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SAP Crystal Reports OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

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. 

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Buyer's Guide

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

Archived SAP Crystal Reports Reviews (more than two years old)

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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.

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.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Software Engineer at a tech services company
Consultant
Top 10
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…
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 very limited when it comes to fancy graphs. If you want that, check out software that uses D3. Otherwise, Crystal is great, because it has been around for so long, you can get past any challenge fairly easily.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Find out what your peers are saying about SAP, TIBCO, Microsoft and others in Reporting Tools. Updated: September 2021.
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ITCS user
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 is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the ability to create reports easily. End users and non-technical users can learn the product with ease.

How has it helped my organization?

Crystal Reports enables end users to create reports. This in turn, enables business analysts to perform analytics without interaction from our IT teams.

What needs improvement?

From our experience with it, we would like the ability to change reports en masse in case of backend changes. It would also be nice if it enabled object orientation.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for two years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I've had no issues with deploying it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There have been no issues with its performance.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's scaled for our needs.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

We've had very good customer support.

Technical Support:

Technical support has been very good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We worked with other solutions concurrently. SSRS was another reporting solution we used.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup needed to be performed by an IT administrator. Data connectivity was also a function reserved for IT.

What about the implementation team?

The solution was implemented in-house using our local system admin.

What was our ROI?

Our ROI with the solution was being able to jump onto loans that were delinquent before they became junk loans.

What other advice do I have?

This is a good product with good visuals.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user463368
Crystal Reports Developer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
For the basics, the product is easy to learn.

What needs improvement?

Eliminate the reserved space in Page Footer section.

Find an easier way to utilize the Database > Links feature, or allow the ability to alter the selection SQL. Crystal Reports makes too many assumptions, causing odd results, which can sometimes be corrected by altering the SQL or changing the links (providing you understand the link options).

For how long have I used the solution?

Since 2011.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I did not encounter any deployment, stability or scalability issues.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I was not part of the search/decision making process. I don’t know why the organization’s developers/decision makers chose this product to present their reports. They continue to use it, so it must be satisfying their needs.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have not yet used other products, so I have nothing to compare against.

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.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user446715
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 is most valuable?

The ease of making simple reports. The facts that many people use it, hence a lot of expertise can be found on the internet and trainings are available.

How has it helped my organization?

I develop reports for customers, for an ERP system that collects a lot of data, but has very few standard reports. Customers use the reports for making decisions and negotiations.

What needs improvement?

  • Sub-reports in sub-reports
  • Making graphs is very cumbersome
  • Exporting to Excel
  • Using Stored procedures
  • Complex SQL Queries

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used Crystal Reports in general for about 20 years, and v2008 for about six 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 have had no issues with the stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven't needed to scale it.

How is customer service and technical support?

I wasn't aware of there being any.

How was the initial setup?

It's very straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

I have only installed the developer version, and that can anyone do with it’s eyes closed.

What was our ROI?

The training of users can be more expensive. User training can take two to five days, and in addition, the user needs to understand the database, the tables, and where to get the data.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The training of users can be more expensive. User taining can take two to five days, and in addition, the user needs to understand the database, the tables, and where to get the data.

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.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user446937
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 is most valuable?

One valuable feature is the ability to integrate seamlessly with the Business Objects Enterprise Software solution.

How has it helped my organization?

It allows the organization to share information/data with their customers so that they can make decisions based off of actual data.

What needs improvement?

I feel an improvement would be allowing users to change the font on translated fields. I remember having to work around this by overlaying fields with a formula because formatting was not available in the translation management tool.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Crystal Reports software for over 10 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 have had no issues with the stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The team did have questions on stability/scalability practices for the Business Objects Enterprise Software solution. SAP has provided documentation and is working with us on this.

How is customer service and technical support?

7/10

How was the initial setup?

It was pretty straightforward in terms of setup. It contains the basic setup for data sources. It has a good amount of options which makes the software flexible.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it with an in-house team and were lucky to have certified individuals involved with the project so they were familiar with all aspects and features of the products.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The organization has evaluated other products, but felt that this is a more mature reporting platform solution. It met many of our needs.

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.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user448308
Senior Reports Programmer at a university with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
End users can produce there own reports.

What is most valuable?

The ability to able to write your own SQL commands, parameterizing reports and putting them online.

How has it helped my organization?

Being able to produce online parameterized reports, so the end users can do their own reports, increases productivity.

What needs improvement?

Crystal 2008 - the export functionality could be improved, right now it will only export approximately 65K into one spreadsheet tab. When it reaches the max rows, it will continue on the next tab. This is really only an issue when users are exporting in Business Object. Currently, known larger files need to eported into txt or csv, the end users generally aren't as familiar with bring in this type of file into excel workbook.

Also, charts and mapping functionality could be much improved.

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 was the initial setup?

I wasn't involved in the implementation.

What about the implementation team?

It was implemented in-house.

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.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user448395
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

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 are customer service and technical support?

It's good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We didn't have another solution in place, and use this because of its flexibility and functionality.

How was the initial setup?

Straightforward as it has a native development tool, or working with .Net and (or) Java and deployment to Management console. Setting up the management console is a process.

What about the implementation team?

