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What Is Ad-Hoc Assignments

Ad hoc analysis is a business intelligence process designed to answer a single, specific business question. The product of ad hoc analysis is typically a statistical model, analytic report, or other type of data summary.

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According to Merriam-WebsterDictionary, ad hoc means "for the particular case at hand without consideration of wider application."  The purpose of an ad hoc analysis is to fill in gaps left by the business' static, regular reporting.  

Ad hoc analysis may be used to create a report that does not already exist, or drill deeper into a static report to get details about accounts, transactions, or records. The process may be also used to get more current data for the existing areas covered by a static report.   

OLAP dashboards are specifically designed to facilitate ad hoc analysis by providing quick, easy access to data from the original report.  Allowing the user (typically a manager or executive) access to data through a point-and-click interface eliminates the need to request data and analysis from another group within the company. This capacity allows for quicker response times when a business question comes up, which in turn should help the user respond to issues and make business decisions faster. 

Although most ad hoc reports and analyses are meant to be run only once, in practice they often end up being reused and run on a regular basis. This relatively common practice can lead to unnecessary reporting processes that impact high-volume reporting periods. Reports should be reviewed periodically for efficiencies to determine whether they continue to serve a useful business purpose. 

Learn more about ad hoc reporting:

MSDN's SQL Developer Center has released a tutorial on creating an application to provide ad hoc reporting functionality using SQL Server.

SAP Business Explorer (BEx) suite provides solutions for enterprise reporting, ad hoc OLAP analysis and dashboarding.


This article is about the Latin phrase. For other uses, see Ad hoc (disambiguation).

Ad hoc is a Latin phrase meaning "for this". In English, it generally signifies a solution designed for a specific problem or task, non-generalizable, and not intended to be able to be adapted to other purposes (compare with a priori).

Common examples are ad hoc organizations, committees, and commissions created at the national or international level for a specific task. In other fields, the term could refer, for example, to a military unit created under special circumstances, a tailor-made suit, a handcrafted network protocol (e.g. ad hoc network), a temporary banding together of geographically-linked franchise locations (of a given national brand) to issue advertising coupons, or a purpose-specific equation.

Ad hoc can also be an adjective describing the temporary, provisional, or improvised methods to deal with a particular problem, the tendency of which has given rise to the noun Adhocism.[1] It also could mean shifting contexts to create new meanings or inadequate planning. [2]


According to The Chicago Manual of Style, familiar Latin phrases that are listed in Merriam-Webster, such as "ad hoc", should not be italicized.[3][4]


Main article: Ad hoc hypothesis

In science and philosophy, ad hoc means the addition of extraneous hypotheses to a theory to save it from being falsified. Ad hoc hypotheses compensate for anomalies not anticipated by the theory in its unmodified form.

Scientists are often skeptical of scientific theories that rely on frequent, unsupported adjustments to sustain them.

In the military[edit]

In the military, ad hoc units are created during unpredictable situations, when the cooperation between different units is suddenly needed for fast action.


Main article: Wireless ad hoc network

The term ad hoc networking typically refers to a system of network elements that combine to form a network requiring little or no planning.

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Howard, R. (2002), Smart Mobs: the Next Social Revolution, Perseus 

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of ad hoc at Wiktionary

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