Ad hoc reporting is essential to processing data sets after the necessary filters are applied and presenting them in a digestible manner.
Of course, it’s another thing that the given ad hoc reporting software that you’re considering using comes with a drool-worthy minimalistic interface and an abundance of features that are unlike any other tool.
We will get to this point later in detail through a dedicated round-up of the best ad hoc reporting software.
But for now, if it’s your first time with ad hoc report creation, or you aren’t even familiar with the term: ‘what is ad hoc reporting,’ we’ll talk about everything in detail.
Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, this post doubles downs on making a few solid recommendations concerning ad hoc reporting tools.
So, let’s get started.
What Is Ad Hoc Reporting?
Ad hoc reporting is a type of business intelligence (BI) tool or a BI-related activity that enables users to quickly analyze and manipulate business data.
It is characterized by its flexibility and quick turnaround time, allowing users to generate information on demand. Ad hoc reports can provide insights into company performance trends, customer activity, or any other topics relevant to an organization’s goals.
This type of reporting does not require IT personnel to be involved in producing the reports, as users can easily build their dynamic queries from scratch and get meaningful results quickly. That’s where ad hoc reporting software comes into play.
Without a reliable ad hoc reporting tool, organization and presentation of data aren’t possible.
The tools make it easier for businesses to identify underlying problems that need further investigation or areas where changes are needed.
This capability helps managers stay informed about current events affecting their business operations and take decisive action when needed. By empowering decision-makers with timely information, ad hoc reporting can be an invaluable source of competitive advantage for companies.
Ad Hoc Reports Vs. Canned Reports – What’s There To Know?
Ad hoc reports aren’t the only form of ‘on-demand’ reports; there’s a lot more that goes into that analogy. The other side of the coin is canned reports.
As an aspiring data set manager or a report builder, you need to know the difference between canned reports and ad hoc reports. This type of familiarization will help you to make a better decision at times when there’s uncertainty concerning the use of ad hoc reporting software.
Canned reports are predefined with a specific set of criteria that must be met before they can be generated.
These types of reports typically have standard formats, defined layouts, and frequently asked questions that may not require additional data analysis to answer them.
Ad hoc reports allow users to pull data from the database into customized report formats based on their own needs. They can specify different criteria or parameters for each report, which gives them more flexibility in what information is collected or analyzed.
Canned reports provide a standardized view of certain topics within an organization’s data but often do not give users the ability to tailor their output to meet any particular need they might have.
On the other hand, ad hoc reporting tools give users greater control over what data is included in a report as well as how it is presented and rendered in graphical form for added analysis capabilities.
However, ad hoc reporting requires more time and effort up front since these types of bespoke queries must be written in SQL or other query languages first before being run against the database itself.
The key decision point when determining which type of report you need lies largely in how specific you need the results from your inquiry to be for you to make decisions based on those results.
If your goal is simply standard metrics across an entire organization then canned reporting likely provides all that you need.
Whereas if specific information about individual customer accounts needs closer examination then an ad-hoc query may provide better answers than pre-defined metrics alone could produce without also requiring custom coding skillset or knowledge beyond basic SQL use.
When Is Ad Hoc Reporting Needed?
Ad hoc reporting is required anytime an organization needs to respond quickly to an unexpected or unforeseen event or need.
It is often used when traditional reports don’t provide insight into a situation, either because the data they leverage is too old, hasn’t been collected yet, doesn’t provide the necessary level of detail, or simply doesn’t exist in any format.
In that sense, you can lean on using reliable ad hoc reporting software to get the job done.
Coming back to the point, ad hoc reporting may be used to identify sales trends that could help a business make better decisions around inventory management; reveal cost trends that could inform budgeting decisions.
These reports are deemed necessary when an organization needs to deliver insights faster and more efficiently than what would otherwise take hours of manual gathering and synthesizing of data from multiple sources.
5 Best Ad Hoc Reporting Software For You To Jumpstart Your Reports
We have listed down some of the best ad hoc reporting tools for you to consider using.
Depending on your organization or business’s requirements, feel free to improvise and evaluate the software before signing up for a paid plan.
1. Dotnet Report – Simplified Ad Hoc Reporting at Your Fingertips
Starting with Dotnet Report as one of the best ad hoc reporting software, there are a bunch of things you can do without compromising your low-code and minimum tech savviness levels.
This platform is more of a reporting engine, overlaid with a graphical interface and multiple options to customize different aspects of reports.
As a result, once data filters are set in, and selected, you can view your report in different formats, ranging over lists, graphs, charts, and whatnot.