Implementation of tool needs an implementation partner to follow the best practices and reduce the maintenance issues.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We didn't look at any other solutions.

What other advice do I have?

Perform analysis the purpose of the solution when selecting as oppose to select the solution and define the process.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user448401
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.

What is most valuable?

I use all the features and there is nothing that is more important than the other.

How has it helped my organization?

We have a tool to generate all reports for all internal customers. We have different layouts for over 200 reports that change a lot, based on the tool. It is very important to keep everything beautiful and organized.

What needs improvement?

We are using an old version, and the only thing isn't good is that some error messages are not specific and it is sometimes hard to find the error.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for four years day to day, but I first used it eight years ago.

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.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

When I started with my current company, they were already using the solution.

How was the initial setup?

I just have just one situation that I am afraid to update the Crystal Reports DLL version in production to get some features . I do not feel confident to update it even though I have a guarantee that everything will work fine.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user448422
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

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 customer service and technical support?

6/10

How was the initial setup?

It was straightforward in terms of installation, development and deployment.

What about the implementation team?

We’re implementing it through CMC and have an in-house application that pulls the report from CMC.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user448683
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…

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 there would not be any support at all.

How was the initial setup?

It was already part of Visual Studio. Later on we bought the developer edition and the installation was very simple.

What about the implementation team?

We used both and try to always work with someone of infrastructure because there is a tendency to have problems with permissions on the latest Windows Server OS.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

It came embedded with Visual Studio. Now there is SSRS.

What other advice do I have?

Be aware that SAP Crystal Reports support is practically none existent so be aware that you will need to gather information from other sources.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We're business partners
it_user449433
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 is most valuable?

I value it's ability to satisfy most demanding reporting requirements with ease. No complex programming or tweaking of properties. It can be learned by a power user to satisfy their analytical needs without IT support and, the expert developer can deliver advanced functionality with ease. Mature and works as expected.

How has it helped my organization?

Like any tool, the value is derived by how the users use it. I have worked in many organizations and the usage differs, the following are the most value additions I have come across.

  • Third party logistics - monitoring their KPIs and highlighting exceptions. 
  • Marketing services - generating and emailing thousands of routine reports to it's customers with Crystal Enterprise
  • Healthcare industry (Software as a Service) - manage huge report portfolio with a relatively small development team.

What needs improvement?

The functionality is not evolving much over newer releases. The limitation of the original row based model is still there, and there's no easy way to draw tables. I would very much like to see full multi-dimensional reporting capability. The primitive capabilities have not been improved over the last 10 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

There were some 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.

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.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user456375
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 is most valuable?

It’s ability to connect to multiple data sources, use SQL or individual tables, views or stored procedures, data formatting options, ability to handle and display various date formats and the ability to use VB or Crystal Syntax (or both) within a report.

How has it helped my organization?

We were able to develop several On-Time Performance reports to assist with correcting scheduling errors and/or location errors for our buses. This has allowed us to get a much more accurate picture of where we are and how to get where we want to be.

What needs improvement?

Charts and Graphs are the only reason I don’t give the product a 10/10. Microsoft Excel is far better and Tableau is even better than that. So much so that my company now wants us to start using Tableau as a replacement for Crystal Reports, at least where graphs and charts are concerned.

For how long have I used the solution?

I’ve used it for 18 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

When upgrading versions of Microsoft Windows, Crystal Reports would not always work correctly. We would have to reinstall it to make it work right.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

With Windows 10, our Crystal Reports XI product stopped working correctly completely, but works fine when we upgrade them to Crystal Reports 2013.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It has been able to scale for our needs.

How is customer service and technical support?

We have not used any support from SAP that I am aware of.

How was the initial setup?

Fairly straightforward, especially with 2013. With XI, some options were not checked that we needed. With 2013, they are.

What about the implementation team?

We did the initial setup in-house. Make sure you have detailed step-by-step installation instructions if having a team installing it so everyone gets the exact same setup and things don’t get missed. We had that problem early on when upgrading to 2013 from XI and I had to help determine what was missed or done wrong so they could do it correctly.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The licensing is currently $500 per copy, so we are trying to limit the number of licenses we have to keep costs down.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I do not know. It was already being used corporate wide when I arrived.

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.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user628023
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

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 support?

Customer Service:

I would give customer service a rating of 4.5/5.

Technical Support:

Technical support is good. I would give technical support a rating of 4.5/5.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I used Excel, but that was a long time ago when the BI tools were very basic.

What about the implementation team?

I have implemented both with a vendor team and in-house. My level is expert.

What was our ROI?

The ROI depends on your use. In the first implementation, it was very productive with sales increases and time reduction.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Today, I only use a standalone license.

What other advice do I have?

If you are looking for a cheap operational tool, the Crystal Reports family is the correct decision.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Syed Fahad Anwar
Principal System Developer at a government with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
We like the performance, drill-down reporting functionality, and the report wizard.

What is most valuable?

Performance

Drill-down reporting functionality

Report wizard

Variable

Built in Formulas

Presentation Options like Charts, Cross tab reports etc.

How has it helped my organization?

We develop many management reports using Crystal Reports. It has reduced the development cost, effort, and provides feature rich reports.

Support of crystal report is also very good, in terms compatibility, many vendors preferred crystal reports as preferred report delivery product.

