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post May 2 2015, 09:14 AM

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Posts: 6,105
Joined: 22-June 04
From: North Carolina

My boss has asked me to evaluate potential report writers. MS-Access has been used in the past and was deemed too slow and cumbersome. It don't think it got a fair evaluation since the implementers were untrained and we were using Access 97 up until a couple years ago. Access has its place, but we do deal with large volumes of data (potentially millions of records).

Crystal Reports comes to mind - I've heard of it, but never actually used it. I was wondering what other tools are available. I will take names and do the research myself, but I would really appreciate the pros and cons of the various systems from people who actually use them.

We are currently using TOAD to do queries. The problem with TOAD is it's like a truck: not too many people can handle 19 gears and two trailers. It's a very powerful tool, but it is too much for the average user to handle. Our analysts have no need to drop or add tables, analyze relationships or change indices, etc.; we just read data.

The other issue with TOAD is that it looks at one view or database at a time. We have the need to work with tables from multiple Oracle databases plus sometimes text files or spreadsheets given to us by our customers.

So I am looking for something that is "good enough" to get out a report and is relatively easy for an analyst to learn.

And from my personal standpoint, an interface with Excel would be nice (I currently use MS-Query) smile.gif Most people will probably still copy and paste results.
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post May 2 2015, 09:51 AM

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Posts: 32,146
Joined: 20-June 02
From: Newcastle, WA

Look into Tableau. It's a very visual, interactive approach, so it may not fit all scenarios. For the kind of dashboard reports that management likes, though, it is very good.
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post May 2 2015, 12:22 PM

Posts: 2,399
Joined: 27-February 09

If you have anything but the most basic SQL Server license, you already have Reporting Services. It's okay, but then it's free.

On second thought, you might try MS Power BI Designer. I saw it at Microsoft in the last couple of weeks. Still playing with it, but your users are Excel junkies, it might be just the thing. SSRS is okay, but if they're more at home in Excel, Designer might be easier for them.
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post May 2 2015, 05:14 PM

Posts: 839
Joined: 26-January 14
From: London, UK

Tableau, Qlikview and Spotfire are three leading BI packages that you should definitely consider.
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post May 4 2015, 10:15 AM

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Posts: 6,105
Joined: 22-June 04
From: North Carolina

Thanks for the inputs. I'll start visiting pages and get information.
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