The search for a robust, snappy, and intelligible management software never ends. Business owners often lean towards easier, rounded, and cheaper solutions.
What Is Crystal Reports?
To understand Crystal Report is to understand data representation using reports. Crystal Report is the simple processing of data from a data source for easy access and reference.
The use of this software is user-defined. So many factors come to the fore, which determine how suitable SAP Crystal can be for your business.
Factors That Determine The Suitability Of Crystal Report
- Business Needs: Basic tools vs. advanced tools.
If you are running a small scale business, then your priority is basic and simple. But, you may be considering the possibility of expanding in the future. These are what define the kind of management software you need.
For advanced tools, a medium scale business will fit into this category of suitability. Here, there is a larger database to collate data from, and a larger workforce to manage. Reliability and effectiveness is a top feature needed at this level.
- Business Scope: Industry-specific feature.
Medium and large scale businesses are the main focus here. The scope and industry of your business will determine the kind of software to put in place. Business intelligence software has areas of strength.
- Business Overview: Integration specifications.
How deep is your database? How often do you want to access certain information? Is cloud-based software going to improve productivity? Budgeting and company size remain valid determinants of the suitability of any software. This means rounded software is at an advantage.
Why Crystal Reports?
SAP Crystal is a world-leading business intelligence provider. It controls over 21.3% of the market share. SAP is a formidable authority in data management service. Nonetheless, here are some of the reasons why you should consider Crystal Reports:
- It is cheap when compared to other applications in this sphere. Crystal is cheaper and offers a one-time sale option. This makes it most suitable for a small scale business.
- The user interface, this is perhaps the first feature every firsthand user notices. It requires zero expertise to maximize its functionalities.
- Precision, report is all about precision and a single error can make the whole process feel like hell. Why? Because making an error in reporting literally means starting all over again. Needless to say, the more data, the more frustrating starting all over becomes.
- Versatility, there are many data sources. These include SQL, Progress, Excel, Spreadsheets, XML data, and Lotus Notes database. User reviews show that the sap crystal is the go-to app that can combine data from different data sources and collate them in a single report.
- Adaptability, this is like versatility but different in scope. This is arguably the most compelling feature of the Crystal Reports. There is little or nothing to change when adopting the report for an existing business model. The smoothness of the whole process is what makes Crystal Reports a class apart from the rest.
- Speed, from a general stance, crystal report is fast. It processes the information before you settle into your seat.
The Ingenuity Of Crystal Reports
Crystal report is unique due to its aptness and swiftness. This is what companies leverage on. You can query information in your database. This information can be reproduced in any applicable reporting form. This could be a financial statement, invoice, or progress report. This means that SAP Crystal is beneficiary to any organization or company. Crystal is not limited to a single industry. It cuts across real estate, accounting, HR, education, and manufacturing. SAP Crystal Reports can adapt. Its flexible nature makes it seamlessly integrate into cloud, a larger management intelligence software. It can also be accessed locally too.
What Are The Benefits Of Crystal Reports?
- Complex and even complicated queries are made to look easy and resolved in seconds. The speed is the deal.
- Whether your database is “in-house” or “cloud-based.” The integration system of the SAP Crystal is second to none. It is very responsive and can operate within any framework.
- Import, export, and access to data is almost a click away. It is that easy.
- Privacy is well defined and implemented. You can decide who can access certain reports. Business partners can relate better to this feature.
- Crystal Reports connects different data sources and presents them in a single report.
- The highly organized nature of SAP Crystal is one of its attractive features. Tabs and shortcuts are positioned where you would naturally find them.
- It supports multiple platforms such as .NET, Oracle, HTML, and more.
The Limitations Of Crystal Reports
Crystal Report is a great software enjoyed by businesses and organizations. But, it has its downsides, some of which include:
- Integration can be stressful when importing data to and from Excel. Crystal and Excel seem to be on conflicting sides when importing data. Excel is a database, but when you consider its popularity, this might be a deal-breaker for many.
- The use of Visual Basic for Scripting can be challenging when you want to debug. This would mean that Crystal Reports can be complex sometimes.
- It may require a professional for optimum use.
- It was one of the earliest softwares to bring data computing into the spotlight. This can be a disadvantage. Especially when there are alternative tools that process reports better and easier.
- Poor upgrade of tools. Yes, “if it is not broken, do not fix it,” but, if it can be better, why not fix it?
Crystal Reports Alternatives
Factors that differentiate Crystal reports can be categorized into three distinct parts. These include adaptability, cost, and speed. Crystal Report is a traditional business intelligence software. Over time, new software has been developed to improve on the shortcomings of Crystal and expand its performance. It is important to examine these alternatives. Know what they offer, and how well they outperform or underperform when placed side-by-side the Crystal Reports.
Sisense as an alternative software
Unlike SAP Crystal Reports, Sisense is a modern approach to management. It is based mainly on the visualization of reports from multiple data sources. The software emerged in 2010 with initial funding of $4 million. Sisense is popularized by aesthetics. The traditional software has a boring interface and sometimes, if not all the time, looks matter a lot.
Organizations and companies tend to favor Sisense above other management software. This is not unconnected to the fact that Sisense deals majorly on larger files. Very large files. This might not be an ideal option for a start-up.
Pros of Sisense
- Drag and Drop User Interface.
- Colorful Dashboard, the human eye is naturally drawn to beauty. That is why a colorful dashboard is ranked as one of the selling points of Sisense. It is not only appealing to the eye, but it can be easily customized to your taste.
- No expertise is needed at any stage of use, Sisense is a well thought out management platform. The setup might be stressful, but installation and use is easy.
