Ad Hoc Reporting – Self Servicing Your Reporting and Data Visualization

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The dictionary meaning of the word Ad Hoc is “improvised” or “impromptu”. In the context of business intelligence, ad hoc reporting refers to reports that can be created on the fly by the end user, whenever, however, and with little to no assistance from the IT department.

Example: Imagine a large financial institution with many financial representatives, each with their own territory. With ad hoc reporting, financial reps can create their own reports displaying their goals, new transactions, number of client visits, etc. Thus, reps can easily create the custom reports that they need for themselves or to share with others, all from the same data source.

Benefits of Ad Hoc Reporting

– Self Service: Ad hoc reports are created by the end users based on their own needs.

– Little Dependence on IT: End users need little to no assistance from the IT department to create ad hoc reports. End users just need to connect to the right data sources and start generating reports. They do not have to worry about business logic or SQL queries.

– Drill Down into Data: End users can drill down further into their business data in the reports they created through ad hoc reporting, allowing them to sort, filter, and drill via on-screen controls. Further, users can drag and drop different components such as tables, crosstabs, charts, parameters, filter controls, labels etc. directly into their report to yield precisely the desired data view.

– Web Based Report Generation: Ad hoc reporting allows end users to create reports which are completely web based and can be viewed on the browser. There is no need to install any applications in order to generate and modify reports.

Choosing an Ad Hoc Reporting Solution

– Ease of Use: One of the main objectives of ad hoc reporting is allowing end users to create the visualizations and analysis that they need very quickly and on-demand. In order to achieve this, they need to have all the available tools, capabilities, and access to data within reach with little dependency from others.

– End User Requirements: Although seemingly obvious, the BI solution you choose for running ad hoc reports should meet your requirements, be a cost effective, and robust. You should anticipate your long-term and near-term BI requirements.

– Advanced Visual Representation: A good ad hoc reporting solution should have intuitive, interactive visual representations of the data. End users should be able to view reports in the form of bar charts, tables, crosstabs, gauge charts, line charts, etc. Example: JReport supports 40+ visual chart formats.
  40 plus chart types

– Web Based and Mobile Accessible: The ad hoc reporting solution should be available to view on browsers and mobile devices. This allows reports and dashboards to not only be viewable, but also interactive while on the go.

– Embeddability: Often, it is critical that the BI solution is seamlessly embeddable into a host application such that reports and dashboards appear fully integrated. Whether you are running a SaaS or you are an OEM vendor, the ease of embedding the reporting engine as well as the end user reports and dashboards is a requirement.

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