I am thinking about buying it, and want to hear about your experience, good or bad. Care to share?
We have it and enjoy it! Version 7 is a lot nicer than the previous version 5. We mostly use it for financial reporting. In my experience the executives like the see financial data in lots of different ways and have the ability to play with the data. So it can make turning around multiple styles of reports and making minor tweaks more efficient, as compared to going through the process of editing an SSRS report.
Wow that’s very helpful @jnbadger, thank you! Going off of your point, I told my boss he could format his weekly Stock Status report into the way he needs to see it in Excel, change the date field and other parameters, and use XL Connect to get current inventory amounts. His jaw hit the floor!
He told me that alone made it worth it, thinking also of the other 26 reports he works with. We’re buyin’; thanks again for your invaluable input!
Don’t know if you already decided to buy already but FastClose is an alternative - might want to evaluate that too.
Thanks for that @Evan_Purdy, I have a few friends who told me that too.
What advantage does XL Connect have over using an ODBC connection in Excel and getting the data that way?
I’ve not used an ODBC driver, but I would guess XL Connect is more user-friendly for non-technical folks. It provides an interface with built-in functions and queries. Like if you want to pull year-to-date balances, it’s basically a matter of selecting the YTD function and inserting it into a sheet. You don’t really have to understand databases to use it. For that reason our CFO and other finance folks are able to build reports without having to go through IT.
Just FYI, this could save you several hours of hassle:
I installed XL Connect. Didn’t connect and so called tech support. They had me uninstall and reinstall 4 different times over several days. Still no luck. We called in a local consultant who has installed it several times and he had the same issues. He called a guy who works at the company that writes XLConnect and spent 8 hours with him. Still no go.
I spent some time analyzing logs and realized XLConnect was not providing the full password. It didn’t like a special character I was using (not sure but I think it was a %) and was truncating the password so authentication always failed. So doing best practice of using a random password with special characters is apparently not supported. Epicor did not know this, local consultant did not know this, and XL Connect support did not know this. We spent a crazy amount of time and money to learn that simple fact.
So save yourself some time and avoid special characters! Had I done so the first install would have worked just fine.
There are pre-built XL Connect functions within Excel that can be drag and dropped to a cell. The pre-built functions reference Epicor tables and BO.
The learning curve is a lot lower… for a price.
In my opinion the biggest drawback to ODBC connections in Excel is the security of the data. While you might provide them with an initial query that they can run, anyone who knows SQL could type their own query into the DataConnection. This could allow them to look up data such as your salary if they know which table in Epicor to look at.
Chris, this is a good point but not relevant to XLConnect. Rights ARE managed in XLConnect.
That’s exactly my point. I was responding to “What advantage does XL Connect have over using an ODBC connection in Excel and getting the data that way?” 3rd party products can stop people from randomly querying your database.
Ah, that makes sense. Sorry for the misunderstanding. You make a good point.
No worries, the layout of this thread is a bit weird. My reply ended up both under the post I was replying to and in the main thread.
I hope you’re allowed a Mulligan …
SSR is a very complex report. I’d doubt that it would be at all easy for someone without query experience, to recreate.
Getting the QOH’s for a specific date isn’t too bad. But determining the cost on that date can be a nightmare (unless you use STD cost, and there’s been no change)
I think between my boss and I and a couple of guys from Meaden & Moore, we can hack it.
It’s not that hard on paper, but a pain as a query. And I’d guess a real pain in XLConnect.
QOH for a given date = Current QOH - Sum(Part transactions since that date)
What makes that hard to implement, is that TranQty is generally always a positive value. You have to determine the sign (whether to add or subtract the TranQty), based on the TranType. So first sum up the tran Qty’s since the date, grouped by TranType.
QOH(date) = QOH + Sum(PUR-STK) - Sum(STK-MTL) - SUM(STK-CUS) + Sum(MFG-STK) ....
Determining the cost on a historical date requires finding the last Tran with a TranDate <= the desired date, and use that cost. Take into account that some Trans use a cost difference for the Cost (particularly ADJ’s)
Thank you for the hand up with this! It’ll be fun to see where we’re able to take this thing.
A word of warning:
We have implemented XLConnect and it has been nothing but bother. The licensing is a total cluster… I’ve never struck such Bizantine licensing rules. Also setting up on workstations is a nightmare. We have had endless help trying to get it to run and if your user changes workstations you have to go through the whole process again. As far as I have been able to tell, there is nothing that XLC can do that standard ODBC cannot or even standard Epicor BAQs. Also it is as slow as a long cold winter, taking many minutes to update even quite basic data.
I would not recommend.