research: Domo’s ROI as a Data Platform
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