From data to report in one minute or less. Ajelix BI is launched! 🚀 Get started for free.
  • Home
  • Blog
  • bi
  • What Is Ad Hoc Reporting & Analysis With Examples

What Is Ad Hoc Reporting & Analysis With Examples

  • Author:
    Agnese
  • Published on:
    March 12, 2024
  • Category:
  • Last updated:
    March 28, 2024
What is ad hoc reporting and analysis banner for blog article by ajelix

Having standardized reports that drops in your mail box every week is great. But what about those urgent requests that require in depth analysis and experts view point? That’s where ad hoc reports can come in handy.

Ad Hoc reporting let’s you create reports instantly and are made to answer specific questions. Usually these reports can be created without any technical knowledge so it’s easier for non-technical teams to get insights fast.

In this article we will walk your through these topics:

  1. Definition of Ad hoc reporting
  2. Static reports vs ad hoc
  3. Definition of ad hoc analysis
  4. Ad hoc benefits
  5. Types of reports
  6. Steps to create ad hoc report
  7. How to pick ad hoc software

Before you jump in...
Looking to create reporting system fast & painlessly? Check our latest Ajelix BI platform for easy data analytics to help you make data driven decisions.

Give it a go

What is Ad Hoc Reporting?

Ad hoc reporting is creating reports as needed they usually answer a specific question or inquiry, like “how many sales did we make this week in California” or “which marketing channel brings in the most customers.”

Instead of relying on pre-defined reports, ad hoc reporting lets you dig into your data for specific questions and insights.

Difference between Static Reports vs. Ad Hoc Reporting

The main distinction between static and ad hoc reporting lies in their approach to information delivery.

3 main differences between ad hoc and standard reporting infographic by author

Infographic with 3 main differences between standard reports and ad hoc reports, by author

  • Static reports are pre-defined templates that deliver specific sets of data on a regular basis. Think of them like automated news feeds that consistently provide the same kind of information. These reports are ideal for tracking key metrics, monitoring performance over time, and ensuring consistency in data presentation.
  • Ad hoc reports are created on-demand to address specific questions or analyze unexpected trends. These reports offer flexibility, allowing you to choose the exact data points and format the report in a way that best suits analysis. This is helpful for one-off situations, troubleshooting issues, or exploring new areas of inquiry within the data.
FeatureStandard ReportingAd Hoc Reporting
ScheduleRecurring (daily, monthly, etc.)On-demand
PurposeTrack key metrics, monitor performanceAnswer specific questions, investigate trends
FlexibilityLimited – pre-defined formatHigh – customizable data and layout
UserMay require IT assistanceBusiness users can create reports themselves (often)
Comparison table between standard and ad hoc reporting

What is Ad Hoc Analysis?

Ad hoc analysis is investigating your data to answer a specific question that just popped up. This analysis lets you dive into the data to answer question now. Imagine you’re looking at your company’s sales data and wonder “Are sales higher in the morning or evening?”. This is how ad hoc reporting works.

Here are some key points about ad hoc analysis:

  • Focuses on one-off questions: It’s not about creating regular reports, but rather addressing specific curiosities or problems that arise.
  • Fast and flexible: The goal is to get answers quickly, so the analysis is often done with user-friendly tools and self-service BI that easy exploration of the data.
  • Data-driven decision making: By analyzing data on the fly, you can make informed choices in real-time.

Ad hoc analysis allows employees to be more proactive and adaptable. It empowers users to find insights in the data that might not have been identified through pre-defined reports.

6 Benefits Of Ad hoc reporting & Analysis

Ad hoc reporting and analysis offer a range of benefits for businesses and users. Here are 6 key advantages:

Ad hoc reporting and analysis benefits infographic by author

Infographic with 6 benefits for ad hoc reporting and analysis, image by author

1. Increased agility and responsiveness

With ad hoc tools, you can answer pressing questions and address unexpected situations quickly. This can help you make faster decisions and adapt to changing market conditions.

2. Empowered business users

These reporting tools are often user-friendly, allowing employees across departments to explore data and generate reports without relying on IT assistance. This can help you foster a more data-driven culture and empower users to take ownership of their areas.

P.s. Ajelix BI focuses on user-friendly self-service BI that can help non-technical teams visualize their data.

3. Deeper insights and problem solving

By diving deeper into specific data sets, your team can uncover hidden trends and patterns that might not be apparent in pre-defined reports. Leading to improved problem-solving and the identification of new opportunities.

4. Reduced IT workload

Ad hoc reporting tools can free up IT resources by allowing employees from Marketing to Finance departments generate their own reports. Now IT teams can focus on more complex tasks and data management strategies.

5. Improved communication and collaboration

By sharing ad hoc reports and insights across departments, teams can work together more effectively. Fostering better communication and collaboration throughout the organization.

6. Cost savings

Ad hoc reporting can potentially save money by reducing reliance on external reporting services or custom software development for one-off needs.

