SAP Crystal Reports Overview

SAP Crystal Reports is the #9 ranked solution in our list of top Reporting Tools. It is most often compared to Microsoft BI: SAP Crystal Reports vs Microsoft BI

What is SAP Crystal Reports?

Turn information from almost any data source into a sophisticated, interactive report with SAP Crystal Reports. This powerful, user-friendly application for small businesses and departments can help you deliver key insights to the right decision maker, at the right time, in the right format. 

Click here for a free trial

Buyer's Guide

Download the Reporting Tools Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: May 2021

SAP Crystal Reports Customers

City of Buenos Aires, ASR Group, Citrix, EarlySense, Usha International Limited, Automotive Resources International (ARI), LivePerson, Coelba (Grupo Neoenergia), RZD Russian Railways, National Basketball Association - NBA, TALLY WEiJL, El Machetazo, Young Heroes, Mozzart, Mitsui Knowledge Industry (MKI) , Surgutneftegas Open Joint Stock Company, The VELUX Group, AOK Bundesverband, AL-KO KOBER GROUP

SAP Crystal Reports Video

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JB
Director of Business Intelligence, Allstate Investments at The Allstate Corporation
Real User
It's extremely customizable, but its charting capabilities are incomplete relative to competitors

What is our primary use case?

Tabular reporting, primarily just data and tables, no charts Specific highlighting/formatting.

How has it helped my organization?

I've used it for a long time, and familiarity with the product allows for faster delivery.

What is most valuable?

Pixel-perfect formatting It's extremely customizable.

What needs improvement?

Charting capabilities are incomplete relative to competitors.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Software Engineer at a tech services company
Consultant
You can get past any challenge fairly easily
What do you like best? It has been around long enough that any challenges you encounter can easily be found with a Google search. For the same reason (i.e., it has been around for a while), you can also find email automation software that works with Crystal to automate reports. I am satisfied with all the emailing options. What do you dislike? Long, complex, crosstab reports, which are nearly impossible! I have to think up crafty ways to enter the SQL, so I can get the data to appear. For the sake of data integrity, the base of all reports should be the raw data that the report pulls from, then do the counting, summing, etc. with that raw data. With Crystal, it is nearly impossible to work with the raw, row-by-row data. Recommendations to others considering the product Crystal is…
Find out what your peers are saying about SAP, TIBCO, Microsoft and others in Reporting Tools. Updated: May 2021.
479,894 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Business Integration Manager at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
End users and non-technical users can learn the product with ease. We would like the ability to change reports en masse in case of backend changes.

What other advice do I have?

This is a good product with good visuals.
Crystal Reports Developer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
For the basics, the product is easy to learn.

What other advice do I have?

The product is easy to learn for the basics. However, some features are difficult to learn and use (e.g., cross-tab tables). Documentation is minimal. The product makes assumptions with table/view/stored procedure links, which can create unpredictable results. The option settings (especially font settings) are global. I work with many customers who use different fonts and sizes. It is annoying to have to reset the option settings based on which client report I’m working. The page footer reserves space; if you use a page footer on only the first page, it wastes real estate on subsequent pages.
Consultant Commercial & ShipConnect / VRS at a computer software company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
I develop reports for customers, for an ERP system that collects a lot of data, but has very few standard reports

What other advice do I have?

It does what it does have to do, but seems development has stuck for several years now. Many things are not possible either. Complex queries are impossible, you need to make SQL statements. Sub report in a sub report is impossible.
Manager, Development at a computer software company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It allows the organization to share information/data with their customers. I feel an improvement would be allowing users to change the font on translated fields.

What other advice do I have?

The only advice I can give is to just make sure that you are very familiar with the products and the services that they offer. Ensure there is someone involved who is familiar with the product and its features for the implementation of the SAP Business Objects Enterprise Software solution.
Senior Reports Programmer at a university with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
End users can produce there own reports.

What other advice do I have?

In general, Crystal Reports 2008 is a very robust reporting tool. It is definitely geared toward the professional user. There is a learning curve and I would definitely take a class to learn all the functionalities.
Sr BOBJ/HANA Consultant at a manufacturing company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Distribution of reports has been improved.

What is most valuable?

Native connection, Subreports, pixel free formatting, free hand SQL, multiple sources, supports most databases

How has it helped my organization?

Distribution of reports has been improved.

What needs improvement?

Adhoc and tabbed reporting should be added to the next release.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for 14 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

There were no issues with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It crashes the designer when the tool with no clear error messages. Working with LOV and Business Views are challenging when migrating environments.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's been able to scale for our needs.

How

Programador C#, MVC, Entity Framework, Crystal Reports, ORACLE at a transportation company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
We have a tool to generate all reports for all internal customers.
Senior Developer at a retailer with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Ease of extracting data from various sources and displaying in such a way that user can’t tell the difference is nice. I would like to see a mobile and iOS friendly version.

What is most valuable?

Ease of extracting data from various sources and displaying in such a way that user can’t tell the difference.

