Mercury vs Competition

You’re probably wondering how Mercury differs from other analytics and reporting tools. The short answer is that Mercury is an easy and versatile tool for both analytics and reporting – and it works well with other BI systems when you need formal, formatted reports and graphs.

Mercury vs Excel

Excel is a fantastic program. It slices and dices and pivots and creates great charts, but it also causes a lot of frustration for business users. People often find themselves with a growing pile of Excel documents to manage. Keeping track of locations, access, permissions, and versions, while maintaining accurate formulas and data, over time becomes a near impossible task. 

Managing and sharing reports

For corporate reporting and analysis Mercury is simpler and easier to use. All reports are kept in a single place. Everything is automatically shareable and controllable at the same time.  Users can search, sort, filter, etc. to find the report they need.

For any report, different users can create their own “favorite reports” independently and simultaneously – and share them as needed. This doesn’t change the original list of available reports – a favorite is just a variation. With Excel, you’d have to save a new workbook (adding to the pile) or perhaps add a new worksheet-tab, which can be hard to find when you need it.

Using direct source data

Although it’s possible for Excel to connect directly to databases and retrieve data, that doesn’t alleviate the above problems. And if the queries are going to be developed by IT professionals / DBA(s), they almost always prefer to work in a database-oriented environment, with full-featured query tools.

Regardless of the database-connectivity features of newer versions of Excel, many (many many) shops still do reporting and analysis separately. They run a report, export the data to a file, open the data in Excel, and do analysis. Then they must do it all over again if something changes.

  • Forget a field on the original report?  Do it all again! 
  • Tomorrow there’s more data available?  Do it again! 
  • Forgot to copy the Excel formulas to the newer rows? Oops!

When you want to create a fancy chart, you can still bring your Mercury data into Excel. The magic of Mercury is in its simplicity. It’s mediocre at charting (and at fancy presentations in general). But analyzing your data to figure out what those charts should show in the first place? Mercury!

Mercury vs Crystal

Crystal reports is another popular reporting tool. It creates beautiful presentation-worthy reports, but to get those reports, you’ll likely spend a lot of time tweaking the exact report layout. And because each report layout (definition) is a separate document, Crystal reports can also start to pile up and be hard to find and manage. Plus, there’s no way to do an in-place analysis of the data. With Mercury, reporting and analysis are integrated.

Because Mercury is an all-in-one reporting and analysis tool, you don’t have to keep exporting and importing data. You can save and share your analyses with other Mercury users. And when you need a beautiful report for a presentation, no problem. Mercury allows you to use Crystal Reports, while still taking advantage of Mercury’s friendly parameter entry, including single and multi-select lookups.

Mercury vs SSRS

SSRS is another popular Microsoft reporting platform, with great reports and limited interactive analysis features. Just like Crystal, SSRS can require a lot of micro-management to get the results to come out just right and has some of the same limitations of finding the right report. And if you’ve spent time and effort investing in SSRS reports and you want to keep using them, you can. Mercury works well with SSRS.

Mercury vs other ERP business analytics tools

The market is filled with beautiful and powerful analytics and reporting tools. Many high-end corporate management systems provide all kinds of stats and visuals, plus even predictive analytics and AI. These tools are sophisticated, which also means more complicated and more expensive. We don’t see these tools as competitors as much as serving a different audience with a different need. It’s the difference between using a screwdriver and an industrial-grade drill. Mercury gets the job done, simply and effectively. Owning a drill doesn’t change the fact that everyone needs a screwdriver.   

The same principle applies to many of the common Microsoft Dynamics analysis tools like SmartLists, Management Reporter, FRX, etc. They can be overly complicated and cumbersome when you’re just trying to get an answer quickly.

Many of our clients have more than one tool in their analytics toolbelt. Mercury is a favorite because it can be used to analyze almost anything. Accounting / Dynamics GP?  Fine.  Business Central?  Yep.  Manufacturing?  Great.  Wildlife populations?  Go for it.