What needs improvement?

It needs better support for child reports.

It needs additional formulas.

some performance issues when joining tables using report wizard.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using SAP Crystal Reports for Visual Studio 2010 for four years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We had no issues with the deployment. deployment is smooth and it depends upon how you are going to deploy, as dll or rpt file.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There have been no stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have had no issues scaling it for our needs.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Customer service is good, and responses come within an acceptable time.

Technical Support:

Technical support is good, and responses come within an acceptable time.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used SQL Server reporting services. These are also good but complex in some scenarios, like child reports.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it with our in-house team.

What was our ROI?

ROI is great as we are using the VS 2010 version which is free with Visual Studio.

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.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user581817
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 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 are 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 solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

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.
it_user448413
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 is most valuable?

The ability to connect to most databases, be it Lawson, PeopleSoft, Excel or Access and that is only to name a few. The customization for clients is the absolute favorite feature, not to mention that I can do more formulas and bring in more data than most other reporting software that I have used. This includes using and tying in multiple databases.

How has it helped my organization?

With the reports I have created, mostly financial, it gives the business owners an easy way to see how their money is being spent, where it's going to and to see if they are remaining on budget and if not to adjust how they spend throughout the rest of the year. This alone is the single most important factor but not the only one. My clients use my reports for Inventory Control, Payroll and Human Resources purposes as well. All these reports can save a company lots of money if they are used as they are supposed to be.

What needs improvement?

I think the product is great and has so much now but I have noticed that it is not Excel 10 compatible and when the reports are extracted to XLS it defaults to MS Office version 95-97 which has dropped rows of data from sheet to sheet. I would like to see the ability to use the most current versions of MS Office.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used Crystal Reports for approximately 15 years starting with CR Developer 8.

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?

Nothing that minor adjustments in the report developer did not fix. Once I had made the adjustments in CR Developer there was no issue in LBI which is where I deploy 90% of my reports to.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's been able to scale for our needs.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Customer service was great I had a couple questions and they walked me thru it quick and easy.

Technical Support:

The two times I have called support for the product have been very pleasant. The technical support person was very friendly, knowledgeable and knew how to fix my issue immediately. The second time I called I was on hold for about 17-20 minutes but again the person on the other end was very cordial and knew exactly how to fix my issue.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have used numerous report writers in the past and by far Crystal Reports is the best. The user friendliness and versatility to create custom reports and designs to fit my customers needs has been a real useful business tool.

How was the initial setup?

Initial set up was straightforward. You got instructions on how to install Crystal, how to set up your ODBC connections and the Oracle 10g client, which is what my business uses. There were no problems with the install on any of the PC's or desktops within the organization.

What about the implementation team?

We did the install in-house. The only advice that I can give is to follow the instructions given they are literally fool proof and very straightforward. I would recommend that the Oracle Client, if that is what you are using, be installed first, then install Crystal Reports. Other than that there was no issues.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We are a large organization so we called and arranged a package of 25+ licenses at a real good rate. We paid for the product once then the additional licenses for the personal that would be using the software on a daily basis not to mention the license we had to have for LBI. We had gotten a great deal and I recommend that if you need more than one license to buy it. We have a few extra just in case, you never know when you will be adding another person who would need Crystal Reports.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I did not evaluate any other products but have used Report Smith, Lawson Report Writer and MS SQL Developer in the past and have found that Crystal Reports has more versatility, is easier to use, and meets the needs of my clients and organization better.

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.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user449409
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 is most valuable?

It can gather data from many sources and consolidate that data.

It is easy to get quick results, but also allows you to create more in-depth reports.

It contains a relational database that allows you to join tables from different tables in the same report.

It can export to Excel, text files, or PDF and many other formats.

A non-IT person can create some reports, and an IT person can take it much further.

If you have Crystal Reports, it can import Excel files that were made in Excel 2003, files with a .xls file extension and file format. It does not yet recognize files with a .xlsx file extension, which would be from Excel 2007, 2010, 2013 or 2016. With Access files, Crystal Reports can import databases with a .mdb format, but not the newer format if .accdb.

This was true as of Crystal Reports 2013. They may have changed it since
then.

How has it helped my organization?

I have used it with several clients to create complex reports that required multiple data sources and complex relationships.

What needs improvement?

They need to make it work with new file formats for Excel and Access. It also needs to be more compatible with other data sources.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Crystal Reports for over 10 years, and this version for about two years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I have seen integration with SAP , and it seems pretty seamless. There are versions of Crystal Reports that come embedded with other software programs, like Peachtree, etc. I would recommend that you upgrade to the full version so you can take advantage of some of the features.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I've experienced no issues with performance.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have the single user edition.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their support is top notch, although you may have to pay for it.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I created many reports using Access. Crystal reports is similar, but more robust.

How was the initial setup?

I have the single user version, and had no problems.

What about the implementation team?

I installed it myself.

What other advice do I have?

It's a great product that works with many data sources. I highly recommend it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Dell Stinnett-Christy
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 is most valuable?