How has it helped my organization?

Largely used by stores manages and senior management to view / analyze sales metrics.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see a mobile and iOS friendly version.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used Crystal Reports for approximately 15 years, and in my current company for eight years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

There some issues with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had minor issues with its stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's been difficult to scale for our needs.

How is

Senior Programmer - DB Mgt & Crystal Reports at a computer software company with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Versatility between platforms is a nice feature.

What is most valuable?

Versatility between platforms.

How has it helped my organization?

It is a pillar of our product to provide embedded reports so I would say it has been an essential part of our system.

What needs improvement?

They need to offer better support to clients and have a better knowledge base.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for 12 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

There were no issues with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We've experienced no issues with performance.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's been able to scale for our needs.

How is customer service and technical support?

Terrible, if it wasn’t for the Google community…
Team Lead - Report Development at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
It can be learned by a power user to satisfy their analytical needs without IT support.

What other advice do I have?

It was very good, but now the competition is overtaking, and SAP seems to use it as a cash cow.
IT Senior Programmer Analyst at a transportation company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
We can to get a much more accurate picture of where we are and how to get where we want to be.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you have at least one person (preferable two), who know how to use the product before implementing it corporate wide. The problem at my company is there are 100 licenses out there and we have only 1 person who is an SME (Subject Matter Expert): Me. Everyone else uses it, but they have not had any real training or don’t use it full time.
Microsoft Nokia Service Manager at a comms service provider with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
It is easy to use and it connects to the major databases.

What is most valuable?

It is easy to use and it connects to the major databases.

How has it helped my organization?

It provides trusted business information for decisions and operations management.

What needs improvement?

The sales, operations, and IT areas could use improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Crystal Reports for 20 years, since 1997.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I have had no major issues with deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have had no issues with the stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This is a simple but powerful reporting tool. I don’t have scalability issues for more than 100 users.

How are customer service and technical

Principal System Developer at a government with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20Leaderboard
We like the performance, drill-down reporting functionality, and the report wizard.

What other advice do I have?

Study your requirements carefully, map them into this product, and if you think it fulfills the requirements, you should go for it.
Founder & CEO at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
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 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.
Senior Application Analyst at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
I like the ability to connect to most databases and the customization options.

What other advice do I have?

If your company has a reporting need which almost all do, then I would highly recommend Crystal Reports. I use the product so much in the past 15 years that I ended up becoming a CRCP as well.
Corporate Trainer/Consultant at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
It contains a relational database that allows you to join tables from different tables in the same report.

What other advice do I have?

It's a great product that works with many data sources. I highly recommend it.
Senior Manager at a tech company with 1,001-5,000 employees
MSP
It can either be integrated into an application using either the .NET or Java SDK, or reports can be published to Crystal Reports Server.

What other advice do I have?

The tool can be incredibly powerful and flexible for generating reports. However, there is a somewhat steep learning curve to get beyond writing “basic” reports.
Programmer / Reports Designer at a printing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
The reports can be viewed within our custom software product using the CR Viewer and can additionally be exported to various formats.

What other advice do I have?

It is an excellent product. Having used other report writers, the only one that comes close is the one in MS Access but that is not a stand-alone product and can only be used with MS Access. Crystal Reports has a great deal of flexibility in how you display your company data. The designer has the ability to create formulas or conditions for almost every feature of the report including suppression and formatting.
Consultant on Health Care Reporting and Analytics at a tech company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
In my experience, the strongest feature of Crystal Reports is in developing automated business intelligence reports which convert raw data into actionable business intelligence.

What other advice do I have?

I found Crystal Reports to address the issue of data integration, and hence utilized Crystal Reports 2013. Crystal Reports is an excellent dedicated reporting tool, and I invested time into advanced training. I would say Crystal Reports is great tool, and has been in the business intelligence arena for a while. Hence, it's an excellent choice.
Database Expert at a financial services firm with 51-200 employees
Vendor
It has a feature-rich toolset that allows me to shape and present the data to suit any report requirement.

What other advice do I have?

Buy it! I’ve seen the alternatives and they pale in comparison. There are third-party add-ins that have helped, but nothing else comes close out-of-the-box.
Database Administrator/Application Manager at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Users at our company have learned to write their own reports.

What other advice do I have?

* Document views or report models to make it easy for users to choose their data sources. * Point novice users to the crosstab report. It is fairly easy to use. * For moderate to heavy users, you should send them for training. * Users with programming or scripting skills can create really complex reports. * Saberlogic Logicity provides free Crystal Viewer software. Users who only need to run reports can use this free of charge, so you can save license costs.
Manager Data Sciences at a tech company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Vendor
The SQL and report scheduling in version 2008 and the XLSX workbooks in version 2013 are the features I consider most valuable.

What other advice do I have?

It's the most reasonable solution available. If you are looking for a SQL-only product, then this one is not it – go look at SQL Analyzer, or Squirrel. If you want a full package of collecting, analyzing and presenting, then this is the package for you. However, you do need to have a programming angle to really understand the capabilities and power.
Senior Business Intelligence Tools Administrator at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
It's made data more accessible to our end users in a couple of ways.

