Just a short decade ago office executives were learning the importance of proper information architecture within the workplace to create an environment where knowledge could flow evenly at all levels of the employment hierarchy.
Today, information is no longer hard to access, as analytical reports can be run with the touch of a button, which is a testament to how ad hoc reporting is turbocharging analytics. However, being aware of ad hoc reporting and actually using it to spur growth for your business are two separate matters. Here is a look at ad hoc reporting in its various forms as well as a look at how properly utilized data reports can change your future prospects.
What is Ad Hoc Reporting?
Ad hoc reporting is a report that can be run at-will by authorized users within a business in lieu of waiting for an IT employee to run reports. Not only does ad hoc reporting take the stress off the IT department since users can access their own reports, but it expedites the way information can be accessed and utilized within the workplace.
Ad hoc reporting differs largely from structured reporting because it includes small data sets and is usually presented in a visual format. It is not meant to be used as a formal report, but instead, it is used to create a data point that addresses one specific query. The ability of users to create ad hoc reporting as needed allows them to troubleshoot problems on the go and answer business questions at the moment to help make decision-making more accurate and data-based.
Breaking Down Various Types of Ad Hoc Reporting
Ad hoc reporting is the term used to describe any report that is run at will within a business enterprise. However, there are various types of ad hoc reports depending on the data and purpose of the report. Ad hoc reporting streamlines analytical tasks by providing solid data within the minute, and it can do that in many ways including the following:
The purpose of drill down reports is to create multi-layered reports that can be used to access data at various levels. The typical drill down report will typically present a hierarchy to users exploring data from the surface and following it to the source. For example, a drill down report may display the amount of successful and unsuccessful email leads, but then it can be further broken down to show which email outreach was the most effective and then further yet to the region and average purchase.
Finally, a what-if scenario is a clear display of how ad hoc reporting is turbocharging analytics. While running a what-if scenario project managers are able to answer questions throughout the lifecycle of the project to better predict a favorable outcome. In addition, it gives project managers the opportunity to create contingency plans to prevent negative outcomes before they arise encouraging proactive business plans in place of reactive business. These scenarios benefit businesses of all sizes when used wisely.
Another effective type of ad hoc reporting is variance analysis, which is the deviation between what actually happens versus what was predicted to occur. For instance, an accounting executive may draw up a variance analysis to determine the difference between the amount of profit a business was expected to make over a quarter and the actual profit they were able to bank. Variance analysis is also useful within the realm of manufacturing to look at how much product is expected to be available by the end of a day, and the actual amount that is ready for shipping.