What do you like best?
We use Informer mainly as a reporting tool for Colleague by Ellucian which is a Unidata environment. Unidata does not lend itself to reporting friendliness. There is no way to join files together other than manual means. With Informer, we don't have to import files into a separate environment. The software connects to our live data. Once the file structure, not data, has been recognized by Informer, then we can join files together in Informer. So starting in one file and then selecting on data or using column data from other files is very simple. Without writing custom programs for each report, this functionality is just not available in Unidata.
We use Informer with our Unidata environment along with a small bit of SQL. Once the files and tables are set up in Informer they are completely environment agnostic. They all look and operate the same and can be used together.
What do you dislike?
There is definitely some learning to do before you become proficient in writing reports.
Recommendations to others considering the product
This has been a tremendous time saver for us. Not only decreasing the time for report development but also enabling users to create their own reports.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
We use Informer for ad hoc reporting. The one-and-done reports are usually quick to develop. We also use it for enterprise reporting that is used in summary or detailed form. One of my favorite features is the ability to schedule a report. I have users that want to see a fresh report at the same time every week or month or quarter. It is very easy to schedule the report to run and then email the results.
We also have situations where users don't need to see all the available data so Informer allows us to create limited views of the same files that might contain sensitive data. For example, we can report out of the HR module of our software without exposing compensation data to users that don't need to see that information.
As a university, we use the same software to report on enrollment, academics, alumni, fund raising, financial services, human resources, etc. Reports are developed and then it is very easy to share those with either individual users or with groups of users.