The fact that I can write my own SQL command to pull data for a report. You can just select tables and join them together and get a report, but there are times when you need to do something more complex than just a simple query. I have used this to do things such as getting just the most recent records in a set of data, all of the procedures for a patient where the patient had a specific procedure, pivoting data so that I don’t have to use a cross-tab, and much more. At this point, if a report is going to use more than two tables, I’ll generally write the SQL for it so that I can tune it to make it run faster. I’ve written a blog about the best practices for working with commands, which can be found here: http://scn.sap.com/community/crystal-reports/blog/2015/04/01/best-practices-when-using-commands-with-crystal-reports.

Also, the ability to export reports to a variety of formats, even though there are limited options for formatting that output.

How has it helped my organization?

Not my specific organization, as I am a consultant. However, for many of my clients this is the de-facto reporting tool for operational data. Especially because it can either be integrated into an application using either the .NET or Java SDK, or reports can be published to Crystal Reports Server (an economical version of SAP Business Objects that just runs Crystal reports.) There are also many third-party tools available for working with Crystal Reports.

What needs improvement?

There are very few options for formatting reports that are exported to Excel or PDF formats.

The “Report Definition” export doesn’t contain all of the information about a report. The only way to get all of the configuration of a report is to write a program using one of the SDKs or to purchase a third-party tool.

SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise, which is the new version of Crystal Reports that is optimized for working with HANA, BEx queries, and other things specific to SAP’s other products definitely lags behind “classic” Crystal Reports in terms of features – especially when it comes to formatting objects.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for 19 years – since version 4.5. When I first started with it, I was also using its Delphi VCL component, and now I use the SAP Crystal for Visual Studio .NET component as well as the SAP Crystal for Eclipse Java components.

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 haven't faced any issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not had any issues with deployment or stability. However, with SDK there are limitations on the number of open reports (3) and the usage of sub-reports (no more than 99 visible instances of a sub-report within a single run of a report). The options for scaling up from that are to purchase SAP Crystal Reports Server or SAP Business Objects, both of which can be expensive for smaller companies.

How are customer service and technical support?

For companies that just have SAP Crystal Reports without one of the SAP server products that come with annual maintenance, about 3/10. Since SAP purchased the product, they have not spent much time focusing on companies that just own Crystal Reports, choosing to focus instead on the large companies that are running other, larger SAP products. However, there is a very good online community available at http://scn.sap.com/community/crystal-reports. There are several SAP support folks who answer questions there along with several other folks (like me) who are experts in the software. This is the “go-to” place for support and we’ll try to answer questions so that users can avoid having to pay to open a case with SAP.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have used several reporting tools, including Web Intelligence which comes with SAP Business Objects. Each has its own place in the grand scheme of deploying a Business Intelligence solution. Crystal Reports is the tool for “picture perfect” reports, like form letters, or for very complex requirements. It is also a moderately priced tool that is good for smaller companies or for companies producing software that requires some reporting capabilities.

How was the initial setup?

As a desktop tool, it’s very easy to install. The one thing that can be a “gotcha” is that you have to be logged in as a user that has Administrator credentials on the workstation because the install updates registry settings and adds a couple of files to subfolders under C:\Windows.

What about the implementation team?

For implementing just SAP Crystal Reports, there’s no need for a vendor team. However, it’s very helpful to get some training on how to use the software. For the server products, like SAP Crystal Reports Server, it can be helpful to have an SAP Partner assist with configuration and training.

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.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user448305
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 is most valuable?

The ability to connect to IDAPI files. I have to use Paradox (Borland) as my database and this version of Crystal Reports is the latest one that still works with IDAPI files. I also rely heavily on the ability to run the reports in the viewer.

How has it helped my organization?

The reports can be viewed within our custom software product using the CR Viewer and can additionally be exported to various formats, such as Excel, for further processing. This gives the users the ability to do additional data processing in various ways without having to run a separate report for each variation.

What needs improvement?

I would like to be able to summarize formulas.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it in total for thirteen years. This version for five years, and previous ones for eight years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

This product basically works right out of the box. Except for an upgrade to SP3, we have not had any problems.

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 are customer service and technical support?

I haven’t used the customer service or technical support options other than searching for documentation on syntax. Searching for help on syntax has been successful. There is a lot of information on the internet for Crystal Reports.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have used other versions in another workplace. At my current workplace, Crystal Reports 8 was previously used. This version was selected because of its ability to work with the IDAPI files.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is very straightforward. We experienced no difficulty installing the product on our systems.

What about the implementation team?

Our in-house technicians installed the product.

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.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user456381
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 is most valuable?

In my experience, the strongest feature of Crystal Reports is in developing automated business intelligence reports which convert raw data into actionable business intelligence.

How has it helped my organization?

In 2000 when I joined a manufacturing firm, most of the accounting data was exported into spreadsheets, consequently extensive time was spent on preparing reports and making timely decisions. In 2002, I initiated utilization of the MS Access Reporting tool by importing Excel files into Access. I created reports about all accounts including customers, suppliers, employees and entities related to the business. I soon realized that MS Access reporting is a good start, but it became hard to integrate data from variety of sources, in addition to an additional step of importing data into MS Access. On further research, I found Crystal Reports to address the issue of data integration, and hence utilized Crystal Reports 8-9. I found Crystal Reports to be an excellent dedicated reporting tool, and I invested time in taking advanced training.

What needs improvement?

