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Archive for the ‘Information Management’ Category

Quick Introduction

December 31, 2018 Leave a comment

Sunset Reports is based on award winning components and proven technology, and provides users an alternative to such software as Crystal Reports, SSRS, and others.  The report designer handles all types of content.   And you can even import report designs from other software as well.  The report queue allows for scheduling of reports, file and document distribution including recurring schedules and provides easy to use list and calendar views.  Besides using Sunset Reports as a reporting tool, it is perfect for information management, data analysis, business analytics, visualizations, web site design, making labels, data conversion, document management, document distribution, and lots more.

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Alternative to Reporting Services (SSRS)

January 11, 2014 Leave a comment

SQL Server Reporting Services is a popular choice for creating, deploying, and managing reports.  But there are many occasions when it is an overkill or the data source is not SQL Server.  Sunset Reports provides an attractive alternative that provides most of the features of SSRS and many features that SSRS doesn’t provide.  Sunset Reports is easier to learn, is simple to install and use, and is less expensive.

Sunset Reports provides a great award winning Report Designer, a powerful visual query builder, the ability to connect to almost any database, a huge list of export and file formats, and numerous features to deliver the reports to the user.   Sunset Reports can act as a report server with a true Windows based process running in the background.  As a report server it can push reports to users, but it can also respond to emails when a user wants to pull a report.   With the ability to schedule reports and have them queued up, you have everything you need to manage document delivery.  And since reports can also be saved as a web page, Sunset Reports can build web pages and FTP them directly to your website.

So if you are looking for another option besides SSRS, or any other report designer, then look carefully at Sunset Reports.

All In One Software

April 23, 2013 Leave a comment

As we continue to see how people use Sunset Reports, we are amazed to find out that the product can do so much.   In surveying our current user base, we have found the functionality of the software going beyond what we originally intended.   Here is a small list of how the software has been used (The first few were obvious, but included here to make the list as complete as possible.)

  • Reporting Tool
  • Data Analysis
  • Business Analytics
  • Management Dashboards
  • Charting
  • Visualizations
  • Business Graphics
  • Web Site Design
  • Web Page Designer
  • Label Maker
  • Word Processor
  • Dunning Letters
  • Data Conversion Tool
  • Document Management
  • Document Distribution
  • FTP Client
  • File Backup Manager
  • Report Server
  • Report Subscriptions
  • Meeting Presentations
  • Report Scheduler
  • Model What-if Scenarios
  • Email Blasts

If you are using the product for something not on this list, drop us a line, we would love to hear from you.

Feature List

March 27, 2013 Leave a comment
Data Connectivity Data Sources MS Access (all versions), SQL Server, MS Excel, Oracle, OLEDB, ODBC, MS Outlook, MySQL, and more
Visual Query Builder Grouping, Sorting, Filtering, Sub-queries, derived tables, Union queriesAdvanced properties: Aliases, Virtual fields, Various SQL Dialects, Visual representation modes
Report Design Contents grouping, filters, sorting, bands, sub-reports, styles, summaries, calculated fields, watermarks, backgrounds, bookmarks, parameters
Controls text boxes, lines, shapes. barcodes, checkboxes, page info, panels, images, page breaks, tables, postal codes, rich text controls, cross-band controls, hyperlinks, multi-columns, cross-references, gauges, map control
Pivot Tables OLAP, Key Performance Indicators, (KPI) Graphics
Charts & Graphs 56 Types with many options2D, 3D, Regression and Trends
plus Parameters, scripts, wizards, labels, mail merge, Drilldown, Drillthrough, Document Map, Multiple reports within a single reportImport from Crystal Reports, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, Data Dynamics Active Reports, and DevExpress
Report Definitions Parameters Select from a data sourceText, Numeric, Static Dates, Dynamic Dates, Fixed and Prompted
plus Multiple definitions using the same design, Descriptions, Titles, External files (treat a file from other software as a report), Print/Preview, Export, Email
Distribution & Delivery Report Processor Runs as a service in the background
Similar functionality to a Report Server
Has the functionality of a server without an operating system server, database server, or web server
Handles report subscriptions
Report Bursting, Report Exploding, Report Splitting, Email Blasts, Email Broadcasting
Report Queue Schedule one time, Schedule recurring, List and Calendar views
Email Requests Monitor email requests, Reply to emails with attached reports/documents
FTP Transfer reports to FTP Site
Website Semi-Static Website, Automatic Index page creation for reports including nested folders
File Formats Document: pdf, html, mht, rtf, txt
Data: txt, csv, xls, xlxs
Graphic: bmp, emf, gif, jpeg, png, tiff, wmf
PDF’s can be password protected

QuickBooks and CleverQ

January 5, 2013 Leave a comment

Intuit has provided an ODBC source called QODBC which is a data source interface to Quickbooks.   With this ODBC interface you can extract data from Quickbooks allowing reports and other information gathering applications to use the data.   A version of Sunset Reports is included in a product called CleverQ which can extract Quickbooks data in a different way and can provide dashboards, gauges, scorecards, charts, reports, and more.   It can also import data from Microsoft Excel, Access, and other compliant ODBC databases.  Click HERE to find out more.

