What is an Ad Hoc Report?

An ad hoc report is a report that is created on demand for unanticipated business questions. In contrast to a production report that is pre-designed for known business questions, ad hoc report requirements exhibit noticeably different characteristics:

  Ad Hoc Report Production Report
Report Creators Self-service business users IT oriented developers/analysts
Data Preparedness No ready support Well prepared. May even be supported by a data warehouse
Output Requirement From paginated to visual analytic reports Paginated reports

Ad hoc reports are often also used to meet analytic requirements. In these scenarios, the business question is not only unanticipated but also not well defined. For example, a sales manager may try to find the root cause of the sudden popularity of a particular product. For analysis oriented ad hoc reports, the key requirements are the ability to:

  • Quickly switch perspectives and parameters for exploration
  • Intuitively detect patterns or trends in the graphic or visualization
  • Easily navigate and mashup multiple data sources when required
  • Scale to big data if mashup and/or analytic scope requires it
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Ad Hoc Report Uses

Ad hoc reports are usually created for a single use. However, valuable ad hoc reports often turn into useful long-term assets. The sales manager may want to schedule the report or to repeat the analysis on an on-going basis. It also may become worthy of sharing with other users.

SAFE(simple, adaptable, flexible and endurable) are four defining properties of a robust ad hoc reporting solution:

  • Simple to learn: power users and casual users can all maximize their self-service
  • Adaptable to use: user can adapt it from a traditional ad hoc report to a tool for visual analytics
  • Flexibility on data: transform, mashup and scale with ad hoc assembled data
  • Endurable for long term: ad hoc outputs are ready to be used for long term purposes
Ad Hoc Report Example
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Ad Hoc Report Example

InetSoft's Ad Hoc Reporting Solution


InetSoft offers both free and enterprise versions of its drag-and-drop visual reporting software, which allows any user to modify existing dashboards and even build their own with a few clicks of a mouse. This lightweight solution needs to only be installed on a single userís machine, allowing anyone with permission to access and build reports through a web browser.


The flexibility and ease with which InetSoft user's can build dashboards make it a perfect solution for accommodating ad hoc analytical needs. Even the lowest level dashboard user can modify charts to display different data in different styles, and save their own unique version to display when they log in. This kind of self-service encourages business users to perform their own unique analysis, for faster answers to business questions.


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About InetSoft

Since 1996 InetSoft has been delivering easy, agile, and robust business intelligence software that makes it possible for organizations and solution providers of all sizes to deploy or embed full-featured business intelligence solutions. Application highlights include visually-compelling and interactive dashboards that ensure greater end-user adoption plus pixel-perfect report generation, scheduling, and bursting. InetSoft's patent pending Data Block™ technology enables productive reuse of queries and a unique capability for end-user defined data mashup.

This capability combined with efficient information access enabled by InetSoft's visual analysis technologies allows maximum self-service that benefits the average business user, the IT administrator, and the developer. InetSoft was rated #1 in Butler Analytics 2015 Business Analytics Yearbook, and InetSoft's BI solutions have been deployed at over 5,000 organizations worldwide, including 25% of Fortune 500 companies, spanning all types of industries.

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