SAP Crystal Reports Review

Highly flexible and customizable - usually a big plus but sometimes not

Valuable Features:

Great Flexibility - the limitations in how or what the report will look & feel is really limited by the developer. Formulas can be placed on virtually any field or level. Data can be conditionally suppressed, fonts changed, splashes of color added all dependent on the data provided.Data sources options - whether you're connecting via DB2, MySQL, MS SQL, Oracle, a WebService, or any other number of connection types - there are tons of inherent connections to the tool. Configuring a connection is done easily with a wizard, and changing the connection (say during an upgrade of the source system or a server change) can be done very easily as well while retaining the report fields.Sub-Reports - many times a complex report may report on many different aspects of the data, tethering tying together lots of different data together into a nice little report. Using sub-reports allows the different reports and their SQL to be compartmentalized, while still allowing the reports fields and the variables to be shared between the main report and the sub-report(s).Formulas - Once you get the hang of the formulas in Crystal Reports, they are very powerful. Different flags and indicators can be constructed, suppression based on the formula fields, or formula fields based on other formula fields in conjunction with the source data. Creative formula construction is just one of the many tools in Crystal Reports that allows this tool to be so flexible and robust.

Room for Improvement:

All the options - These same options that allow Crystal Reports to be so customizable and really achieve the report your customers desire can be a burden. If you have "inherited" an existing report, there are a number of different ways that the "Look and Feel" of the report may have been achieved - and sometimes figuring out how something was done in Crystal Reports can be like solving a Hardy Boys mystery!Syntax constructs - the syntax used in Crystal Reports (formulas) is slightly different than most other languages, using a combination of curly brackets and pipes with some traditional syntax. When constructed incorrectly, there isn't much assistance in what steps you need to take to correct your formula - only something telling you it is wrong!
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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author avatarit_user4401 (Developer at a transportation company with 1,001-5,000 employees)

When I used SAP BO Crystal Reports, I noticed that it has the following pros: it has easily consumable reports which enable business users to make decisions quickly and instantly, it has securely disseminate information across the organization and the user can get a complete view of the business by accessing data spread across disparate sources.

author avatarit_user1068 (Tech Support Staff at a tech company with 1,001-5,000 employees)

Ease of customization and flexibility of SAP Business Objects make it very appealing. Formulas, sub-reports as well as various options for data sources for this BI product.

author avatarit_user6606 (BI Expert at a energy/utilities company with 501-1,000 employees)
Top ReviewerVendor

Both Pros are very true. I really like how many different options there are. These options are fantastic to get the specific data that a customer is after. There are instances where a SQL command may not be able to completely get the data desired, but there are so many other ways to dive further into the data through report queries, formulas, and creative supression techniques that eventually you can get a report that is very specific and provides customers the data they want. The downside is - for a developer that is new or inherrits some monsterous reports, sometimes it involves peeling back multiple layers to truly discover how the report is rendered.