From sales to retail, human resources to healthcare, or finances to research, businesses in every sector share a common need for accurate, real-time data reports and productive analyses. In order to make timely decisions, you can’t always be waiting days for your reports and analyses. In many cases, the data you need may not even fit into what is monitored and included in your weekly reports. This is where ad hoc reporting and ad hoc analysis come into play.

What is ad hoc reporting?

In Latin, “ad hoc” essentially means “as needed.” Ad hoc reporting is reporting as needed. In other words, these are upon-request/as-needed reports that aren’t scheduled regularly. These are reports typically created for a specific use, person, or question. They are generally one-time-use reports.

Let’s say you ran a Memorial Day sale and want to see the total number of online sales for the duration of the sale. Running this kind of specific report would count as ad hoc reporting.

Ad hoc reports are typically short, specific, intuitive, and are shared to help improve insight among the team members to whom the information pertains.

What’s the difference between traditional reporting and ad hoc reporting?

Unlike ad hoc reporting, traditional reporting (also known as “canned” or “static” reporting) includes all recurring reports generated on a regular schedule. These traditional reports can be created by data analysts and may be distributed weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, etc. These reports usually include the same parameters for each round.

While traditional reporting is important to the health of the company because it reports on regular, key aspects of a business, it is less flexible. This is because data is being compared within the same parameters on a regular basis.

However, ad hoc reporting isn’t run on a regular, scheduled basis and therefore can be a standalone report with whatever specifications you want to view. It fulfills data reporting needs that aren’t being met by the traditional reports already put in place and helps a company improve agility, flexibility, and performance.

Both types of reports are helpful and necessary for a company to view its data, improve its performance, and make thoughtful, effective marketing and overall business decisions.

What’s the difference between ad hoc reporting and ad hoc analysis?

Ad hoc reporting and ad hoc analysis are quite similar to each other. They’re both real-time data assessments that can help improve the decisions a company makes. However, ad hoc analysis takes things further. While you can run quick reports to answer particular questions, ad hoc analysis asks the why, where, when, how, and who questions in much greater detail.

Ad hoc analysis can answer why more products were sold in Minnesota than in Florida. It can help you identify why invoices aren’t being paid on time, and why sales were so high in July.

With the right tools, ad hoc reporting and ad hoc analysis can empower employees to take the data into their own hands and seek answers whenever they need them. This also helps prevent bottlenecking by relieving some pressure off IT workers.

Both reporting and analysis should be doable processes for anyone on your team, not just data analysts. You no longer have to wait for reports by IT and data analysts. By implementing these solutions and running on-demand reports, your team(s) can make quicker, more informed decisions and resolve problems more efficiently.

What does ad hoc reporting and ad hoc analysis include?

As mentioned before, not all questions can be answered with traditional, static reports. Some scenarios in which ad hoc reporting and ad hoc analysis are necessary include the following:

  • Questions on company teams
  • Performance and behavior assessments on employees, products, sales, campaigns, etc.
  • System performance during a particular time
  • Staffing needs

No matter what line of work your company takes part in, ad hoc reporting can benefit your company with detailed information that can expose areas that are succeeding or need improvement.

Ad hoc reporting can even help (kind of) predict the future. You can make reports on sales during weather events, using different marketing or store (online or in-person) layout techniques, or sending out promotions at specific times. There are endless ways to measure company efforts and how they affect your overall goals.

By implementing ad hoc reporting and ad hoc analysis, you can have a competitive edge over the competition to make informed and quick decisions when needed.

Examples of ad hoc reporting and ad hoc analysis

Ad hoc reporting and analysis are extremely helpful in improving the health of any company. Examples include how many support tickets were resolved last week or how many calls a salesperson made yesterday. Here are a few more in-depth examples of where ad hoc reporting and analysis must be used:

  • You need to do a performance review on an employee, so you do an ad hoc report on the number of calls and sales they have made in the last month. If their volume was lower last month, was it due to major holidays, were they sick, were they given other tasks that took up more time?
  • You need to view how many support tickets were resolved in the last week. You also want to compare how many were resolved last week as opposed to last year at the same time. If it’s improved, is it because you added more support members to your team? If it hasn’t, and you did add more employees, is it because the volume of product sales has increased, thus creating more support tickets?
  • Perhaps you started carrying a new product in your store to replace an older version. Is this product getting returned more often than the old variety? If it is, is it worth carrying this product at all? You may want to carry the older, more reliable product that people were finding more useful.
  • You are about to undergo a major project and will need all hands on deck. You may want to find out what timeframe your employees take off the most work, so you don’t schedule this project during that timeframe. Otherwise, satisfaction at work will drop and undoubtedly create tension.
  • You’re about to test a different pharmaceutical drug on patients with a certain condition. While the drug companies have done their own testing and reporting, you want to see for yourself how the outcomes of your patients using the newer drug compared to the use of the older drug you had been using to treat this condition. What are the differences in symptom frequency, type of symptoms/side-effects from taking each drug, how long it took to notice a positive difference, etc.
  • You help manage an online store and recently redesigned the home page. Is this resulting in more sales or fewer? What other factors may be involved?
  • What time of year are your company’s sales the highest, and why? Is this a consistent trend year over year, or are the most popular sales times varied? Did you add different products that have become more popular?

These specific scenarios and questions and many others are what ad hoc reporting and ad hoc analysis help you answer and improve.

Discover how you can use Popdock for ad hoc reporting

Popdock is a powerful, self-service
, cloud-based, integration and reporting tool that allows users to perform ad hoc reporting from a variety of data sources. It’s end-user friendly and provides a vast array of options to work with your data.

By bridging the gap between apps, websites, SQL Servers, data lakes, and more, you can view whatever data you need in whatever place you want to view it, making ad hoc reporting and ad hoc analysis as simple and easy as it can be.

Don’t waste time logging in to various apps to retrieve data. You no longer need to feel like a burden asking Barbara in accounting for the information you need for your report. Simply view the information you need in the Popdock app or through the Popdock interface on your system. This makes gathering the data you need seamless, fast, and simple.

Simplify reporting using Popdock and stop relying on IT. You can have the power to work with and report on data yourself.

With Popdock you can:

  • Search
  • Filter
  • Group/subgroup
  • Add/remove columns
  • Combine data
  • Use calculations to translate data
  • Export and share
  • Customize, calculate, and format
  • Visualize data with charts and summaries
  • Drill down on data and take action
  • See your data where you need it
  • And much more!

Convenience is key for productivity, adoption, and doing the things that need to get done. Access any data you need from any source using the Popdock interface within the app you’re already using most frequently, or use the Popdock app to access external data.

Learn more about the kind of reports you can make with Popdock.

Become a reporting pro with self-paced training with Popdock

In order to help you get up to speed quickly, you will be enrolled in the self-paced Popdock training at eOne University when you are added as a user to Popdock.

There are many training videos included with self-paced learning including courses on an introduction to Popdock, adding connectors, customizing connectors, customizing lists, using Popdock API Endpoints, and more.

Users will receive an email invitation to log in to their account at eOne University. Enrollment in Popdock self-paced training is free and permanent, so users can refer to the training if they have questions during the life of their Popdock subscription.

All Popdock subscription tiers include unlimited support, which can be accessed by calling 888-319-3663 or emailing