While it makes sense for most organizations to go with a product that will take the guesswork out of survey building, there are some enterprises that are looking for pure functionality. For those organizations, we recommend Raosofts EZSurvey 2004 Professional for the Internet Service Release 1. EZSurvey provides no frills in the way of a fancy user interface, but its packed with new features, including increased security and the ability to extend surveys to mobile platforms such as laptops and the Pocket PC. And, at a price of $1,500 for an unlimited stand-alone or server license, EZSurvey 2004 is very competitively priced. (Each network license for concurrent usage is an additional $750.)Our tests show that its not difficult to build surveys with EZSurvey 2004once you get the hang of it. The product is not all that intuitive, so organizations with users who are not tech-savvy may want to stick with products that offer more handholding, such as the SurveySolutions products from Perseus. Click here to see how EZSurvey compares with Inquisite 6.5. One thing that bugs us a little is that Raosoft requires the purchase of a reporting package called EZReport 2004. Its not that the package isnt valuableEZReport has statistical features that enabled us to slice and dice data, and, in fact, it offered some of the best functionality in this area of all the products we tested. And its not like the products $299 will break the bank. But we cant help but wonder why Raosoft didnt just include reporting features within EZSurvey and raise the price a little, instead of requiring this separate purchase. In any case, we were pleased to see increased security in EZSurvey 2004. SQL commands are now hard-coded into an XML file on the Web server to make them less vulnerable to data attacks. In addition, two 32-bit log-in passwords and a 32-bit unique session ID also are automatically generated to prevent hackers from guessing access codes and to ensure customer data is secure. We particularly liked that organizations can modify EZSurvey to suit their needs. For example, users of the product can modify templates, menu commands and CGI (Common Gateway Interface) code. EZSurvey also can be extended via Ecma International script. Like Perseus SurveySolutions, EZSurvey 2004 extends mobile survey support. Multiple surveys can now be published to a single Pocket PC device. In addition, we were able to publish a form running on the Raosoft Personal Web Serverwhich is included with the softwareto a laptop. This allowed us to gather data and survey responses while on the road. Organizations will need to purchase individual modules to conduct anything outside e-mail and Web surveys, but this allows for a pay-as-you-go (and as your survey needs evolve) paradigm. The EZSurvey Portable module for Palm and Windows CE devices starts at $50 per device; EZSurvey SMS, which surveys cell phone users, starts at $1,000 for 1,000 survey messages a month sent to 100 phone numbers. Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out eWEEK.coms Enterprise Applications Center at http://enterpriseapps.eweek.com for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
The EZSurvey 2004 update runs on Windows 2000 and higher. The software is compatible with any Web server, including Microsofts IIS (Internet Information Services) and Apache. It also supports Microsofts SQL Server and Access, as well as Oracle, IBM DB2 and Sybase databases.