- You are your own expert. The way the interface is designed, you can manipulate information at your convenience. You can also analyze and collate relevant information. This can be really helpful in making a sound business decision.
- It saves running cost in the long term since you will not need an IT expert. You automatically save yourself the cost of hiring one.
- A lager support system for data sources.
Cons of Sisense
- Designed for large files, in a way, this feature can appear as an advantage, but it is more of a disadvantage. The uniqueness of management software is adaptability. Why keep two apps when one can do both? Sisense is defined by its support of a larger data source. This makes it shut itself against small businesses and start-ups.
- Sisense Elasticube, the Elasticube is a distinctive feature of the Sisense. It allows users to relate better and easier with their data. It is cloud-based and can be accessed on the go. But, it is not user-friendly. It requires a level of technicality and it is often unreliable.
- Poor offline report sharing, Sisense has poor offline reporting. It is difficult to share reports via email or any other channel outside Sisense (like PDF) with a partner. Reviews have shown that many users experience this problem using the Sisense. SAP Crystal Reports excels in this space. It supports any format and can be shared outside the platform.
- Sisense is not powerful enough to generate reports that can be accessed off the online dashboard. This means that Sisense works properly only when connected in real-time via the web. So for effective use, you must access it in real-time.
- Quite expensive. Just as much as it saves the overall cost of running, it is still expensive to own. As of February 2016, the starting price for 5 users is about $21,000.
Tableau as an alternative software
Modern business intelligence software interface simply improved the visualization of management software. Tableau does the same thing as Sisense. It is older than Sisense. But, they share a similar modern platform, unlike SAP Crystal which is traditional.
Tableau is worth discussing as a worthy alternative to SAP Crystal. This is because Tableau is the first of many business intelligence applications that helps organizations understand and picture their data.
Tableau is a basic data collation software characterized by visuals. Data is represented by visual related reports. Tableau was officially introduced in 2013. But, it was instituted in 2002.
Pros of Tableau
- It is user engaging, everything is customizable to suit your need. You can generate a new dashboard from start to finish, copy partners, clients, or coworkers. More so, no basic technical skill is required to execute this feature.
- Tableau has a better and dedicated mobile support compared to Sisense and Crystal Reports. A lot of thought is put into the design of the mobile interface. This allows an easy flow of information from one end to another i.e. P.C to any mobile device.
- Impeccable customer support, a timely response is what you want whenever you contact customer support. This is often underappreciated until you find yourself in need of urgent attention. Companies and organizations often favor management software with a responsive support team. SAP Crystal shines in this aspect too.
- Tableau favors detailed analytics. The mode of integration of the Tableau is like SAP Crystal Reports. There is support for a wide range of data sources. But, Tableau is expertise-based. To fully utilize a higher level of data analysis, you must understand business intelligence jargon.
- It is cost-effective. The upgrade is affordable and hassle-free. You are more likely to upgrade to its latest release because it is seamless.
Cons of Tableau
- You will need an expert at some point.
- Setting up your dashboard yourself, and building templates from scratch can be fun until you have an increased workload and wish that your dashboard is automated.
- Tableau is best regarded as a tool for beginners. The moment you understand how it works, you will need a more robust system to work with.
- Poor security. This is one area that SAP Crystal outshines every other Business intelligence software. Modern management software has security issues.
- Complex Database, whether you run Tableau from cloud or on-premise, you are going to face the challenge of irreversible erroneous actions. Once you upload your reports to the server, you cannot recall the files.
IBM Cognos Analytics as an alternative software
IBM’s intention for Cognos Analytics is to refine the effectiveness and efficiency of reporting. You will enjoy the reporting templates that Cognos provides. Not just that, you will definitely love the freedom that comes with it.
Similar Business intelligence software including SAP Crystal Reports have a basic report system. SAP Crystal ensures that you have a smooth report process. Cognos ensures that the report itself can be further modified.
Pros of Cognos Analytics
- It is best suited for a learner. Cognos rewards learning. It is a distinctive software that focuses on reports. When you understand how it works, you automatically become an expert.
- It is fun to use. The ability to tweak finished reports, share it with people, and have them modify the report from their end, is a priceless feature.
- It is engaging and futuristic. Your partners or colleagues being able to edit a report you upload is just the tip. The real highlight is the fact that you do not need to grant them consent every time. Once you upload a report, you can set it to allow for modification. That way, anyone, anywhere can access the report and tweak it accordingly.
- The user interface is great. It will take you less than four minutes to get started.
- Cognos Analytics is well suited for a large organization.
Cons of Cognos Analytics
- Although IBM, the parent company is old, Cognos is new. It is not well tested yet. The app is promising but at this time, it is not popular.
- It becomes rigorous when you want to select a different data source, booth time is longer and slower. It performs better as a basic overview.
- The interface is cool but rigid. You need to properly understand how it works. It is complex to use, and you will need a guide.
- A level of technicality is required.
- It is expensive for a small scale business to own. There are better cost-efficient softwares that a small scale business can leverage.
Conclusion: How Rounded Is Crystal Reports?
The design of rounded management software helps organizations review and analyse corporate data. This data reflects the company’s progress and limitations. This means management software is an integral part of every business. In fact, every business faces the challenge of representing accurate data in reports.
Reporting is time-consuming. So what you need is a platform that is reliable, self-sustained, certified, and affordable.
SAP Crystal Reports is designed to fit into any business structure. SAP may be a new parent company for Crystal Reports, but the software is market gold. The platform is solid and it is a rich web resource. This is one of the best inexpensive premium service any business owner can leverage.