What do you like best?
Ability to link all types of reports under one 'hood'.
Ability to use Groovy to extend functionality (haven't tested this yet though)
I looked at uisng Report Server, Birt F-type hub, or JasperReports server. I ended up choosing Report Server as it was the only one that would enable to both use the BIRT reports I had already designed and working, allow me to extend to use various other reports (like Jasper), allow dynamic lists, and give a dashboard. To be fair, it looks and feels a lot like the Birt F-type, but without all the restrictions.
Getting the Report Server to use BIRT reports, my MySQL server, etc., was a breeze. It was literally only a matter of loading up the reports and they ran the same they did in Tomcat7, but perhaps a bit slower, which wasn't a problem for me. Using sql statement was also easy, just be sure not to include the ; at the end of your statement as this causes an error for some reason. Took me a little while to figure that out. Also, best not to include spaces in alias names, again, another bit of time to resolve that--with the help of the forum.
What do you dislike?
The bitnami installer didn't work on my RHEL 5 host--it was unable to find the mysql server for some unknown reason, so I had to do a manual installation. The guide to this is actually pretty good. I already had Tomcat7 and a MySQL database installed and working to serve up BIRT reports, so those steps were already completed.
I had a few issues configuring the JVM settings using setenv.sh for report server, but once that was resolved Report Server loaded up. There were also a few tricks like having to set the crypto keys in both the reportserver.properties file (as it states in the guide)...but then also ensuring you do it in the crypto file once report server is running as well, which meant I had to reinstall once.
Overall, setup probably took me a day...but the reinstall only took about 30 minutes once everything to get it working correctly was in place.
Report Server gives incredible ability to manage permissions, but this comes at a cost, you have to set them all up, and ensure they work the way you expect. Oddly, this part took me the longest to figure out. In the end, the best way I found was to create a folder, like 'Staff', add users to that folder, and then set all the permissions using the 'Staff' folder. Otherwise, you will be setting permissions forever if you have more than 10 users. :)
Recommendations to others considering the product
Report Serve is an amazing BI tool which you should definitely consider before splashing out 1000s of dollar/pounds on other well known tools (Iike Actuate or Jasper) wi
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
In summary, excellent opensource BI software. It has a few odd nuances for how things work and finding out how to fix issues can be a bit hit and miss, but it is worth the time.
Solved the problem of having BI reports available to staff when they need them, in a friendly user interface, where users could also find some of their own information out using the dynamic list functionality.
I'm using the system in a research based environment in a university. I say the number of employees likely to use it is 11-50, but the company size, not just our department, is 1000+ employees.