There are two main types of reporting used within Business Intelligence. These are ad hoc reporting and Enterprise Reporting. Whilst ad hoc reporting allows users to create and manipulate queries on the fly, Enterprise Reporting uses standardised reports with defined content; this type of report is often referred to as a pre-canned or standard report. The presentation and formatting of the report does not change but the data within it does.
An example of a pre-canned report might be the Daily Sales Figures report which as its name suggests contains the sales figures for the day. The report could be designed to present the sales figures through meaningful tables and charts. Every night the day’s sales figures would be loaded into the data warehouse and then the Daily Sales Figures report would refresh on an automated schedule and be distributed to all business users on the distribution list. In this way it is ready for them to read at 8 am when they arrive at the office. This process is known as Enterprise Reporting.
Although Enterprise Reports are referred to as pre-canned they can still be highly interactive and made to be fully refreshable at will. SAP BusinessObjects includes a world class Enterprise Reporting tool known as Crystal Reports.