Although business intelligence and data analytics are increasingly becoming a strategic priority for enterprises across various industries, many organizations are still overcoming barriers to maturity.
In 2018, research firm Gartner found nearly nine out of 10 (87 percent) of companies surveyed exhibiting low analytics maturity. Some of the key factors holding organizations back from effectively capitalizing on data for the purpose of better decision making included traditional reporting-based BI and delays caused by the IT team having to create these reports — rather than users being able to do it themselves in a timely manner.
This just goes to show how much of a necessity ad hoc reporting in particular is for organizations aiming to harness data to drive performance. The ability for users to create customized reports on the spot as questions arise is a game-changer in terms of using data to make important decisions.
Here are just three leading benefits of ad hoc reporting in the workplace today.
Speeds Up Time to Insight & Decision-Making
Even the most relevant data insight is useless if it arrives after a decision has already been made. Having to rely upon scheduled reports can hold employees back from “striking while the iron is hot,” as the saying goes, because they deliver information routinely but not immediately.
Busy decision-makers can use self-service, ad-hoc BI reporting platforms to ask specific questions and get back quick answers — sparing them the hassle of having to comb through canned reports that can take weeks or months to arrive. This translates to fewer missed opportunities to act upon data findings when it actually matters.
Empowers Users Across the Entire Organization
Part of the challenge organizations must tackle in achieving data maturity is deploying one data system that meets the needs of many different types of users across the ecosystem. Consider the example of a hospital: Both clinical professionals, like doctors and nurses, and administrative professionals need access to relevant data insights. The exact nature of the insights will vary by role and business objective, but the need for useful insights is universal.
Ad hoc insights exist to meet the exact needs of the person asking the questions, be it a hospital CFO, a heart surgeon or an HR coordinator. The specific questions will vary, but the capability of facilitating a wide variety of queries for a wide variety of users must not.
Supports Flexible Data Insight Discovery
As we outlined above, one of the biggest barriers presented by premade reports is the lack of customizability for individual users — each of whom have different job roles and therefore different data needs. Ad hoc reports allow people to get specific in their data queries and in the answers they get back rather than requiring them to pick through generic reports.
Furthermore, the ability to generate reports on an as-needed basis allows users to glean insights based on highly specific questions that may even be excluded from broader reports. When users know they can get answers to unique questions on the fly, they tend to rely on the available tools more — integrating them into their routine decision-making processes and workflows.
When users know they will have to struggle to find the information they need, they may find themselves hesitant to devote the time and effort needed to try to make static reporting work for their purposes. In this way, ad hoc reporting can even boost BI adoption rates. The benefits of ad hoc reporting to the enterprise today are numerous, as it empowers a wide range of users to ask specific questions and receive timely answers when it counts.
July 8, 2021