/ Best practices for using BI embedded ad hoc reports
Best practices for using BI embedded ad hoc reports
Most people think of business intelligence (BI) as a tool for large organizations with massive data sets and complex needs. But what if BI is not just for the big players in the industry?
In fact, small businesses can benefit from BI tools just as much as their larger counterparts. How is this possible? It all comes down to embedded ad-hoc reports.
Embedded ad-hoc reports are a type of BI report that can be embedded into another application, such as a website or app. This means that users can access the report directly from within the application they are using, without having to access their BI tool.
This is extremely beneficial for small businesses, as it eliminates the need for them to buy user credentials for everyone. Furthermore, it allows small businesses to get started with BI without having to invest in extensive training for their employees.
There are a few things to keep in mind when using embedded ad hoc reports. In this article, we will take a look at some best practices for using these types of reports and how you can begin using them in your own business.
Breaking down embedded ad hoc reports
Before we get into the best practices for using embedded ad hoc reports, let’s take a moment to break down what these reports actually are.
Embedded ad hoc reports are a type of report that can be embedded into another application. The most common applications that they are embedded into are internal sites or company intranet systems.
However, they can also be embedded into other types of applications, such as inventory management systems or project management software.
The main benefit of using an embedded ad hoc report is that it allows users to access the report directly from within the application they are using. This means that they don’t have to switch to a separate tool in order to view the report.
Practical examples of embedded ad-hoc reports
Now that we have a better understanding of what embedded ad hoc reports are, let’s take a look at some practical examples of how they can be used.
One common use case for embedded ad hoc reports is sales reporting. Sales teams often need to generate reports that show how well they are performing against their goals.
In the past, this required sales teams to switch to a separate tool in order to generate these reports. However, with embedded ad hoc reports, they can simply generate the report from a company-managed site.
This allows sales teams to spend more time selling and less time generating reports.
Another use case for embedded ad hoc reports is customer reporting. Customer teams often need to generate reports that show customer satisfaction levels or how well they are meeting their customers’ needs.
Again, in the past, this required customer teams to access their BI tool to generate these reports. However, now users can simply generate the report from an external site or company-built app.
This capability allows customer teams to spend more time interacting with customers and less time generating reports.
Best practices for using embedded ad hoc reports
Now that we have a better understanding of what embedded ad hoc reports are and how they can be used, let’s take a look at some best practices for using these types of reports.
1. Before you start, define your goals
Before you start using embedded ad hoc reports, it’s essential to take a moment to define your goals. Too many companies dive into creating reports without having a clear understanding of what they are trying to achieve.
As a result, they end up creating reports that are not useful and that do not help them achieve their goals.
To avoid this, take a moment to sit down with your team and define what you are hoping to achieve with your reports. Once you have a clear understanding of your goals, you can create reports that are designed to help you achieve those goals.
Ask yourself questions such as:
What decisions do we need to make?
What information do we need to make those decisions?
Who needs to see the reports?
When do they need to see the reports?
Will the reports be used on a regular basis, or are they just for one-time use?
Answering these questions will help you create reports that are much more likely to be useful and informative—and, in turn, help you achieve your goals.
2. Keep it simple
Ad hoc reporting is designed to offer flexibility and allow users to create reports on the fly. However, this does not mean that ad hoc reports should be complex or difficult to understand.
On the contrary, it’s important to keep your reports simple. Complex reports are often difficult to understand and can actually make decision-making more difficult—not easier.
When creating an ad hoc report, ask yourself if the information included in the report is absolutely necessary. If it’s not, remove it. The goal should be to include only the information that is absolutely essential.
In general, your embedded ad hoc report should never take away from the data visualizations that are included in your main BI tool. The goal of an ad hoc report is to supplement your data visualizations, not replace them.
3. Make use of filters and parameters
Your embedded ad hoc reports should make use of filters and parameters. These features allow you to customize your reports so that they only show the information that is relevant to your needs.
For example, let’s say you’re creating a report that shows sales data. You can use filters to only include data from certain regions or from certain product lines.
This ensures that your report only contains information that is relevant to your needs and makes it easier to understand. After all, there’s no point in including information in your report that you’re not going to use.
4. Use data visualizations
One of the best parts of using BI to generate reports is the ability to use data visualizations. Data visualizations make it easier to understand complex data sets and can help you spot trends and patterns that you might otherwise miss.
When creating embedded ad hoc reports, be sure to make use of data visualizations. These reports are often used to make decisions, so it’s important that they contain information that is easy to understand.
5. Test, test, test
Finally, it’s important to test your embedded ad-hoc reports before you start using them. Make sure that the reports are accurate and that they contain all of the information that you need.
It’s also a good idea to have someone else review your reports. They may spot errors or omissions that you missed.
Testing your reports before you start using them will help ensure that they are as useful and informative as possible—and that they help you achieve your goals.
One way to test your reports is to use them to make a decision. For example, if you’re trying to decide whether or not to launch a new product, use your ad hoc reports to gather information about the potential market for that product.
This will help you determine whether or not your reports are accurate and informative—and whether or not they can actually help you make decisions.
Great embedded ad-hoc reporting begins with powerful BI software
If you want to create great embedded ad hoc reports, you need to start with powerful BI software. Look for a tool that offers a wide range of features, including the ability to create data visualizations, use filters and parameters, and test your reports before you use them.
In addition, make sure that the BI software you choose is easy to use. The last thing you want is to spend hours trying to figure out how to use your reports.
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