SAP Crystal Reports Review

Since we have Crystal Reports viewers available for our customers to use, they don't need to purchase the product, but can run the reports that we build for them.


What is most valuable?

I appreciate the ability to connect to just about any structured data source. This makes it very flexible. We can use it in any Windows-based technical environment, but now we specialize with reports for just one data source, QuickBooks via QQube. Since we have Crystal Reports viewers available for our customers to use, they don't need to purchase the product, but can run the reports that we build for them.

How has it helped my organization?

We use it as a tool to build custom designed reports that our customers can run at a single click against their own data. It's the foundation of our company's existence.

What needs improvement?

We would like to see a Crystal Reports desktop version with built-in functionality to edit a single reference that exists in multiple formulas. This would be a big time saver. We would also like to select multiple detail area fields and insert the same summary field for all of them instead of having to do it one at a time.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have used it for 20 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We haven't had deployment issue per se, as much as part of a greater stability worry.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's always been known to crash unexpectedly, so get in the habit of frequent saving. I never liked the auto-save feature, though because it ends up saving things I didn't intend to retain. Since version 2008 it's been much more stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have never encountered scalability issues.

How is customer service and technical support?

I never use it because those folks don't even know as much about it as I do. However, if I encounter a bug, I will go to the SAP SDN to check it out or to report it.

Which solutions did we use previously?

No other solution has been used. I've been working with it since I worked in Tech Support for Seagate Software when they owned and supported the application.

How was the initial setup?

It was simple and easy to install. The hard part was knowing/learning the structure of your data source and what you want to do with that data. Like any skill, it takes a long time to master. I have done incredible, innovative things with Crystal Reports, but only because I knew it so well and could synthesize breakthrough ideas on how to give the customer what they wanted.

What other advice do I have?

Hire experts for a fixed period of time while longer term employees shadow until they learn how to use it. Otherwise a new reporting endeavour will take too long. The end users need their reports.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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