Slicing and dicing complex data grows in importance with each year that we computerize more and more of our business processes.Unless we can grab the data from these processes and display it so that we can quickly and easily get a grasp of how we're doing, the ability to exercise control and optimize our business is limited to traditional ways and means. And as computerization proceeds, not being on top of our data effectively makes us slip behind competitively.This is where tools such as JReport from Jinfonet Software (see editorial links below) can give you a serious jump on building an information-reporting infrastructure.JReport is a Java-based reporting product with a rich set of APIs that allows embedding in any application. JReport can access any data source and is designed to be easily integrated and configured with applications and security systems. And, of course, as I'm discussing the product here in the Network World Web Applications newsletter, you might guess that the product relies heavily on browser interfaces for report design and retrieval.Using both JDBC and ODBC database drivers, the JReport Designer is used to specify the source data and the format of output reports.You can create tables, crosstabs, sub-reports, charts and graphs and there are built-in report templates that you can customize, or you can create new templates. There are multiple output format options including HTML, DHTML, XML, PDF, Excel and e-mail. Reports layouts designed in Crystal Reports can also be imported.Once designed reports are loaded onto the JReport Enterprise Server for processing and scheduling. When retrieved, users can dynamically modify report views where allowed using drag and drop, sorting, grouping and drill down, up, and across capabilities through the browser interface using the JReport Analysis tool.The JReport Enterprise Server is J2EE based and supports Java Servlets, Java Server Pages, Enterprise Java Beans, and XML. Any data source, including user-defined sources, can be specified.Check out the reports samples. This is a serious reporting tool.Jinfonet offers JReport starter packages that start around $15,000 (10 concurrent users, one CPU, one JReport Designer).