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Ad Hoc Reporting


What is ad hoc reporting?

Ad hoc reporting enables people to find information for specific business questions or tasks by allowing them to create improvised or ad hoc reports in real-time from pre-existing data sources. Some organizations may feel that ad hoc reporting is too complicated to accomplish in an office setting by everyday business users. Creating traditional business reports usually consumes so much time and uses a lot of IT resources that it is not always a feasible everyday business practice. The alternative is spending hours sifting through endless reams of paper reports or stacks of spreadsheets and files to find answers, which is neither time-efficient nor cost-effective.

BIRT Studio ad hoc reporting tools include simple report templates.
BIRT Studio ad hoc reporting tools include simple report templates for end users.

End User Reporting with BIRT Studio

Self-Service Ad Hoc Reporting Tools for Everyday Business Users

End user reporting enables instant, customizable data visualizations.
End user reporting enables instant, customizable data visualizations.

End user reporting tools let everyday business users build and organize reports the way they want to present them. As a self-service ad hoc reporting tool, BIRT Studio provides personalized end user experiences because it is specifically designed for regular business users who want to create on-the-fly business reports to find answers to their pending business questions. BIRT Studio empowers end users by making it easier to run ad hoc reports with in-depth information almost instantly. With an intuitive drag-and-drop web browser-based interface, Actuate's ad hoc query tool enables less-than-tech-savvy business users to access data sources and present that data in clearly defined data visualizations in ad hoc reports without IT help. Even new users with zero to minimal training can point-and-click their way through BIRT Studio’s familiar Excel-like environment to build ad hoc reports in real-time with personally selected data presentations for immediate insights without waiting for IT to deliver traditional business reports.

Interactive End User Reports

Become a 'Data Artist': Make Better Day-to-Day Decisions with Ad Hoc Reports You Design

Ad hoc reporting lets business users build and modify graphs and charts.
Ad hoc reporting lets business users build and modify graphs and charts.

We all know that humans are visual creatures. We understand and learn new information quicker and easier when it is presented in pictures or in graphic forms that are visually appealing. Likewise, when it comes to business analysts studying raw data, they tend to get more out of their data sets if they can actually see them illustrated in an organized way—or better yet, in an interactive way.

Delivering interactive end user reporting, BIRT Studio is featured in the BIRT iHub Visualization Platform and provides a simple solution for organizations that want the flexibility and convenience of self-service business intelligence reporting tools. Our designer “studio” lets you become an analytical “data artist” so you can virtually help yourself to business intelligence, touch your data, and build spur-of-the-moment reports the way you want them when there are important questions that need to be answered about your business.

BIRT Studio gives your organization the advantage of do-it-yourself (DIY) ad hoc reporting for instant insights to drive day-to-day decisions. With its highly versatile and user-friendly content creation and formatting tools, BIRT Studio also includes powerful design elements that accommodate easy viewing and manipulation of data, providing more control over building ad hoc reports.

Data Artist

Equipped with a computer mouse as a “paintbrush,” business users can become data artists by dipping into different shades of data they want to examine and blending the sources together effortlessly for various emerging patterns and vivid pictorial displays of their data sets. Since end users can access data quickly by themselves, they can customize their ad hoc reports with highly personalized graphical data visualizations. Without relying on IT, users can apply business-specific logic and preferences to a canvas of non-static data representations, modifying them with new queries by adding or removing columns or rows, creating new summaries, and organizing the information as they go. In this way, users can personalize their ad hoc reports by deciding what data mix should be included or excluded in their graphs, charts, tables, and diagrams.

Leveraging ad hoc reports gives end users endless opportunities to think outside the box by swirling any data together from relational and non-relational databases, adjusting the rich palette of data sources to their own personal preferences, and “painting” informative data visualization masterpieces to analyze.

BIRT Reporting Tools Empower Your Organization's Team with Personalized End User Experiences  

BIRT Studio Self-Service Ad Hoc Reporting

  • Requires virtually no training so anyone can run ad hoc reports

  • User-friendly for non-technical users with an Excel-like environment and drag-and-drop interface to create crosstabs, tables, and charts

  • Web browser-based query tool allows end users to access pre-existing report templates created by IT through any Internet browser or mobile-enabled smart device

  • Populate new reports with information from
    pre-existing data sources

  • Import just the specific information needed for each
    ad hoc report

  • Save and return to ad hoc reports for later use

  • Share reports with other users

  • Reduces the workload for IT

Limitations of Traditional Reporting Methods

Delayed Report Delivery to End User
Traditional reporting involves long cycles of report iterations with requesting, building, testing, modifying, re-testing, and deploying reports until the end user is satisfied with the presentation or format of the report.

Reliance on IT
Everyday business users cannot work independently on a business report because they do not have direct access to the underlying data to modify it when and how they want to. Instead, they must rely on IT to change the presentation or format of the report for them.

Static Reports
Limited insights as information is static and does not allow end users to interact with the data to change or reorganize the way charts, tables, and graphs are presented. 

BIRT Studio Features

Target Users

  • Business users creating and maintaining reports from pre-defined data components over the web without the Eclipse IDE

Component-Based Model Reuse

  • Ability to use Component Libraries and design templates

Eclipse Integration

  • Common open source Eclipse BIRT code base

Platform Support

  • Windows, Linux, Unix, Mac OS X

Actuate-Specific Extensions

  • Single-click installer
  • Securely publish content to BIRT iHub

Common Web 2.0 and Data Visualizations

  • Common BIRT web 2.0 report and data visualization suite
  • Option for out-of-the-box support for Flash Objects
  • Optional use of pre-built Flash Object Library
  • HTML button support to facilitate client application integration
  • Auto-suggest parameter support
  • HTML5 Charts