- Compatible with relational databases
- Allows schema connectivity. Check Dotnet Report knowledge base on schema setup
- More of a plug-and-play system with easy database connectivity
- Multiple data filters availability and data filtering options
- Data filters depend on datasets available in your database
- 24/7 customer support
- Ability to create drill-down reports concerning subset data filters
- Open source front end for report customization
- Grant data viewing and editing access through user-roles
If all the above key features seem a little bit overwhelming, Dotnet Report has a preset Live Demo environment that instantly ports you to a pre-built report. Fiddle around with different options and see how things pan out.
- Dotnet Report has multiple pricing plans available for easy affordability
- Free Trial plan is available for evaluation purposes
Up next on our best ad hoc reporting tools recommendations, we’ve got WhataGraph
Whatagraph is a data reporting tool designed to provide valuable insights and actionable information to its users. It features an intuitive dashboard that allows users to easily access data from various sources, such as web analytics, social media accounts, and ad campaigns.
The software provides automated insights which allow marketers to quickly spot trends and opportunities for improvement in their strategies.
- Smart Report Builder:
With Whatagraph’s report builder feature, users can create customized reports with a few clicks. It includes visuals like charts, tables, and graphs to make data more understandable.
- Deep Data Insights
By connecting multiple sources of data with Whatagraph’s unified platform, marketers have access to comprehensive insights across all channels they use – website visits, Google Analytics stats, conversions, etc.
- Automated Alerting System:
With Whatagraph’s alert system marketers can stay ahead of any changes in the market by setting up customizable alerts that notify them when there’s a significant change in key performance indicators or other metrics related to their business objectives or campaigns.
- Advanced Filtering Options:
This reporting software also provides advanced filtering options so that marketers can sort through large sets of data quickly, and find specific trends that require their attention at any given moment for further analysis.
- Professional plan starts at $223
- Premium plan starts at $335
- Enterprise package details available on contact
MesiterTask is an innovative and highly useful tool for reporting enthusiasts.
It includes a wide range of features that provide users with numerous options to maximize the effectiveness of their reports.
With this tool, users can quickly create detailed, organized reports from any type of data source.
One of the main advantages of using MesiterTask is the ability to customize the design and layout of your report.
The intuitive drag-and-drop interface allows you to easily reshape tables and graphs as well as add additional visual elements such as heat maps and interactive visuals.
- Powerful analytics capabilities with customizable dashboards and summary statistics
- Integrates seamlessly with other external tools such as Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or Tableau
- Streamline your reporting workflow by saving time on manual tasks like manually entering formats or regularly running task updates
- No-code solutions make it suitable for individuals at all levels – from beginners who just want quick insights into complex sets of data to experienced analysts looking for an efficient way to analyze vast amounts of information in one place!
- Sign up for a basic, no cost, plan for evaluation purposes
- Pro plan starts at $6.49
- Business plan introduced at $11.49
- Enterprise package details are available on contact
4. Google Data Studio
Ad hoc reporting tools aficionados are well aware of Google Data Studio
It is a powerful reporting platform designed to help reporting enthusiasts analyze data in intuitive and visually engaging ways.
The platform’s best features include its ability to quickly create reports with various template options.
- Ease of use is one of Google Data Studio’s best features for reporting enthusiasts
- Quickly build out their report using pre-existing templates or start from scratch
- User-friendly customization options make it easy for users to tweak existing templates or create customized reports without any coding knowledge
- Layer different types of visuals such as tables and graphs that come with design elements like borders, fonts, and colors
- Connect data from multiple sources into one report in Google Data Studio allowing them access to an array of data that they may not have previously had access to
- Free plan available for beginners and small business owners
- Custom pricing plans are available through the pricing calculator page
Finally, Proworkflow is another ad hoc reporting software that anyone can count on for building interactive reports.
One of the primary features of Proworkflow is its fully customizable dashboards. These dashboards allow users to quickly create custom reports that they can modify to their specific criteria, giving them greater visibility into their projects.
The reporting software also allows users to track costs and monitor progress with its advanced Gantt Chart view feature. This feature helps to direct attention toward critical tasks and highlights areas that may need additional resources or focus in order to meet deadlines on time and efficiently.
- Report creation process can be tracked via automated version control logs which give an overview of all modifications done
- Data filters available with respect to particular timeframe by each user involved in the project document’s life cycle (creation, review, approval)
- Get real-time updates via email notifications so each team member stays informed on the progress of any given job or task
- No need to constantly monitor the application and switch between different sources while conducting drill through report creation sessions
- Professional plan starts at $20 per user/ per month
- Advanced plan starts at $30 per user/ per month
When selecting any number of ad hoc reporting tools, ensure that you’re not getting carried away with impulsive buying decisions. Oftentimes, it is difficult to backtrack after paying up for reporting software that doesn’t exactly match the business’s requirements.