I would like to have horizontal paging like crosstabs.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Crystal Reports for the last 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?

This is a mature product and so I have not came across any major stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's been able to scale for our needs.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Previously, I used MS Excel, then Access before moving on to Crystal Reports.

How was the initial setup?

It was fairly straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We performed an in-house implementation and this should be fine for all cases.

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.

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

I like that Crystal Reports can easily connect to a multitude of datasource types, handling all with aplomb. It has a feature-rich toolset that allows me to shape and present the data to suit any report requirement thrown my way. Enterprise is simply the best report delivery product on the market.

How has it helped my organization?

I single handedly manage delivery of over 3,000 reports per month, a figure that would be unattainable without such a robust and dependable product.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see improvement in charts and metadata extraction. Reporting against the actual MDB database is cumbersome at best.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for over 10 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I had minor issues with deployment, but the support was tremendous.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It’s an extremely stable platform. My reports run at around 99.94% on schedule yearly.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We've had no issues scaling it for our needs.

How are customer service and technical support?

As I mentioned above, the support is very, very good, especially so when working directly with the service reps. The website is a little cluttered and difficult to navigate, but I’ve found a lot of help through sites such as ITCentralStation.com and other online communities.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I started out with Crystal Reports and Enterprise. I have used a few others in a limited capacity since then, but was disappointed in all.

How was the initial setup?

The architecture/setup was handled by someone before me, so I can’t speak firsthand to any difficulties. However, from my conversations with that individual, there were no serious hang ups or difficulties with the initial setup.

What about the implementation team?

I believe we did use a vendor team, and once again, not having first hand knowledge, I can’t really speak to this.

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.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user435318
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 is most valuable?

  • You can write very complex formulas
  • Field conditional formatting
  • Subreports
  • Specific formatting for report sections (headers, footers, etc.)
  • Crosstab reports
  • Coders can write their own custom SQL statement

How has it helped my organization?

Users have learned to write their own reports, reducing the load on our IT department.

What needs improvement?

  • Easier to use crosstab interface so beginners create reports faster
  • Allow for customization of crosstab row/column labels
  • Installation takes more than 15 minutes on our workstations

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for seven years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

There have been no issues with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There have been no issues with the stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have had no issues scaling it for our needs.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have never contacted tech support for help.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

This product was recommended by our banking system vendor.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is pretty straightforward. You can install all options to make it easier.

What about the implementation team?

We installed it using our IT team. I would recommend scripting for a large deployment because it takes about 15 minutes per workstation to install.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Saberlogic Logicity provides free Crystal Viewer software. Users who only need to run reports can use this free of charge, so you can save on license costs.

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.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user434991
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 is most valuable?

  • Version 2008 – SQL & report scheduling
  • Version 2013 – XLSX workbooks

How has it helped my organization?

It quickly delivers consumer-focused prototypes and delivers results and code to R&D.

What needs improvement?

  • It needs better graphical visualizations.
  • It needs a better Crystal Viewer.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for about 16 yers

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Often at the end of a heavy Crystal Reports/Excel day, both Crystal Reports and Excel will crash with various memory issues. Crystal Reports sometimes has problems emailing and you get a MAPI error. You will get “corrupt” reports after running successfully for a couple of years, and then have to recreate. Sometimes, for no known detectable reason, 2008 will just “vanish” and I will have to restart it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I am the only person using it, so I haven't had to scale.

How are customer service and technical support?

For installing, upgrading and billing issues, support is great. But for “how do you do this” type of questions, Ken Hamady on LinkedIn is wonderful.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have a product built on the Business Objects environment and also offer Crystal Reports instructions to connect to another product via JDBC. In-house analytics is primarily Microstrategy with Tableau scattered about.

I use Crystal Reports because Business Objects, MicroStrategy, and Tableau are too limiting for me. I analyze data and processes using real-time data.

How was the initial setup?

The last install was a few years ago, and if I don’t remember much about the upgrade (to a new laptop), then the upgrade is pretty much straightforward.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I haven't evaluated any other solution, and I have no intention of switching.

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.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
it_user432762
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 is most valuable?

The most valuable features for us are its ability to provide reports on what's going on in the database and to schedule reports for end users.

How has it helped my organization?

It's made data more accessible to our end users in a couple of ways. First, with the ability to schedule reports, end users no longer need to run reports on demand. They're run and made available at pre-scheduled times. Second, the data is readily available to end users, as opposed to having to run queries for them.

What needs improvement?

I'd like an easier way for end users or an AD group to subscribe to reports that can be received as attachments to emails.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for twenty years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

The configuration is cumbersome and not really clear. It would be nicer for it to be easier to configure across multiple servers.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There have been no issues with the stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have had no issues scaling it.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer support is spotty at best, and when they do get involved it has to be according to the support person's schedule. They contact you and if you are busy, it is hard for them to understand that as a customer you would like pre-notification and the ability to set some time aside.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have always used Crystal Reports. We have enhanced our reporting by using Tableau as well for dashboards.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is complex. They need to have clearer instructions on how to configure servers for the best performance.

What about the implementation team?

We did an in-house upgrade of two systems into one. There was no vendor support onsite.

What other advice do I have?

Test your installation prior to upgrading to a production environment.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user224157
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.

