Many businesses feel stuck when it comes to reporting. Their reports can sometimes feel stale or irrelevant. Oftentimes, those in charge of reporting feel limited by the tools or lack of tools they possess, and they don’t have easy access to the data they need. Because of this, the “insights” they have access to are often less than insightful. This leaves all the relevant information you could glean from your data untouched.

Are you ready to stop wasting time and start creating relevant reports, sharing insights with your team, and making data-driven decisions that will greatly benefit your team and company (without having to learn SQL)? If so, then it’s time to learn about self-service reporting and the tools you can use to create these reports.

What is self-service reporting?

Business intelligence (BI) products can address a variety of data access issues. Self-service reporting is one of these tools. It enables your team to access, analyze, and share data without having to ask an IT specialist for help.

Self-service reporting allows everyday users to get real-time insights, answer data questions, and create data visualizations and custom reports. Unlike traditional reporting, self-service reporting won’t take days to collect relevant information and create reports.

This easy, real-time access to data and reporting is revolutionary, helping businesses make informed decisions and avoid unnecessary risks. It helps companies better understand their customers, their industry, and their organization as a whole. Because it reduces the need for manual data entry and analysis and grants workers more time to work on other tasks, it can also lessen operational costs.

When self-service reporting tools connect to live data housed in the cloud, a data lake, or elsewhere, you can be assured that you’re accessing relevant, real-time data for your reporting needs.

Different types of reporting

The most common types of reporting include regular reports and ad hoc reports.

Regular/traditional/static reporting

Regular reports, also known as traditional or static reports, may be produced daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly—whatever duration makes the most sense for your company’s reporting goals. They can provide long-term insight.

However, they are called status reports for a reason because they don’t get edited frequently. If you want to get further insight, you can’t get additional information from these reports. But that’s where ad hoc reporting and analysis comes in useful.

Ad hoc reporting

In Latin, “ad hoc” essentially means “as needed.” Ad hoc reporting (link to article) is reporting as needed. These are one-time-use/as-needed reports that aren’t scheduled regularly and are typically created for a specific use, person, or as an answer to a question.

For example, if you ran a Black Friday or Cyber Monday 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, and intuitive and are shared to help improve insight among the team members to whom the information pertains.

Why is self-service reporting beneficial?

There are many benefits of harnessing the power of self-service reporting tools.

Faster, more informed decisions

Quicker access to real-time data means faster reporting and analysis can be done and you can more accurately diagnose, understand, and take action based on what you’ve found. All of those benefits equal more time and money—a win-win scenario.

No need for IT

Accessing and analyzing data efficiently without the need for technical support increases productivity all around. Your team is empowered because they no longer have to rely on waiting for an IT specialist to access the relevant data they need to do their jobs effectively.

Custom orders

One-size-fits-all approaches don’t always fit all scenarios. The ability to customize reports with self-service reporting means you’re getting the information you need. This helps you understand the data more thoroughly.

Fewer errors, enhanced accuracy

Self-service reporting delivers more accuracy. When you take away the need for manual entry, you reduce the number of errors made and increase more accurate information and reports.

Happier customers and higher revenue

By being able to respond to real-time data faster, you can address issues faster, which has a direct effect on customers. Also, more accuracy in reports also impacts customer satisfaction. The faster you can address issues, and the more accurate you are with customer information, the happier your customers will be when working with your company, products, and services. And after all, the happier your customers are, the higher your revenue can grow.

Accessibility and money-saving

Self-service reporting is meant to be accessible. It’s meant for individuals to be able to access reports and dashboards quickly and easily. With self-service reporting, you don’t need to hire more data analysts or information technology specialists, saving you hundreds of thousands of dollars just with those positions alone.

The main challenges of self-service reporting

While we’ve highlighted various reasons why self-service reporting is beneficial to your team members and your company’s overall health, there may be a few challenges to overcome before it becomes a well-oiled machine.

Agree on the data

The first matter you want to ensure is that relevant data is shared among all departments. Differing data can produce inconsistent reports and insights. While self-service reporting tools can do away with data silos among departments, you first need to make sure the same data is being fed to the tools. In order to avoid this, you must have a single source of accurate information. Otherwise your reports won’t be precise.

