SAP Crystal Reports

SAP Crystal Reports is one of the biggest names in enterprise reporting. While by itself it isn’t usually considered business intelligence, it is often used as the front end report presentation tool, so its definitely worth discussing here.

Business Objects originally acquired the Crystal Solutions company in the early 2000, and then it was integrated in the full BI package in the late 2000s as part of SAP’s BI suite. Now, it’s included as one of the main tools under the Reporting & Analysis area, and has been renamed and labeled, often incorporating parts of xCelsius. However, it can be used to report against multiple data sources, not just SAP infrastructure and data.

Besides the main desktop and web versions, there are also versions for dashboards, interactive analysis, and enterprise level server distributions. The Dashboard Design edition is the old xCelsius Engage product, although different from the main xCelsius piece (which itself was recently renamed to BusinessObjects Dashboards!)

One popular use of this solution is embedded as part of another software package. It was especially popular as part of a VB or .net business application suite. Recent version of Visual Studio though, starting with 2010, do not come with this included so licensing has become a little bit of an issue in recent years.

One new addition recently has been the crystalreports.com website, for report distribution through the web. Its part of the BI OnDemand SaaS solution that SAP has created. It’s an SAP hosted solution for the files, where the users are provided URLs for the files directly. Interestingly, SAP has a free version available for this called the Starter Edition, although its limited in number of users, document sharing, and overall scheduling and security. However, it is not limited in time like a regular trial. The Professional edition is priced per user.

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