Mifos currently (2.1.x - Feb 1 2012) comes with about five Birt reports installed. There is a mechanism within Mifos for uploading new Birt reports which ties into Mifos security. No new Birt reports are being developed as part of the core Mifos product.
Extra Mifos BI Platform Reporting - Pentaho Server/Pentaho Reporting
New core reports have been (about 35) and will be developed using Pentaho Reporting. Currently, all Mifos Pentaho reports run only via Pentaho Server. This means that Pentaho Server needs to be installed first. This is an "extra installation step". Mifos is not currently integrated with Mifos BI (you have to sign-on separately).
The benefit is that Pentaho is a Business Intelligence (BI) platform and can also provide ad-hoc reporting, slice-and-dice analysis, scheduling and distribution capability. However, there is no specific functionality set up in Mifos BI that takes advantage of these capabilities but they are available if the MFI or Systems Integrator want to use them.
Mifos Data Warehouse Thru Pentaho Data Integration (ETL)
Mifos BI optionally provides a data warehouse (although there are about 12 Pentaho reports that are dependent on it). This requires another "installation step" on top of the Pentaho Server install step.
Mifos uses the MySQL database. Any reporting tool or product can be used to access and report on Mifos data. For example, MS-Access, Birt, Jasper plus hundreds of others.
Summary of Feedback on Reporting
Most people would prefer most reports to be available though the Mifos application. The extra installation needs for Mifos BI (Pentaho Server) and the Mifos Data Warehouse are often seen as obstacles.
There are different 'sizes' of MFI. The large MFI's may invest more in 'mining' their data but smaller ones just need reports to work out-of-the-box.
MFI's want access to their data quickly and flexibly.
Mifos BI Reports attempt to cater for the typical MFI reports. However, reporting and analysis needs may vary greatly between MFIs.
There are quite a number of volunteers and systems integrators with a lot of experience in Mifos reporting and the tools that can be used. If an MFI needed some reporting or analysis, posting the need on the Mifos User's list will likely result in people to help with a solution. Some help may be cost-free (volunteers).