InfoPath

June 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Microsoft has a software product called “InfoPath” which is a program that allows you to create forms and provide forms to users to view, edit, and add data to some sort of database or data store.   This is a very versatile product and can provide a complete solution with Sunset Reports.   Use Infopath Designer to create the forms, and Infopath Filler to have users access the data using the forms.   Then with Sunset Reports connected to the same data store and you have a complete application.

There are numerous options for data stores.   Here are some screenshots taken from InfoPath to give you an idea of the choices.

Writing Reports for Users

June 11, 2012 Leave a comment

In the article “10 tasks IT should consider handing off to someone else” by Scott Lowe, he covers a very important topic, “7: Writing reports for users… to a point”.   We would like to add to that discussion, that accomplishing this requires the non IT person needs a tool that can use and master.   We created Sunset Reports to be just that tool.  Several posts have already covered this topic and if you have not tried Sunset Reports yet, we encourage you to see how well it works.

Search our blog for the term “user” and you will see several posts relating to this subject.

iPad Database Sync

June 8, 2012 Leave a comment

In a recent article by Sam Laird titled “In a Relationship:  Mobile Apps and the Cloud“, the author points out the connection between mobile devices and the cloud. In recent posts we spoke about how this relationship works with our software. Getting reports from Sunset Reports is a simple process that we have spoke about several times and offered several methods to do it, from emails, texts, and cloud services.

Capturing data on a mobile device and getting that data into a database that Sunset Reports can connect to is a different topic. Client software on a mobile device exists to do just that. There are a few business database applications for the iPad, but here we want to focus on those that will “sync” to a cloud server in the true sense of the word.   The app needs to handle the situation where it is not online all the time. If you go to the app store and search for “database sync” you will only find one product in the “business” category, and that app is called “Cellica Database”. In future posts, we will explore this app and how to use it in conjuction with our product.

Cloud Server

June 7, 2012 Leave a comment

In some upcoming posts, the details of how to implement a Cloud Server with Sunset Reports will be discussed.   The following diagram shows the basis of this discussion.  This architecture has been used for projects where a database client was running on an iPad, and this client would synchronize with it’s server counterpart and keep a set of database tables up to date both on the iPad and the Server.   Then Sunset Reports was used to create the reports needed and pushed those reports to the client on a schedule and as requested.

Volume, Velocity, & Variety

June 5, 2012 Leave a comment

The Three V’s of Big Data is a hot topic these days.   In a recent article by Steve Baunach, he states that the data explosion is upon us and sites staggering statistics for the amount of data that exists and it is measured in zettabytes.    To help with all this data, we at Software for Professionals want to provide a tool that will allow you to access this data and turn it into the information you need.

Report Specification

June 2, 2012 Leave a comment

If a user is to request a report be designed, some questions must be asked by the designer in order to proceed.   The following list of questions can be used as a starting point for discussions when specifying a report:

  1. What is the purpose of the report?
  2. What skill level will be required to read the report?
  3. In what format(s) will the reports be generated?
  4. Who will the receipient(s) be receiving the report?
  5. What is the frequency of the report?
  6. If the report is stored in a repository, how long is the retention time of the report?
  7. What or where is the data source(s) of the report?
  8. What fields or columns will be used?
  9. What type of report will it be?  Columnar, Tabular, CrossTab, Detail, Summary, Charts, Labels, Form Letter, etc.
  10. What is the general content of the report?  Titles, Report Header, Page Header, Report Footer, Page Footer, Detail section, Subreports?
  11. What is the report orientation (Portrait, Landscape)?
  12. What page size should be used?  Margins?
  13. Are there any predefined templates to use?
  14. Are there any predefined style sheets to use?
  15. Are there any groupings for the report?  Contents of group header?  Contents of group footer?  Multigrouping?  Running Totals?
  16. Are there any paging requirements?  New page for groups?
  17. Is there any filtering?
  18. How is the data to be sorted?
  19. Is there any special requirements to emphasis the content of the report with fonts, color, shading, etc.?
  20. Will there be any user prompted parameters to control the content of the report?
  21. Are there any calculations to be performed?
  22. What data is to be summarized?
  23. Will there be any hyperlinks on the report?  Drilldowns?
  24. Will the report include a document map?
  25. Is there any security or permission considerations?

