Developers and end users of Lotus Notes are constantly seeking a solution to improve the presentation and analysis of their data. While a simple requirement often exists to push content of fields in a Notes document into a pre-formatted document, more challenging needs revolve around picking fields from multiple Notes views accessing data from response documents and combining them with information from other databases.
These products neatly fall into two categories:
While Integra for Notes may appear to fall into the second category because it does utilise the exporting to Word and Excel approach, we would argue that Integra for Notes is in fact unlike any of the other products on the market and also offers far greater functionality and flexibility. The main points to support this argument are:
- Tools which typically utilise the Lotus Notes API to access data in Notes databases and have their own front-end interface to allow creation of reports and/or charts.
- Tools which focus on exporting the data into other tools, typically Word and Excel, where these tools can be used for the generation of reports, analysis and charts.
No reporting tool comes close. Integra for Notes is an independent Lotus Notes database ready to get to work out of the box, and to be used by end users as well as Notes developers. No design objects need to be added in the application from which exporting of data is required. This avoids a set of issues not least of which is the security implication of adding someone else's code into your applications (and you need to add script libraries, forms, sub-forms, views and image resources into each of your applications). In addition, since the changes are not trivial, you need to undertake regression testing of your applications following these additions, updating technical and user documentation and go through the complete quality assurance cycle and obtain deployment approval.
- Import as well as export - while exporting data to Word and Excel for further reporting, analysis and charting is a strongly supported feature of Integra for Notes, the product can also be used for importing data. It makes it hard for us to clasify us as just a reporting tool for Notes.
- Formula and Lotuscript - the use of computed fields which can be set through Lotus Notes formula language or Lotuscript provides enormous functional opportunities to the Integra profile creator. These include not just data manipulation and updating but essentially anything you may be able to do using Lotuscript during the importing or exporting process.
- Sub-forms and response documents - Integra for Notes has the ability to access data stored in sub-forms and response documents. Most Notes databases use these design elements and having a reporting tool which does not allow reporting on data stored in response documents precludes a significant aspect of the Notes reporting requirement. As an example, a purchase order database may consist of a parent document with the header information about the purchase order and a number of response documents related to each line item in the purchase order. Integra for Notes will allow exporting to Word or Excel of data collating the data from the response documents together with the parent document. For the Tekkies among us: See FAQ How to export data from response and parent documents
- Multiple Notes and Non-Notes databases - as well as being able to access data from multiple Notes databases, because Integra uses Notes formula language and Lotuscript, access is also possible to data stored in non-Notes databases such as Oracle, MS-SQL, MS-Access and any other type of ODBC data source. This can be done either using the Domino Connectors for these environments or even the ODBC versions of formulas such as the @DBlookup and @Dbcolumn functions.
- Automated e-mailing - Integra provides facilities for automatically sending the generated output by e-mail to one or more users, groups etc. The e-mail addresses of the intended recipients could be entered manually at run time or be set within the profile or even programmatically determined by looking up values in a field on a form.
- Store back to Notes - an Integra for Notes profile can be set to automatically write back the generated Word document or Excel spreadsheet into a Notes database, either within the current Notes document, a new Notes document or a response document to the current Notes document. This storage can be effected either in the same or even a different Notes database. An example of this could be a sales application which allows a user to highlight a client contact record, to require the user to click on an action button to generate an Excel quotation containing a predefined format and the client's details within, and then once the quotation is completed in Excel, for the spreadsheet to be e-mailed out to the client and stored back as a response document within the sales database.
- Scheduling - the ability for a profile to be run scheduled with no user intervention resulting in the generated output being e-mailed to one or more users and/or stored back into a Notes database offers great possibilities. As an example, a scheduled Integra profile could be run weekly which generates an Excel report of outstanding service calls on a help desk Notes database and e-mails the report to the help desk manager.
None of this is required with Integra. No changes whatsoever are required to your databases for Integra to work with them. You do not even need Designer access to a database to identify the forms and fields available for reporting when creating an Integra profile linked to that database.
Show competitor checklist
- Easy to setup reports, but also with great advanced capabilities available
- No design changes needed in the database you report on
- No installation on workstations to have reporting available
- A Designer Editon to create, and an End-User Edition to launch. Integra Quick Reports for Ad-hoc reports)
What about Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)?