Ad-hoc analysis is a business intelligence process. It is designed by Data Analysts to answer specific business questions at a specific point in time – especially when data analysis needs cannot be met by regular reporting. Ad-hoc analysis is based on company data, which can be extracted from various sources such as data warehouses.
This process proves very useful when Business Users ask for accurate insights that will help them make better data-informed decisions. Given how quickly they can be created, ad-hoc analyses are the perfect fit for situations where immediate action is required – for instance when Sales teams want to assess the impact of an event on Sales, or compare Sales performances in various countries.
Ad-hoc analysis can be carried out with several tools:
The most popular of them are – unsurprisingly – Excel, Tableau, and data notebooks.
As a matter of fact, ad-hoc reporting is the very antithesis of recurring analysis and static reports, which are generated on a regular basis. They are designed to track predefined metrics or data points over time, such as daily Sales metrics or monthly costs.
On the flip side, though, implementing ad-hoc analysis involves generating single-use reports which are only valid in a specific context – the one they were created in. As a result, they can’t be used elsewhere, at least not directly.
This is why both ad-hoc and recurring analysis are necessary: they complement one another and help you run your business successfully!
As a general rule, BI reporting is a complex process that requires technical skills and takes up quite a lot of time. Ad-hoc analysis, though, turns out to be a pretty user-friendly solution. Here’s why:
Besides, thanks to self-service BI platforms – such as data notebooks – ad-hoc analysis can be performed by Business Users themselves, as long as they have been properly informed and trained: they become increasingly self-reliant in their data exploration activities, which undeniably speeds up decision-making and reduces the Data Scientists’ workload!