What is Interactive Reporting?

Interactive Reporting Defined

Interactive reporting dashboardInteractive reporting is a common feature of enterprise-level reporting and BI solutions which provides end users with the capability to do various manipulations to a report such as, drilling through various levels of data, filtering, and sorting.

Information is critical to the success of any business, and choosing the right enterprise reporting solution can be challenging. Enterprises require interactive reporting to deliver highly usable business-critical information across the enterprise. Interactive reporting, enabling users to dynamically work with report views, is an essential component of a reliable information delivery system.

With JReport, interactive reporting is achieved through the use of actionable information.

What is an Interactive Report?

As mentioned, interactive reports are reports which are built to allow end users to do various types of data discovery and analysis with ease.

Here’s an example of an interactive report in action:

Say I’m a logistics manager for a shipping company, and I have a shipping report which shows the status of every non-delivered shipment in the US. I need to better understand the current status of shipments for the region that I’m specifically in charge of. An interactive report may allow me to filter the data on the report to show only the regional data that I need. Furthermore, say I also want to see which shipments have been pending the longest so I can action those shipments first. With a sorting action, I can sort by a field like, “created date” or if available, “# of days in transit”.  When I find the specific orders I’m interested in, with an interactive report, I could also drill down into each specific order to see more detailed data such as order status, the location of shipment, etc.  All of these functionalities allow me to better understand the current status of my business and allows me to then take action on items which need it. With a static report, I may have to go back and forth with my development team to take every action throughout the progression of steps to get the same result. This type of functionality, therefore, allows me to make more efficient decisions.

Interactive Reporting vs. Static Reporting

Today’s business environment necessitates information delivery via the web, and that information must be actionable. Actionable information allows end users to dynamically change and customize their view of data, to glean useful business information.

With JReport, any Web report can be made actionable, extending the “life” of the report by allowing users to easily view, sort, navigate, and filter. This wide range of functionality, including the ability to drill up, down or across data, enables users to quickly derive value from their reports.

Thousands of organizations worldwide rely on JReport to deliver interactive reports with actionable information every day. JReport provides enterprises with actionable information that can be easily modified and customized to help end users access the information they need and in turn, drive better business decisions.

The Benefits of Interactive Reporting

Static vs. Interactive Reporting

Learn More About JReport’s Self-Service Reporting

Interactive reporting takes out a lot of the back and forth needed to manipulate data. The emergence of more interactive capabilities has empowered users to take their data into their own hands. Ad hoc reporting takes that a step further allowing end users to not only manipulate data on a report but also to fully edit and even create reports themselves. This has further pushed the boundary of what non-technical end users are capable of without the assistance of IT. Here are a few other benefits:

  • Interactive and ad hoc reporting means more time to focus on core capabilities. With the additional empowerment given to end users, developers face fewer and fewer requests for customization. This means they have more time to focus on what your business does best.
  • Agility for your customers. Not only does interactive and ad hoc reporting save your developers time, it also saves your end users and customer’s time by eliminating the need to wait for requests to be completed.
  • Put data discovery in your user’s hands when they need it. With JReport interactive reporting capabilities are enabled for the not only the web but also mobile, allowing your end users to view and analyze their data when and where they need it.
  • Reuse components and reports. With JReport, you can also enable your users to reuse and share components and reports for greater collaboration and efficiency gains.

What is Ad Hoc Reporting?

Ad hoc reporting

See Ad Hoc Reporting in Action

Ad hoc reporting in many ways started as an extension of the interactivity found in interactive reports. But ad hoc reporting encompasses a much larger field of vision than the interactive features we’ve discussed to this point.  So let’s start with the term “ad hoc” and its meaning in the context of reporting. “Ad hoc” is Latin for “for this” or “for this situation”, and in this way, ad hoc reports are reports built in the moment, for a specific situation or purpose by end users. And this is where the real differentiation between interactive and ad hoc reports comes in. Ad hoc reports are reports fully designed by non-technical end users using data resources gathered by IT, whereas canned interactive reports may be fully made by IT. The levels of interactivity found in canned reports though often can be contained in ad hoc reports

The freedom ad hoc gives users is in the ability to instantly react to a reporting need by creating a report themselves.  This allows users to quickly react to and analyze data while saving IT resources because users don’t have to go to IT and wait for IT to develop a given report or resource.

With JReport, this extendibility of data resources is taken a step further, by allowing development teams to embed ad hoc capabilities into their application so users can access data even quicker and make in-context analysis of their data on the spot.   

The Rise of Ad Hoc

Ad hoc reporting grew has grown substantially in popularity in recent years let’s take a look as to why.

Traditional BI, started to emerge in the 80s in reaction to the growing amount of data companies were collecting in what was then the still emerging computer and enterprise software markets.  Executives wanted to see if they could use this data for use in decision making, and that original need was what drove the creation of the first BI systems.

But in order to create and use reports, executive staff had to rely on specialized IT staff, data scientists, and even statisticians.  And turn around times to have any type of report created and generated were often long.

As software complexity and compute systems have grown in depth and power, there came a point at which different levels of interactivity could be added to reports for better executive-level data discovery.  And as the usefulness and ease of these systems grew, so too did the need and interest from other levels of business. As middle managers and users started asking for more reports and dashboards, it became untenable for IT organizations to actively react to everyone’s BI needs. There were simply too many requests.  The market reacted to this problem, and self-service, ad hoc reporting was born.

It’s important to understand this story because many organizations still struggle with keeping up with user demands, and some organizations still don’t have active BI strategies.  And if you’re a software vendor, it’s important to understand that even with these self-service technologies being utilized across enterprises (and specifically your customers) there is still a growing need to have BI in your product. This is because although self-service has in many ways lessened the BI burden on IT staff, it is still very difficult to actively manage multiple systems and different departmental BI needs.  And more than ever, both departments and IT staff want more of their BI needs answered by the software vendors they’re currently using and they’ve historically been pulling their data from.

JReport- a Leader in Ad hoc and Interactive Reporting

JReport empowers you to build and embed highly interactive data visualizations, reports, and dashboards and allows your users to explore and analyze data with a variety of interactive components and controls. Dashboards and reports are made by simple drag and drop actions allowing you to add tables, crosstabs, charts, etc. quickly and easily. These reports and dashboards can be saved for later, shared, and edited giving your end users full control. Data exploration and analysis with little to no help from IT is enabled via JReport’s Quick Start ad hoc capabilities and further enhanced with the ability to export reports, dashboards, and other visualizations to a wide range of formats. JReport’s advanced APIs allow you to embed visualizations seamlessly into your application giving your users a consistent look and feel for an intuitive user experience.

Key Takeaways

  • The goal of interactive reporting is to give users the ability to change and control different elements of a report on-demand.
  • Interactive reporting empowers end users to dig deeper into data at any time without the help of your development team this can lead to quicker and better decision making.
  • Self-service reporting now enables even greater flexibility for end users to create and edit reports at will.
  • JReport enables your end users to create, edit, reuse, and share reports and report components for efficient, collaborative reporting.

Ad Hoc Reports

Enables end users to create and modify ad hoc reports via the Web.

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