For centuries Man has stared at the sky wondering if we could ever reach MARS. Good news, MARS is closer than you think! In this case we aren’t talking about the Red Planet, this is all about M.A.R.S. (Microsoft Access Reports Scheduler). MS Access administrators often have dozens if not hundreds of reports to distribute. Normally they would have to run them manually in access, or combine some code, batch files, and Windows Task Scheduler in order to automate Access reports. With MARS, admins have a dedicated Access reports scheduler that can distribute reports to numerous users in numerous formats. There are several reasons why admins turn to MARS in search of a way to breathe new life into their reporting environments.

Many admins either do not have the skill or time to code their own scheduling system. Already MS Access admins spend most of their day writing Access reports, and maintaining various Access databases. Spending more time to develop and maintain an automated system would take up even more time. More over such a system will lack many of the features that a fully polished, dedicated scheduler possesses, such as Data Driven publications, and Event Triggers. In the end, why expend time effort and money on the DIY approach, when a perfectly good system can be picked right off the shelf?

The windows task scheduler is great for automating certain basic tasks, however it lacks power and flexibility. Sure you can use the windows task scheduler to clear out old temp files in a folder each week, but when admins need an enterprise wide Access report publisher, then a dedicated Microsoft Access reports scheduler is your best bet. With MARS, reports can be scheduled with greater flexibility; reports can run every 5 minutes, on strange intervals, or even based on user created calendars. When things go wrong, MARS has a detailed auditing and tracking system, alerting you when reports error, are blank, or fail. MARS can even retry failed reports until they work correctly.

Scalability without all headaches is possible with a dedicated scheduler. MARS can manage reports from multiple Access databases from a single interface. Moreover Access reports can be multithreaded to process more than one at the same time. Using MARS to run reports, removes the “locked database” problem as well. Multiple MARS machines can be organized into a server farm to increase your report computing power even further. If Access reports are just a part of a larger process, you can use MARS’ BPM functions to chain tasks (e.g. Check if data has changed –> Run a Macro –> Trigger Report –> Send notification).

By relying on a dedicated reports scheduler, report distribution is more reliable. If a report does fail, the system can auto-retry or notify admins when things go wrong. Moreover, the increased reporting flexibility will allow admins to better satisfy user needs. We may still be a long way from visiting Mars the planet, but when it comes to report automation, MARS is just a few clicks away!

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