Valuable Features:

  • Rapid report development, since the design interface makes coding easier.
  • We can extend it to complicated reports with interactive charts and enhance the understanding of business models.
  • Exposes a report object model that can interact with other controls on the ASP.NET Web form.
  • It can be programmed to export the reports into widely used formats such as PDF, Word, Excel, HTML, and RTF.

Improvements to My Organization:

We are using it for pixel perfect reporting, and that is why it is better than other reporting tools.

Room for Improvement:

It needs better integration with Hadoop as well as enhancements for more analytical usage.

Also, a secured end user cannot modify data if the report is generated via Crystal Reports. It can only be done if the data is in HTML format.

Deployment Issues:

We have had no issues with the deployment.

Stability Issues:

We have had no issues with its stability.

Scalability Issues:

There have been no issues scaling it for our needs.

Other Advice:

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.

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

Valuable Features

What I like about it is that it's easy to use and it provides good connectivity to various databases.

Improvements to My Organization

We use it for all of our operational and tabular reports.

Room for Improvement

The visualization needs work as the look is not very appealing. The UI definitely needs some updating.

Also, SAP charges an annual maintenance fee. Be careful, too, with the license model. I'd suggest that because Crystal Reports is for tabular reports, use another product for true BI.

Use of Solution

I've used it for 10 years.

Deployment Issues

There have been no issues with the deployment.

Stability Issues

Some reports take a while to be generated.

Scalability Issues

We've had no issues scaling it.

Customer Service and Technical Support

In my experience, the level of technical support is not good. They are, however, able to resolve issues in a timely fashion.

Initial Setup

The initial setup was easy and straightforward.

Implementation Team

Some reports come out-of-the-box within our applications and we built some others. So you could say that implementation was a combination of SAP's product as well as our in-house team's efforts.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

Be careful with the annual maintenance fee, and get CPU based report access. Be careful with the license model. This product is for tabular reports, but for true BI reporting, use another product.

Other Solutions Considered

We are retiring Crystal Reports soon, and it will be replaced by IBI WebFOCUS and SQL Server Reporting Services.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user431850
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 is most valuable?

The ability to set parameters, especially the cascading parameters, is the most valuable features for us.

How has it helped my organization?

We provide solutions to other organizations, so invariably the end reports save our clients time and, of course, money.

The example that comes to mind was where a medical client had a monthly utilization report that took 14 days to complete manually as it involved using MS Access and Excel. After the report was created in Crystal Reports, it took less than 30 seconds to run and it also highlighted data entry errors that could be fixed more efficiently, so a suite of error/exception reports had to be created also.

What needs improvement?

The linking feature between tables has always been a bit buggy, which is not good because it is really the core of ensuring that the returned data is correct. If one tries to enforce the links created as per the underlying data source, invariably it falls over and results in an error message.

The cascade parameters limit of 1000 records, which although can be increased via the registry, if you have admin rights, can result in report performance issues. Isn't there a better way of doing this?

Being able to have formulas that make up the description for value parameters, potentially on the fly, and then being able to display the parameter value and/or description selected by the user on the report, would be great also

I actually wrote a blog post of the things I wished Crystal Reports could do here: http://maximumimpactsolutions.co.uk/blog/comments.asp?bd=110. Some of the things may have ready been implemented.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for four years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We have had no issues with deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There have been no issues with the stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have had no issues scaling it.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've never needed to use customer service/technical support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I've been using this since v7.

How was the initial setup?

It's straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

Implemented it in-house, and there was nothing complex about it.

What was our ROI?

Our ROI on Crystal Reports is well over 1000%, as we offer both training and consultancy solutions to our clients.

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.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We offer training and consulting of Crystal Reports for our clients.
ITCS user
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.

Valuable Features

One of the most valuable features is the ability to precisely place data fields and labels on the report canvas either in Design Mode or Preview Mode. This is a great feature because when a report page requires many data fields, each item needs to be as close as possible.

Another valuable feature is the ability to select and format or align multiple data fields and labels because there are times when a group of fields needs a smaller font or to be moved together across the page.

Room for Improvement

There are two items that would improve the product. One is a simple text search across all formulas, and the other is a debug mode that would allow the developer to step line-by-line through long or complicated formulas.

Use of Solution

I've been using it for 17 years.

Deployment Issues

We have had no issues with the deployment.

Stability Issues

There have been no issues with the stability.

Scalability Issues

There have been no issues scaling it for our needs.

Customer Service and Technical Support

For the most part, technical support is responsive and helpful. However, the majority of technical support is in another country which can cause problems scheduling a contact time and can hamper verbal communication.

Initial Setup

The initial setup is straightforward. However, on a couple of occasions the licensing was corrupted and required uninstalling and reinstalling the software.

Implementation Team

Implementation was done by our in-house team.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user432603
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 is most valuable?

It allows me to pull data from multiple data sources without coding SQL. Creating SQL code to copy is one of my favorite uses.

How has it helped my organization?

We have better efficiency overall and we've saved on doing data imports -- $36K so far. I can do them myself using Crystal Reports.

Also, it's essential to our ERP function.

What needs improvement?

I have an old version and there's no hyperlink function. Otherwise, everything I could wish for is probably already out there!