What other advice do I have?

Test your installation prior to upgrading to a production environment.
AVP at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
We can extend it to complicated reports with interactive charts and enhance the understanding of business models.

What other advice do I have?

Analyze it first as to whether it is a good fit for your needs. There are other good products available for analytical needs, which Crystal Reports doesn't yet provide.
Manager of Architecture/Design at a government with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
It's easy to use and it provides good connectivity to various databases. The visualization needs work as the look is not very appealing.
Director at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
Real User
The ability to set parameters, especially the cascading parameters, is the most valuable features for us.

What other advice do I have?

Crystal Reports is a great little reporting tool for a myriad of data sources that provides the user a nice user-friendly GUI, which means that your report creation can be achieved quickly.
Developer at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
We're able to select and format multiple data fields and labels, which is valuable because there are times when a group of fields needs a smaller font or to be moved together across the page.
Town Clerk's Office: General IT, Crystal Reports, Laserfiche Admin, Granicus Admin at a local government with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Creating SQL code to copy is one of my favorite uses.

What other advice do I have?

I can't live without it. I wish it could do a few more things, such as better hyperlink functionality. I have an older version, so I have no idea if a newer version has the features I would wish for. It is quite a bit to take in at once. Just start with something that is meaningful to you.
Manager - Healh IT Systems, HIPAA and Compliance - Meaningful Use Analyst at a healthcare company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Report Wizards and Sample Reports are very useful for us. I wish there were more reports to choose from as they make it easier to create a quick report.
Data Analytics and Integration at a wellness & fitness company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
The ability to organize the display and fields as we like, are the key elements for us. The graphic displays component is the least intuitive of all the features.

What other advice do I have?

Lean on the vendor for the initial implementation and follow their steps to ensure independence down the road.
Data Analyst at a healthcare company with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Great product that can be used out of the box, however it's always good to invest in training.

What other advice do I have?

It's a great product that can be used out of the box, however it's always good to invest in training.
Senior Data Analyst at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
The ability to create reports via the GUI is a valuable feature

What other advice do I have?

There are many suggestions but the first would be to develop a template of how you would like your reports to look. Consistent layout helps users focus on the data rather than figuring out how to view a report, e.g., this report shows drill down links blue and underlined like the Web, but the other shows them in boxes with a note at the top that you can click on boxed items for more info.
Crystal Reports Developer / DBA at a non-profit with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Creating custom reports is easy but you can't retain parameter lists when upgrading

What other advice do I have?

I don't really have any advice since we didn't test any other reporting software. I like Crystal Reports. I think it's very easy to use and there are numerous forums I can look to when I need help.
IT Specialist - Crystal Reports / SQL Server at a construction company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
​The graphing portion of Crystal Reports is still lacking but despite this you can present consistent formatted reports

What other advice do I have?

You should fully understand your business needs and work to integrate all of the applicable programs available as part of the Business Objects suite. It can be a complicated process with all of the available tools.
Senior Reporting Consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Third party add-on needed for maps and gauges but straightforward setup

What is most valuable?

Pixel perfect static reporting.

What needs improvement?

Bought and sold many times and newer product releases do not seem to offer much improvement. Maps and gauges are pretty much worthless and you need to buy a third party add-on.

For how long have I used the solution?

17 years

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

None encountered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Early versions use to be very prone to crashing. Much better in the 2013 version

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

None encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service: You try not to contact SAP, just Google search for answers to your problems. Technical Support: You try not to contact…
BI Expert at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Business Objects and Crystal Reports - Use Windows Servers if you can afford the licensing.

What other advice do I have?

Use Windows Servers if you can afford the licensing. If not be prepared to battle ODBCs, fonts, memory issues, and more. In the end, Cognos, Informatica, Business Objects, SQL Reporting Services require someone to know and understand the database structure. Good database structure results in good performance if the developers know what they are doing. If your databases are poor, you just amplify the problems with these kind of tools. These all simply provide an interface where someone has to define the table and data relationships. Finding the right person to do that is the key. Give them the…
Owner at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Crystal Reports on SAP Mobile BI
It seems like every month SAP is unleashing new functionality for its Mobile BI app. Explorer, Web Intelligence and recently Dashboards have all made their way into the BI app and seem to work better, look nicer and perform faster then on the desktop! The mobile versions are not only slick and easy to use, they are also very easy to deploy to. For webi, all it takes to turn the report to mobile ready is assignment to a category (as is the case for Dashboards and Crystal), Explorer is there by default, and Dashboard can be saved as Mobile when exported to the repository. It’s that simple. Well, almost… While the product does allow developers to deploy content to the BI app very easily, the challenges of the design are still there, with a twist. Data issues, business logic complexities,…
BI Expert at a energy/utilities company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Top Reviewer
Highly flexible and customizable - usually a big plus but sometimes not