Overall, ad hoc reporting and analysis empower businesses to be more agile, data-driven, and responsive to changing conditions. Did you had a chance to check out best BI tools for data analytics?

Different Types Of Ad hoc reports With Examples

Ad hoc reports can be grouped based on their function. Each department have their own set of data that require different visualization elements and analysis. Let’s take a look at the different reports with examples from Ajelix BI.

1. Sales Analysis Reports

These reports delve into sales data to understand customer preferences, product performance, identify top-selling items or underperforming regions. Sales ad hoc reports zoom in on specific areas of your sales data. Analyzing things like:

  • Customer trends: Who’s buying what?
  • Product performance: What’s selling well (or not)?
  • Sales channel effectiveness: Which channels bring in the most sales?
  • Campaign impact: Did that promotion work?
  • Regional performance: Where’s sales booming (or busting)?
Ad hoc sales report dashboard example from ajelix bi portal

Sales analysis ad hoc report example from Ajelix BI, created by author

2. Financial Analysis Reports

Financial ad hoc reports can help you analyze financial data like revenue, expenses, and profitability to track financial health, identify cost-saving opportunities, or assess the impact of marketing campaigns.

  • Profitability: Where can you save money or make more?
  • Cash Flow: Is there enough cash to cover bills?
  • Budget Tracking: Are you sticking to your spending plan?
  • Investment Performance: Are your investments paying off?
  • Debt Management: How to best handle your company’s debt.

Discover the best practices about financial data visualization.

Ad hoc financial analysis report example from ajelix bi portal

Financial analysis ad hoc report example from Ajelix BI, created by author

3. Marketing Performance Reports

Marketing ad hoc reports can help you track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns across different channels, identify which channels generate the most leads or conversions, and optimize marketing strategies.

  • Campaign results: Did that ad campaign bring in new customers?
  • Best channels: Which marketing channels are generating the most leads?
  • Content performance: What kind of content resonates with your audience?
  • Customer costs: How much does it cost to acquire a new customer?
  • Engagement: Is your audience interacting with your brand?
  • Target audience: Who are you really trying to reach?

Learn more about marketing data visualization on our article.

Marketing analysis ad hoc example from ajelix bi

Marketing analysis ad hoc report example from Ajelix BI, created by author

Ready to give it a go?
Test Ajelix BI on freemium plan and only upgrade if our platform can solve your reporting issues.

Give it a go

4. Customer Segmentation Reports

Customer segmentation ad hoc reports sort customer data based on demographics, purchase history, or behavior to personalize marketing efforts and target specific customer groups.

  • Demographics: Who are they (age, location, income)?
  • Buying habits: What do they buy and how often?
  • Online behavior: How do they interact with your website?
  • Interests: What are they interested in?

5. Operational Efficiency Reports

Operational efficiency ad hoc reports examine data related to production processes, inventory management, or resource allocation to identify bottlenecks, improve efficiency, and reduce waste.

  • Production bottlenecks: Where are things slowing down?
  • Inventory management: How much stuff do you really need?
  • Resource allocation: Are your resources being used effectively?
  • Delivery performance: Are your deliveries on time and accurate?
  • Waste reduction: How can you minimize waste and save money?

6. HR Analytics Reports

HR ad hoc reports analyze data on employee performance, recruitment efforts, or turnover to identify trends, improve hiring processes, or boost employee engagement.

  • Recruiting effectiveness: Are you hiring the right people efficiently?
  • Employee performance: Who’s excelling and who needs help?
  • Workforce trends: What skills gaps or turnover issues do you have?
  • Compensation & benefits: Are you offering competitive packages?
  • Employee engagement: How happy and engaged are your employees?

We have created overview of 10+ important KPIs for HR managers.

How To Create Ad Hoc Report?

Creating an ad hoc report involves following 7 steps, though the specifics may vary depending on the tools you’re using.

Time needed: 5 hours

7 steps on how to create ad hoc report

  1. Identify the Question

    The first step is to clearly define the question your report is trying to answer. What specific insight are you looking for in the data? This will guide your data selection and analysis.

  2. Gather Your Data

    Once you know your question, determine the data sources you’ll need. This could involve pulling data from databases, spreadsheets, CRM systems, or marketing automation platforms.

  3. Clean and Prepare the Data

    The data you gather might need cleaning or formatting to ensure consistency and accuracy. This might involve removing duplicates, correcting errors, or transforming formats.

  4. Choose Your Tool

    Many platforms offer ad hoc reporting functionalities. Depending on your needs, you might use spreadsheet software like Excel with pivot tables, business intelligence (BI) tools, or specific reporting modules within your data source platforms.

  5. Build Your Report

    Use your chosen tool to design your report layout. This involves selecting the data elements (metrics and dimensions) relevant to your question and arranging them in a clear and visually appealing way.

  6. Analyze and Interpret:

    Once your report is built, analyze the data to answer your question. Look for trends, patterns, or outliers that provide insights.