Don’t throw out traditional reporting

When incorporating a new tool, it can be tempting to take the “out with the old, in with the new” approach. However, traditional or static reports still have their place. This type regularly reports on KPIs and other measurements, which holds departments and the company accountable. In order to get the full scope of how your company is performing, using both static and ad hoc reports is crucial.

Seeking self-service-reporting tools

As you search for the best tools to fit your needs, ask these questions and make these considerations as a team.

Ask your team the following questions:

  • What does your business need? What challenges are you hoping to address by using self-service reporting tools?
  • What insights are you hoping to acquire?
  • What are all of the data sources that will be connected to the new tools?
  • How many users will there be? How many people in your organization need access to data and reports?
  • What is the extent of the knowledge and technological comfortability of the users who will be using this product?
  • Who will have access to what data? You want to make sure sensitive information, like salaries, etc., aren’t shared with everyone using the tool.

Considerations to keep in mind: 

  • The main goal is to make reporting and analysis easier for non-technical users.
  • Make sure the tool you choose has an easy to understand dashboard to understand and use your live data well.
  • The tool’s visual presentations of data should be intuitive and interactive.
  • It’s important to take into account your company’s internal systems, developed systems, external data sources, and more. Will the raw data be accessible by your tool’s dashboard? Will the previously siloed data be accessible as well?
  • Your tool should promote collaboration among users. Does the tool make it easy to share, compare, and assemble reports?
  • When starting to use any new product, you need to prepare the data, get the data source(s) connected to the tool, and introduce users to the tool.

After you have asked these questions, made these considerations, and figured out more of the specifics with your team, you can start looking at tools that will best fit your needs as a company. You want a secure tool that will easily integrate with existing systems and sources of data and that is easy for end-users to navigate, seek insights, and create reports.

When setting up any self-service reporting tool, you connect the tool to the data sources, put security in place, and decide what data would be useful for users to have access to for reporting and analysis.

Self-service reporting tools by eOne Solutions

Getting scattered customer or inventory data from both your ERP and your CRM only adds chaos to your organization and stresses your team, adding to the time-wasting manual entry load.

As you consider which self-service reporting tool to go with, check out Popdock, eOne Solutions’ self-service reporting tool.

Popdock hands you the data you need, when you need it, wherever you work, without making it another IT problem. It enables you to uncover insights, customize reports, perform data translations and calculations on the go, and allows you to easily and effectively collaborate across teams.

With Popdock you can:

  • Access any data, make better decisions
  • Break down data silos across teams
  • Put data answers at your users’ fingertips, no matter the app
  • Easily connect to all your cloud-based and on-premise data to quickly generate custom reports.
  • Use advanced DIY reporting so you can get the data you need, the way you need it, without gatekeepers:
    • Search
    • Filter
    • Group/subgroup
    • Add/remove columns
    • Combine data
    • Use calculations to translate data
    • Export and share
  • Align your data, perform complex calculations, and collect what matters. Efficiently store and reuse data across different reports, and more:
    • Rename fields and columns to fit your team’s language
    • Add calculated fields using functions or scripting
    • Apply filters and parameters to refine your data
    • Create and use variables throughout Popdock for consistent data storage
  • Make the right data pop with charts and summaries:
    • From donut, circle, column, bar, funnel, and area charts to tree maps and summaries, turn your data into a compelling story in a single click with the right chart type
    • Effortlessly export, pin to your dashboard, or embed the chart in other apps

By using Popdock, you can free up your developer’s time and make it your own on your own.

Reach out for more information

Better insight can lead to better decisions, creating a better work environment, better customer experience, and higher profitiablily for your business. You can enable users to access and control their data the way they want to with easy-to-understand dashboards that help them build and analyze data and reports.

With Popdock, you can easily access up-to-date information, create customized reports, and make data-backed decisions faster. Popdock helps you solve the data-siloing issue, increase work efficiency, boost customer confidence and satisfaction, and improve the performance of your business.

Every step of the way, eOne Solutions is able to provide exactly the help, support, security, and performance you need to work efficiently and surpass your goals.

Do you have more questions about self-service reporting? Would you like some help learning more about Popdock? Contact our sales team at or 888-319-3663 ext. 1 for more personalized help answering your questions. They are always eager to provide help and answers for your reporting needs.