In medium to large companies, it is standard for business intelligence (BI) analysts to generate reports for employees.
Having a dedicated team is great as it means you have the resources to handle large amounts of data. However, this can be an obstacle to decision-making.
Generating a report can take several days. If your team is already getting a lot of requests, it can divert focus from higher priority tasks.
This is where ad hoc analysis comes in – you can run your own queries as needed.
Discover the benefits of creating your own reports and the tools to help you do it.
What is an ad hoc analysis?
With ad hoc analysis, custom reports are created and analyzed as needed. With this self-service model, teams can gain insights and make decisions without relying on business intelligence analysts.
Non-technical users who may not be familiar with structured query language (SQL) can use it to answer questions that require immediate answers.
With the ad hoc model, anyone can dive into the data and find exactly what they’re looking for without going through anyone else. Why is that helpful? It:
- Saves time – When everyone is able to do their own analysis, they don’t have to wait days or weeks for IT to access it. Plus, your IT team can focus on top priorities without being distracted by one-off tasks.
- Accelerates the decision-making process – This also allows your team to make decisions quickly as they can access data to support their decisions.
- Empower your team – – By democratizing access to data, your team can feel more invested in your projects and be empowered to share insights.
A potential disadvantage of using ad hoc analytics is the risk of information silos, where team members fail to share knowledge and make unilateral decisions.
When using the ad hoc model, it is important to focus only on answering one specific question. You also want to use it for micro-level decisions, not big decisions. Also, share your insights with your team to get everyone on the same page.
Ad hoc example
Typically, you do an ad hoc analysis in response to an event.
For example, let’s say your marketing team is wondering which channels to invest in for 2021. You can run a report to identify the channels that are generating the most and least sales-skilled leads. You can also run a secondary report to see where potential leads might be dropped off.
Ad hoc analysis is great if you:
- Validate a theory.
- Mark certain dates for an upcoming meeting.
- Make a decision quickly about an ongoing project.
Ad hoc reports
What is ad hoc reporting?
Ad hoc reporting is a one-time report that does not require waiting for the standard analysis cycle. Typically, a report requires large amounts of data and follows certain templates to make it accessible to a large audience. With ad hoc reports, you only pull a small segment of data for yourself or a small pool of users.
Wondering what is the difference between ad hoc reporting and analytics? The former gets the right data for the question you want to answer, while the latter focuses on analyzing it for patterns, trends and insights.
Standard reports (canned) versus ad hoc reports
Standard reports have limited customization options as they are typically created for large audiences and sent out regularly. They are created, managed and distributed by technical IT users, with the end user only able to edit selected data points.
Ad hoc reports, on the other hand, are much more flexible. Non-technical users can browse data, find out what they want and how to view it whenever they need it.
In addition, ad hoc reports can be more visual than standard reports that follow standard templates for easy distribution.
Ad hoc reporting tools
When looking for a business intelligence (BI) reporting tool, the following important features should be considered:
- Data visualization
- Easy sharing options
- Access to multiple data sources
Here are some of the best ad hoc analysis and reporting tools available online today.
Grow is a business intelligence tool that centralizes your data and offers no-code solutions. You don’t have to host your marketing data on one platform and your financial data on another platform. Grow’s powerful integration software eliminates the need for third-party data warehouses.
You can easily integrate your data from multiple sources including:
- CRMs like HubSpot
- Social media platforms such as Instagram and LinkedIn
- Ecommerce sites like Shopify
- Payment processors like Square and Stripe
- Ad platforms such as AdRoll and Google Ads
- Financial institutions like Chase and Bank of America
With the user-friendly dashboard and visualization functions, you will quickly receive answers to your most urgent questions. Contact the company for pricing information.
2. Easy Insight
Easy Insight is another code-free business intelligence tool that enables non-technical users to run ad hoc reports in a few simple steps.
Whenever you need it, you can use a number of filters to create custom reports and visualize them using tables, charts, and a variety of other visualization tools.
The platform is highly customizable so you can create your own data sources, import data from other databases, and combine your data for unified reporting. It also integrates with HubSpot so you can use your insights to make decisions.
Easy Insight offers six plans for small to large businesses. Prices range from $ 29 / month to $ 1499 / month.
3. Bad reports
If your team currently relies on multiple platforms to collect and analyze data, consider Wicked Reports. This tool is specifically aimed at marketers looking to improve their data analysis game.
With Wicked Reports, teams can track the return on investment (ROI) of various campaigns and improve the value of their customer lifetimes. The easy-to-use dashboard allows any user to generate ad hoc reports to evaluate performance against goals and make quick decisions.
The best part? You don’t need IT to set it up or use it. The platform is accessible to non-technical users who want clean and accurate data.
Starting at $ 597 per month, Wicked Reports is ideal for scaling businesses looking for a reliable analytics tool.
With the ad-hoc analysis, you can give your team easy access to the data they need most and thus relieve your IT staff.