[reportlab-users] ReportLab and databases

Andy Robinson reportlab-users@reportlab.com
Wed, 11 Sep 2002 10:26:22 +0100

> Lots of pros and cons with the comparison but when it comes down to
> buying a solution that does DB and reporting, $3k US is not even in the
> ball park.

I feel I need to respond to this and explain a little
about our strategy.  In brief, look at our product datasheets
and the info on "Enterprise Reporting Solutions" to get a
flavour for "who we are/want to be".

If you want to do database reports, lay out reports
visually, and drive a printer, then go buy Crystal
or one of a dozen competitors.  That is absolutely not
our game.  Those things are now commodity products.
(Incidentally Crystal sells numerous server side
products for much higher prices).

We want to sell on value.  I would like to go into a large
fund manager or financial firm, persuade them that dynamic
PDF can make a real difference to their business processes
and save/earn them millions, then put together a solution
for six figure sums.  To this end, our "solution suite"
normally costs $10-20,000 per engagement and includes
software, setup assistance and some get-you-started consulting.  
We'd never sell this off the shelf; people in large companies
discuss a problem, we talk, we visit, we maybe do proof of
concept exercises, and then a proposal is generated.
You can't spend time pre-sales when your best hope
is a $500 sale. In fact if we were bigger and had a professional
sales force I'd be looking to charge six figure sums :-)

We decided that for people who want to roll their own solution and 
just buy a PDF component, we'd "break out" something from that.
If you are running some kind of dynamic web site which needs
to generate a high volume of personalized PDF documents 
on demand, then we think we've got an extremely
effective solution at a ridiculously low price.  Look
at the "server" options for many of the products on
pdfzone.com.    Remember that you are not allowed to
use Distiller "unattended" and that Distiller in server
mode costs $30,000.

By contrast, "Developer components" sold to VB and Delphi 
developers for inclusion in GUIs frequently cost $50-500
and are sold per developer seat.  If the target is servers 
(there are quite a few chart or report server components)
then I think our price is fairly typical.  Look at pdfzone.com.  

In summary, one day I hope to offer 3 ranges:

A "Enterprise Range" - we come in and solve a problem or
  get your company started with a new capability for 
  five figure sums

B "Developer Range" for people building their own solutions.
 Server components for a few thousand
  dollars, and I hope one day some "report studio" 
  sold per developer seat for a few hundred with GUIs to
  assist in design.  These need to be self-explanatory,
  with eval downloads that work out of the box and bindings
  so Java or VB developers can use them.  We know we have
  a way to go on this.

C "Free Stuff" - being nice folk, we let you have most of it 
   for free IF you are prepared to do it in Python and do
   a little work.  We hope to get new features, robustness and 
   sales leads out of this.

Nothing magical or unusual (except for C) and I hope this
is easier to understand.

Andy Robinson