Wow! The memories your post bring back. Our finance department had to go head to head with our (former) IT director to convince our IT vice president to simply let us keep and use the copies of Monarch that our department had individually purchased. The IT director thought we were engaging in turf warfare with him and tried to block us at every turn.
The oversimplified difference between Monarch and Crystal Reports is that Monarch will transform reports into data, while Crystal Reports will transform data into (flexibly formatted) reports. Crystal Reports generally asks you to start from an already existing database (Access, Paradox, Approach, Fox Pro, etc.). A clarification - - both products (from Monarch 6 Pro onward) have high-level capabilities to import directly from ODBC data sources, but this is precisely what many IT people do not wish to happen. Be sure to read the Report Mining White Paper (see Literature in the next paragraph) and show it to your VP. SQL access and query of IT data can slow down or stall the entire system. I have used both programs and have a couple of suggestions for you.
First of all, get a copy of each product’s benefits and features listings from their respective websites. You can find several feature listings and explanations for Monarch 6 on the [url="http://www.monarch.datawatch.com"]www.monarch.datawatch.com[/url] website. Look both under Literature and under Monarch for Accounting and Auditing. The same feature listings for Crystal Reports 9 can be found at the [url="http://www.crystaldecisions.com/products/crystalreports/default.asp"]www.crystaldecisions.com/products/crystalreports/default.asp[/url] website.
Secondly, make sure that your VP actually reads your copies of these items and can ask you questions. Our IT director tried to be a gatekeeper and shield our IT VP from “unwanted” information. Also, be sure you can explain clearly that Monarch is “read-only” and can never be used to alter, change, or delete any source data. We had to overcome this objection repeatedly.
Let me know your progress, through private messaging or through direct e-mail. Our entire finance department turned into skilled salespeople during this ordeal. In fact, this very topic will be the subject of one of the talks I will be giving at the Datawatch Conference in Las Vegas in May, namely, "Guerilla Infiltration of Monarch Into Large Corporate Usage. How To Get Monarch Into a Company When You Have No Stature, No Authority, No Support, No Influence - - And No Budget."
[size="1"][ January 31, 2003, 09:17 PM: Message edited by: Tom Whiteside ][/size]
I agree with what Tom said. I use Monarch and Crystal daily. There is quite a bit of difference between the two programs. The debate that you are having reminds me of the debate that I had with my boss about Microsoft Access a few years ago. She asked, "We have Excel, why do we need Access?" I had to explain the difference between the two in great detail before I finally got her to she the light.
Here are some things to remember when making your argument.
1. Crystal and Monarch are not competing products. In fact, I use Crystal and Monarch together. We use Crystal to pull out account detail from ledger to a text file, and then use Monarch to analyze that file and send the results to Excel. We could use Crystal to produce the Excel file, but there are disadvantages to doing this that are overcome with Monarch.
2. The output generated is totally different. Crystal produces "printer-ready" output, while the output of Monarch is almost always used as input to another application.
That is all I can think of, at the moment. If you need additional ammunition in your fight, let me know.