However, I had an issue where if I had the main application in one Window and a fly out menu on another monitor, it would crash. It was probably a hardware issue on my side.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for nine years. We purchased it in 2007 and I was one of the first employees to be trained on it. I use it practically every day.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I had no issues deploying it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I had the instability issues, described above, which led to the system crashing.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We've had no issues scaling it out.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've never needed to use it as I am able to find the answers on Google.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I believe it was bundled with our Tyle/Eden solution.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it with out in-house team. Our configuration is pretty simple. We don't use any of the enterprise features.

What was our ROI?

It is essential for our ERP reporting to function, so the value is very high.

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.

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

What is most valuable?

Report Wizards and Sample Reports are very useful for us, and I'd say they're the most valuable features as well. I only wish there were more reports to choose from because the wizards make it easier to create a quick report.

How has it helped my organization?

Reporting once a month at our partners meeting with my providers, Crystal Reports ensures that I get the information directly from our SQL database so that I can combine and manipulate my reports as needed.

What needs improvement?

For me, the biggest area for improvement would definitely be the sample reports and wizards with more options and themes you can use to create more report styles.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've used it for five years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

The software was installed prior to starting my position with this practice, so I'm not certain whether there were or were not any issues with deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There are no issues with the stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have had no issues with scaling it for our needs.

How are customer service and technical support?

In my experience, technical support is good, although I haven't really had to call in for many issues.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I haven't used anything similar to Crystal Reports in the past.

How was the initial setup?

It was already set up when I began my current position, so I wouldn't know whether setup was straightforward or complex.

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

Valuable Features

The way it allows formatting, that is, the ability to organize the display and fields as we like, are the key elements for us. Presentation for end users is always the big concern for us, so the formatting is an important feature the we find most useful.

We're also able to drag-and-drop tables, joins, and fields, which expedites very basic data pulls. Sometimes, though, a SQL query and export to .xls suffices.

Improvements to My Organization

We're able to export to .pdf as well as integrate with PowerPoint. This has become a part of our instructional and sales presentations.

Room for Improvement

Some of the graphic displays are dodgy. That component is the least intuitive of all the features.

Use of Solution

I've used it for ten years, from stale Seagate versions through SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL platforms.

Deployment Issues

There have been no issues with the deployment.

Stability Issues

There have been no issues with the stability.

Scalability Issues

We've had no issues scaling it for our needs.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

I've never had to contact customer service.

Technical Support:

I've never had the need to use technical support.

Initial Setup

There were no issues encountered during the deployment. You need to delete prior versions before implementing the latest one because they seemed to clash.

Implementation Team

We implemented it with our in-house team.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

The product is expensive.

Other Advice

Lean on the vendor for the initial implementation and follow their steps to ensure independence down the road.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user173745
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.

Valuable Features:

It has a lot of flexibility and can be used with a variety of data sources. A lot can be done with grouping and sub-reports.

Improvements to My Organization:

Our organization previously exported a lot of data to Excel. This had to be endlessly manipulated by sorting, cutting, modifying pasting, de-duping, resorting, etc. Using Crystal Reports means all this manual work is eliminated. The report comes out sorted and in the right format without need for any manipulation.

Crystal also has a lot of options for grouping and creating formulas.

Room for Improvement:

Some features are difficult to use for beginning users, such as shared variables.

Use of Solution:

About 10 years

Stability Issues:

With older versions of Crystal there was frequent "crashing" and reinstalling of the program. I have not seen any problems with Crystal 11.

Initial Setup:

Straightforward. Crystal has an easy installation process.

Implementation Team:

In-house set-up.

Other Advice:

It's a great product that can be used out of the box, however it's always good to invest in training.

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

The ability to create reports via the GUI with click and drag at the table level as well as from SQL via Command objects.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used CR with a number of different db types (Oracle, SQL Server, etc.) for a number of different data types (health care, accounting, manufacturing, etc.). 

I have been using the app since version 5 in 1996. I was a certified instructor and implementation specialist on CR and BOE (and its predecessors Seagate Info) via the developers from 1997 through 2002.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

What little I have seen of other products I would select CR and BOE but I am not the decision maker of the organization..

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.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user186273
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 is most valuable?

  • Ease of creating custom reports
  • Being able to edit in design view without having to refresh the data
  • Ease of linking tables
  • Ability to create union queries

How has it helped my organization?

We use the product to run weekly update reports to show managers how many hours have been billed to specific grants. The reports include formulas to flag if we are behind on billing out the grant or have overspent. We also run reports to see what type of legal issues clients are contacting us about and reports on time slips that managers use when creating work plans and goals.

What needs improvement?

Retain parameter lists when upgrading

For how long have I used the solution?

Ten years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used Microsoft Access.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it in-house.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I'm not sure. We are a non-profit, so we were eligible to purchase the product from TechSoup at a significant discount.

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.

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

The ability to plug into multiple data sources and present consistent formatted reports for our internal and external clients. We work for multiple clients around the country and this allows us to present standardized reports. Crystal Reports also allows us to pull SAP and present it as an analytical tool rather than downloading data and manipulating it in Excel.

How has it helped my organization?

