Overall Satisfaction with Actuate
Actuate was being used with IBM Maximo to generate reports from our CMMS system. The reporting software served as our primary reporting tool and paper work order generation mechanism. Its availability and continuity were crucial to the maintenance and indirect procurement functions.
- The software can be tied to Actuate Basic which is much like MS Visual Basic and can provide an almost custom application feel to some reports.
- Actuate had field movement tools that allowed a user to line rows up and disperse them across a report based off the width. Comparative tools like Crystal did not provide these.
- The Actuate Server also gave easy access to review who had been running a report or reports via its web interface.
- The debug tool that came with the Actuate 8 developer was poorly written in my opinion; compiling a report could be very difficult when a number of functions were being called.
- There wasn't any reporting that could be run to download Actuate utilization statistics. Analytics had to be done by manually reviewing who had been running reports.
- At times when the Actuate Server would become overloaded the only solution was to restart it. There wasn't a way to clear up the list of pending report requests.
- Crystal Reports
Actuate has a HUGE number of features that can tie nicely into almost any ERP but it takes some time to learn and the development community was relatively small compared to the Crystal Reports alternative. Crystal was far easier to learn and had a massive support base. Probably because it is now owned by SAP.
I am no longer working for the company that was using Actuate but I believe they would continue to use it because the stitching costs would be to high. It would require a complete rewrite of the reports and the never version of Actuate (BIRT) even required an almost complete report rewrite.
Be sure to ask about pricing. If I remember correctly the pricing is by processor core, which can get VERY expensive in a large organization with multiple locations. I would say Actuate would be best suited for a medium/large sized organization with 1000-2500 employees with a dedicated team of software developers. If the organization needs someone who can get up and running quickly developing reports and where it is not the primary responsibility then I would recommend an alternative product like Crystal Reports.