Ad-hoc analysis is a form of reporting done “on the fly.” Rather than relying on built-in reports or asking an IT technician to design a special report for one-time use, business intelligence software with ad-hoc reporting capabilities allow users to create their own reports based on their own parameters. While the specific steps vary depending on the software and its conventions, the following tips can be used to conduct ad-hoc analysis.
Sketch out what you want to accomplish – You don’t need to be elaborate, but you should jot down the key information that you want to explore. For example, do you need to know how many widgets were sold during a specific time period, in a specific region, by a specific salesperson? Do you also want to know what the weather conditions were at the time or how various news events affected sales? No matter what you have in mind, it’s helpful to write it down so that you don’t overlook anything. Remember that these reports can be done on the fly, and if you make a mistake it’s easy to go back into your dashboard software to fix them.
The data you need may be located in multiple databases. Open your business intelligence tool and perform the steps necessary to access the necessary data sources. This will require you to know the sources of that data before hand, so have them on hand.
Once you’re in the appropriate mode, select the parameters you sketched out earlier. Depending on the software, you may be able to drag and drop them onto the blank report or you may be presented with a query form to fill out.
After entering your parameters, switch to the report view mode and view your ad-hoc report. Fine-tune as needed or use your software’s drilldown tools (if available) to dig deeper. This will give you’re the opportunity to get more insights on information you may have overlooked.
Whether you save the ad-hoc report or not is up to you. By their nature, ad-hoc reports are used as a one-time analysis for your business. However, if you’re pleased with the report that is generated and intend to evaluate the same information at a later date, it’s fine to save the report to take a look back at it in the future.
(Source: InetSoft Business Intelligence Platform).