  7. Communicate Findings

    Share your report with the relevant stakeholders and explain your findings and their implications. Visualizations like charts and graphs can enhance communication and understanding.

Here are some additional tips for creating effective ad hoc reports:

  • Keep it Simple: Focus on the essential data points to answer your question and avoid overwhelming the audience with too much information.
  • Visual Appeal: Use charts, graphs, and formatting to make your report visually engaging and easier to understand.
  • Filter and Drill Down: Many tools allow you to filter data subsets or drill down into specific details for further exploration.
  • Collaboration: Consider allowing others to contribute or share insights based on the report.

Remember, ad hoc reporting is an iterative process. As you explore the data, you might refine your question or identify the need for additional data points. The key is to be flexible and focus on extracting the insights you need for informed decision-making.

How To Choose Ad Hoc Reporting Software?

Choosing the right ad hoc reporting software depends on several factors specific to your needs and workflow. Here are 6 key considerations to help you pick the best tool:

How to choose ad hoc reporting software infographic by author

6 steps in choosing the right ad hoc reporting software, infographic by author

1. Data Source Compatibility

Ensure the software can connect to your data sources (databases, spreadsheets, CRMs, etc.) This avoids the hassle of data migration or manual manipulation.

2. User-friendliness

Consider the technical expertise of the people who will be creating reports. Ideally, the tool should offer a user-friendly interface with drag-and-drop functionality and clear instructions for easy report building.

3. Data Visualization Capabilities

Effective reporting relies on clear visualizations. Does the software offer a variety of charts, graphs, and formatting options to present your data insights engagingly?

4. Scalability and Security

If your data volume is large or expected to grow, consider the software’s ability to handle increased data loads. Security features are also crucial, ensuring your data remains protected.

5. Collaboration Features

Does the software allow for collaboration on reports? Can multiple users share reports, add comments, or contribute to the analysis? This can be valuable for teams.

6. Budget

Ad hoc reporting software can range from free (with limited features) to enterprise-level solutions with robust functionalities. Determine your budget and choose a tool that offers the features you need at a reasonable cost.

Additional tips:

  • Free Trials: Many vendors offer free trials, allowing you to test-drive the software and see if it meets your needs. Ajelix BI offers freemium plan that you can explore without complex setups.
  • User Reviews: Read user reviews and comparisons of different ad hoc reporting tools to get insights from real users.
  • Consider Cloud-based vs. On-premise: Cloud-based solutions offer easier accessibility and scalability, while on-premise solutions might provide more control over data security (depending on your needs).

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose an ad hoc reporting software that empowers your team to generate valuable insights from your data and make informed decisions.

Conclusions

Ad hoc reporting and analysis turn you from data observer to knowledge architect. Using ad hoc reporting you can unlock hidden insights within your data, answer critical questions in real-time, and make data-driven decisions that propel your business forward.

Key takeaways:

  • React quickly to new questions and trends.
  • Empower business users to analyze data themselves.
  • Discover deeper insights for improved problem-solving.
  • Foster data-driven communication across departments.

No matter what department your in ad hoc reporting can help you discover new strategies and take ownership of your data.

FAQ

What’s the difference between ad hoc and standard reporting?

Standard reports are pre-defined templates that deliver specific data sets regularly, however ad hoc reports are created on-demand to answer specific questions or investigate trends.

What kind of software is used for ad hoc reporting?

You can use the most appropriate platform that fits your needs from spreadsheets to Business intelligence (BI) tools and specific reporting modules within data source platforms.

Ready to create your ad hoc report with Ajelix BI?

From data to report in one minute or less with Ajelix BI

Ad hoc financial analysis report example from ajelix bi portal

Similar posts

How to calculate average revenue per user formula & meaning example banner

Calculate Average Revenue Per User: ARPU Formula & Meaning

April 11, 2024
The metrics are king, there’s no doubt about it. They tell the story of your company’s health, customer base, and overall success. But with so many acronyms flying around, it’s easy to get lost in the alphabet soup. 🥣 Today, we’re diving into ARPU formula, a metric crucial for understanding the value of your customers. […]
How to calculate revenue growth in Excel with examples and formulas banner by ajelix

How To Calculate Revenue Growth Rate: Formula & Examples

April 9, 2024
Revenue growth rate is a performance indicator, that helps understand if your sales efforts are yielding positive results. Tracking it over time is crucial to identify trends, pinpoint periods of acceleration or stagnation, and adjust your strategies accordingly. This guide provides a clear and concise approach to calculating your revenue growth rate. We’ll delve into […]
What is collaborative business intelligence (BI) and analytics blog article banner by ajelix

Collaborative Business Intelligence (BI) & Analytics

April 2, 2024
Imagine a world where everyone in your organization, from sales reps to executives, can easily access, analyze, and discuss data together. 🙌 Collaborative business intelligence (BI) & Analytics breaks down barriers and empowers teams to work together, transforming data into actionable insights. In this article, we will cover topics: What is Collaborative BI & Analytics? […]