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Introduction and Background

So what is Report Builder?

Report Builder 2.0 is a report creation tool which runs on your computer like any other piece of software. You can create many different types of reports, such participant placements, volunteer lists and labels by using combinations of tables, matrices, lists, and charts. You can then manipulate your data by adding filters, groups and sorting, and by adding expressions and parameters. After your report looks the way you want, you can save it to your local computer or publish it to a report server within AFS Global, where others within your organization can view it, or you can save it to your local computer.

Why Report Builder and not Crystal Reports?

As many staff members will be aware, for a long time AFS has used a piece of software called Crystal Reports from Seagate for its report writing needs. Crystal Reports, like Lotus Notes, is an extremely powerful piece of software, but in the world of IT tools power often comes at a price. For Crystal Reports this price is the complexity and usability of the software.

In contrast Report Builder simplifies the creation reports by removing some of the complex steps along the way. Added to this it also provides a lot of options which are not available in Crystal Reports.

The Benefits of Report Builder
  • With Report Builder users no longer need to link tables when creating reports. This was one of the main headaches for users when working in Crystal Reports
  • The IT Team can create pre made 'models' for partners to use. These reduce the amount of knowledge which is required about the data structure of AFS Global
  • With Report Builder reports can be published to the web and shared with other members of staff.
  • Reports can be created with open filters faster. This means that one report can fulfil many many roles, with a user able to select what information they are looking for when they run the report.
  • Reports can be exported into many more file types
  • The Microsoft interface is cleaner than Crystal Reports and will be much more familiar to users of Windows and Microsoft Office
  • The software is much more readily available through a link in AFS Global and viewers do not require any additional software (only a web browser) when simply running reports and not creating them
  • Partners can take advantage of pre made or 'canned' reports which fulfil most of their needs much faster than in Crystal Reports