Crystal Reports is perhaps the most versatile reporting application in the world. It’s popularity predates most modern business intelligence tools (and vendors..) and its users base is simply astounding. The functionality built into Crystal Reports can certainly be overwhelming for most users, which is probably why simpler, more user friendly tools have surpassed Crystal in popularity these days. However, don’t rush to write it off in any way… There are still many functionalities and capabilities built into Crystal Reports that cannot be matched with any other reporting tool (SAP’s or otherwise).
Just as an example, i created a quick crystal report that connects directly to salesforce.com (yes, among crystal tons of connection methods, there is also a direct connector to SFDC), passes the data to an embedded Xcelsius generated swf and display a simple grid underneath it. This can be easily exported to HTML or PDF formats (or scheduled for distribution for that matter). Here are some sample files, used to build this example (.xlf, .rpt, export .html and .pdf, all zipped up)
One of the reasons many organizations are not leveraging crystal these days is that IT managers prefer to standardize on the toolsets they will support. This makes sense from a team and core competency building perspectives, and when comparing webi to Crystal from that angle, webi makes a lot of sense. It appeals to a much broader audience in the organization and can deliver on most reporting needs. However, more sophisticated requirements are often much better suited to be addressed with Crystal, so it may make sense to keep around some CR expertise that can quickly address those urgent seemingly impossible requirements…
Thanks for providing the info. can you please help me understanding the procedure as how did you connect to SFDC from crystal reports.
Hi Ashok, thanks for your comment. Please follow the download link on this post to download the .rpt file so you can see how it works. Crystal has direct connection to SFDC…
The link to the example reports is broken – I am really keen to take a look, if you could put that back up (or send direct?)
Thank you for pointing this out Elaine, the link has been fixed (http://bihappyblog.com/samples/SFDC_XLF.zip). Thanks – Ron