One key improvement has been the elimination of tedious and redundant work. Where we used to do a lot of data manipulation from SAP, we can now run a Crystal Report and get the data we need in the format we desire. It has saved a lot of unnecessary man-hours.

What needs improvement?

The graphing portion of Crystal Reports is still lacking. I realize that there are other Business Objects programs out there more graphics intensive, but it would be nice if Crystal could fully service those needs as well.

For how long have I used the solution?

Four years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

When we first started using Crystal Reports 2008, we had multiple stability issues. It seemed like at least once a day (usually more than that), it would crash on us. Save Early, Save Often became our way of life. It has improved dramatically since 2011 and Enterprise version.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Excellent. The sales reps and the technical support folks have been very supportive and have always responded promptly.

Technical Support:

Excellent. We have only had two issues that we went to technical support with but they were very thorough and worked through the issues with us.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

No previous solution used.

How was the initial setup?

Straightforward for me. I only had to install the Crystal Reports client and the SAP Integration kit. Everything worked as intended after that.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No other solutions were evaluated.

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.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: SAP partner
it_user163092
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…

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 SAP, just Google search for answers to your problems.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Back in the days (90s), Quick Reports that came with Delphi. Crystal Reports had more functionality hence the switch.

How was the initial setup?

Straightforward set-up.

What about the implementation team?

In-house implementation.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user5802
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 is most valuable?

We use the InfoView web based interface to host the enterprise reports. The Crystal Reports is a good standard reporting product from any single data source. WEBI allows us to use multiple data sources to produce one WEBI document that can have many reports. If the Universes are designed with cross data source linking in mind, the Webi documents can be used as a great tool to relate data from multiple data sources and environments.

How has it helped my organization?

Our reports are no longer just a static product. Our users can actually interact with the reports. Because of this, we can generate a single enterprise wide report and the users can simply navigate to see only what is pertinent to them. Prior to this, the developers maintained a lot of “one off” reports. Basically the same report for different departments.

What needs improvement?

Business objects service packs are as notoriously bad as Microsoft new products. Full of bugs, they fix one thing but break others.

For how long have I used the solution?

SAP Business Objects Universes and WEBI - we have been using it for 3 years. It was a progression from Crystal Reports which I have been using for 14 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Once you get your security strategy built correctly, things go fairly smooth.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Once installed we have had to go back to Business Objects to get patches. Part of this is our own fault for going to Unix and Tomcat servers (to save licensing costs). On a Windows Environment this seems to work better. SQL Server ODBCs on the Tomcat servers are troublesome. Once it gets set, things go pretty well.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability seems good. We have a large data repository. With over 23,000 users and 3,000 report. The reports are about 50/50 between WEBI and Crystal Reports

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service: Customer Service from SAP is good. Not stellar and not horrendously bad. I give them 6.5 out of 10.Technical Support: Depending on who you get. Some of their Technical support people are super great, others seem pretty novice about their product.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have been a Crystal report shop for a long time as it is a product supported by or primary data vendor. We have also tried to go to SQL Server Reporting Service but found it too limited. We have one product now using Cognos Elite. I find it very comparable but more clunky to use.

How was the initial setup?

Complex if you are not using Windows Servers. There are a huge number of options that allow you to make detrimental choices that you may not be aware of. Not much different than any other enterprise wide reporting system.

What about the implementation team?

In House

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Unknown

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did evaluate other options, but the fact that we were already invested in the Crystal Reports and our major vendor was supporting the Business Objects platform, we really saw the most benefit going with them.

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 tool that best suits the needs of the company.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user7515
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,…


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, real estate constraints, functionality gaps, all of the same challenges that make BI content development difficult for any device are applicable, with the additional challenge of new constraints related to mobile device usage and functionality that is “ramping up”. And while Webi, Explorer and Dashboards are “sexy”, dashing and elegant tools, I set out to try the capabilities of good old Crystal Reports on the BI App, and as always when it comes to Crystal, I was not disappointed!

While Crystal on the iPad lacks some of the Explorer and Webi “swooshiness” and feels a bit “boxy”, it certainly provides much more flexibility in design, navigation and layout capabilities. And since images can be used to enhance its look and feel, Crystal can be made to look as modern as any. Unlike in Webi on the mobile BI app where the report design is limited to simplistic blocks that get converted automagically to the stunning iPad design, Crystal reports will render EXACTLY the way you design them on the desktop. So you can layout the screen any which way you like, which can be very important for some design situations. Crystal unlimited data connectivity also makes it a great choice for directly connecting to any data source with ease. So your crystal report on the iPad will connect to anything you need to, from Universes to any RDBMS, web service, and beyond. The group tree functionality is also enables on the iPad and provides slick and easy way to navigate large hierarchies on the iPad, prompts, work as well and drill downs are all there in their interactive glory. You can paginate using the page number icons, or simply swipe left to move to the next page. Nice.

The image I posted is from a Crystal Report I created with sales data and hierarchy, and I hope it provides a good example of what Crystal actually looks like on the iPad.

So, all in all, Crystal can be an important companion for your mobile BI content deployment, and after more than two decades of reign over the enterprise reporting realm can still help address use cases and reporting scenarios that other more modern tools cannot.

Disclosure: My company is a SAP partner

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
BI Expert at a energy/utilities company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
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.