By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2004-10-04 Print this article Print

Inquisite 6.5 is the answer for organizations looking to roll out large-scale surveys.

New management features in Inquisite 6.5 increase survey authors control over the delivery of surveys and the way respondents are invited to participate—an especially important consideration when tens of thousands of survey participants are involved. The result is a well-integrated Web survey solution that takes the guesswork out of culling feedback from large groups.

Organizations will pay relatively dearly, however, for Inquisite 6.5s functionality. A single-user license costs $6,000; corporate licenses start at $45,000, with pricing based on the number of users, installation options and add-on modules. Inquisite 6.5 server software supports Microsoft Corp.s Windows NT Server 4.0 and higher; the desktop Survey Builder software supports Windows 98 and higher.

Enabling users to easily create complex surveys has always been one of Inquisites strong points, and Inquisite 6.5 does not disappoint in this area.

The most significant addition to this release is the Import Wizard, which allowed us to import data into surveys from an external CSV (comma-separated value) or text file and map it to our survey content. In tests, the Import Wizard enabled us to prefill surveys with pertinent data, such as a survey takers name and address. This should help assuage survey takers frustration with having to repeatedly provide personal information.

Particularly handy is the option to save surveys as rich-text documents. This let us distribute surveys via e-mail for viewing in Microsoft Word or any other word processing program. We also liked a feature that let us print out a survey and review it before distributing it online. Having a printed version of the survey also allows answers to be collected from respondents who cannot be reached online.

With Version 6.5, Inquisite extends its randomization features by allowing survey administrators to randomize the order of questions in a table for each respondent. Like its competitors, Inquisite also supports advanced survey options such as multiquestion tables, data piping and data validation.

Other welcome additions include an e-mail opt-out capability for survey respondents and the ability to customize e-mail invitations with a full-featured HTML editor.

Inquisite 6.5 adds Response Editor, a Web-based database editor that lets survey administrators manage data for a survey after responses have been submitted. (Inquisite supports Microsofts SQL Server 7.0 and 2000 and Oracle Corp.s Oracle8i and Oracle9i.)

Although Inquisite provides a slew of new features, organizations will not be able to use the product to extend surveys beyond the Web (except for its ability to print surveys).

In contrast, Raosofts EZSurvey has the ability to support Palm OS- and Pocket PC-based devices. And Perseus SurveySolutions takes it a couple of steps further than EZSurvey with support for telephone and mail input.

Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at anne_chen@ziffdavis.com.

Check out eWEEK.coms Enterprise Applications Center at http://enterpriseapps.eweek.com for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.

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As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

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