QGIS is cost effective since it is open source, but we also consider it has other important advantages. Many powerful third party components can be easily integrated in QGIS, for example R-Stats. Software may be distributed without concern as to licenses, which also allows the use of GRID computing for large processes. Most importantly of all, the algorithms behind each spatial analysis are available for inspection and can be adjusted if they do not quite suit the task at hand.
ESRI ArcGIS has many advantages also. ArcToolbox and ArcObjects provide access to a huge range of analytical functions, while ArcMap and ArcScene provide high quality visualisations. This makes development faster, so if you have the licenses this may be the more efficient option.
Between them, these GIS packages provide a powerful range of data visualisation options. For more sophisticated landscape visualisations we are also experienced with Virtual Nature Studio.
Databases and Statistical Packages
We have extensive experience of development in Microsoft Access, which is ideal for smaller databases (up to a few million records) and ESRI Personal Geo-Database standard. For larger databases requiring a server architecture, we can develop open source solutions such as PostGIS.
Our preferred statistical packages are SPSS or R-Stats, but we have used others in the past such as Minitab or GenStat.
Publishing and Presentation
We are familiar with all of the Microsoft Office packages, and all of the GIS and Statistical software mentioned can be integrated with these to provide results in a familiar format. We have some experience with Crystal Reports for ArcGIS.
Programming Languages and Development Environments
ESRI ArcObjects, ESRI Avenue, Visual Basic for Applications, VB.Net, Python, Java, Borland Delphi, SQL, HTML.
Visual Studio 2010, MS Access, MS Excel, ESRI ArcMap, ESRI ArcView, Q-GIS (Eclipse).