This list is far from complete, but it will give you a good start on the discussions that need to occur when specifying a report.

Knowledge Worker

May 31, 2012 Leave a comment

From Wikipedia, a Knowledge worker is a worker whose main capital is knowledge.   The term is sometimes confused with Information Worker, which is a person who captures data and turns it into information.   Information Worker may be a more accurate name for someone who uses Sunset Reports.

The right tool can make being an information worker much more productive and that is what Sunset Reports is all about.   If you need to take data and …

  • Analyze it
  • Disseminate it
  • Organize it
  • Monitor it

… then check out our product.   It is probably just what you need.

This Website on the iPad

May 30, 2012 Leave a comment

This website has a special viewing feature when viewed on an iPad.

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Don’t forget to click on the Menu button on the top right to see a submenu with all the pages available as well as the most popular categories.

You can always click on the bottom and view the site in the standard format.

Product Integration

May 29, 2012 Leave a comment

In the last two posts about Quickbooks (CleverQ) and Medical Software (PsychNotesEMR) , you saw how Sunset Reports can enhance other software by providing a reporting solution.   Sunset Reports will enhance your software as well, by providing a complete reporting tool and information management solution.   To find out more contact us at Sales@SoftwareForProfessionals.com.

Business Asset

May 26, 2012 Leave a comment

One of the most important assets in business is DATA and when the data is turned into INFORMATION, it becomes the primary asset of a business.   Transforming data from a variety of sources, making it accessible, and presenting it in a form that is useful is the main purpose of Sunset Reports.    Timely information and business intelligence in the right format gives managers the ability to

  • Make quicker decisions
  • Make smarter dicisions
  • Adapt to changes
  • Affect the bottom line

With Sunset Reports, you do not have to manually run reports, they can be delivered on demand or scheduled to occur on a recurring basis.    They can be delivered to a manager’s workstation or portable device like a smartphone or tablet.   They can show up on a website, email, or message.

Industries Needing Sunset Reports

May 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Here is a short list of industries that can use Sunset Reports:

Agriculture, Accounting, Advertising, Aerospace, Aircraft, Airline, Apparel, Automotive, Banking, Broadcasting, Brokerage, Biotechnology, Call Centers, Cargo Handling, Chemical, Computer, Construction, Consulting, Consumer Products, Cosmetics, Defense, Department Stores, Education, Electronics, Energy, Entertainment & Leisure, Executive Search, Financial Services, Food and Beverage, Grocery, Health Care, Human Resources, Insurance, Legal, Manufacturing, Marketing, Media, Music, Newspaper Publishers, Office Management, Online Auctions, Pharmaceuticals, Private Equity, Publishing, Real Estate, Retail & Wholesale, Sales Management, Securities & Commodity Exchanges, Service, Software, Sports, Technology, Telecommunications, Telemarketing, Transportation, and more.

IT Departments Should Not Write Reports for Users

May 9, 2012 Leave a comment

In a recent article by Scott Lowe named “Four more things your IT department  should consider not doing“, he mentions writing repors for users is not something IT departments should do for each and every report.   Sunset Reports makes this happen by being easy enough for end users to use.   What the IT department needs to do is to setup the data sources.   So the IT department sets up the data sources and then deploys the Sunset Report RDP file to the end users to create the reports.   It is a win-win situation for all.   IT does not get bogged down with report requests and end users don’t have to wait for their reports.   In fact, the end user can tweak the reports as necessary.

Sunset Reports now listed on CNET Download.com

May 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Sunset Reports is now available as a download from download.cnet.com.   When you download from this website and start the installation process, you will need a serial number.    Please email us at support@sunsetreport.com to get your FREE serial number and start your 30 DAY FREE TRIAL.

Information Management

April 28, 2012 Leave a comment

If you refer to the definition of “Information Management (IM)” from Wikipedia, you will see that IM “is the collection and management of information from one or more sources and the distribution of that information to one or more audiences. …. the organization of and control over the structure, processing, and delivery of information”

Does this definition describe Sunset Reports?   Actually this definition is exactly what Sunset Reports does.    You can define many sources of information from databases, Excel documents, or any other type of file created by another system.   With the query builder, report designer, calculations, scripting, etc., information can be processed.   The delivery of information can take many forms in terms of file formats.    Delivery can be scheduled and there are several destination types including websites, shared folders, cloud services, email, and more.

Web Capabilities

April 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Sunset Reports has several capabilities for the web. These include:

  • Saving reports as HTML and MHT
  • Automatically creating index web pages for report folders
  • Sending files to web sites via FTP
  • Designing web pages using the report designer with tables, labels, images, rich text controls, lines, shapes, navigation targets and navigation urls.
  • Preview designs in HTML