Data is a wonderful thing. It's something that can make or break a business, provide it with the tools to grow and thrive in the market. That’s really the reason why so many business intelligence services and tools exist.

Businesses want to be able to track a wide variety of metrics. They can then look at the data to figure out what their customers want, what their spending patterns are, which products are doing better compared to others, where additional efficiency can be gained, etc.

All this and more can be accurately tracked with the relevant tools and services. Crystal Reports happens to be one of them, and it’s also one of the most widely used business intelligence tools for small to medium organizations.

What is Crystal Reports?

Crystal Reports got its start at Quik Reports when it was originally developed almost three decades ago. The product was developed because at that time, its developers couldn't find a suitable commercial report writer for their accounting software. The company then traded hands a few times before eventually being acquired by SAP in 2007.

Crystal Reports can power pixel-perfect reporting for businesses. This solution enables organizations to combine analysis, business intelligence and decision support based on their data. The tool can analyze multiple data sources and then create visualizations of the data in charts and tables. These charts and tables can be grouped in documents and dashboards which can then be used in static or dynamic format.

How does it work?

Data collection is at the heart of how Crystal Reports works as it will be unable to function if the required information is not fed into the system. A business can collect a wide variety of data on their customers in addition to the data that they already have about their own processes.

For example, it can be things like details of transactions, loyalty card usage, production records, web logs, sales point addresses, financial information, and more. This data is usually stored in databases like SAP HANA, MS Access or MS SQL Server as well as simple text files or MS Excel.

SAP Crystal Reports allows one or multiple users within an organization to securely access this data in order to visualize trends and patterns, analyze facts, rank and filter the data to further drill down into specific areas.

Pixel-perfect reporting takes it a step further. Once charts and tables have been created in Crystal Reports, a pixel-perfect document can be created as a business overview to share with investors, a list of invoices to send to customers, etc. These documents can then be used as a template because every time the data source is updated, the document can also be refreshed with a simple click or automatically.

How much does Crystal Reports cost?

Pricing for Crystal Reports starts at $495. This is a one-time fee for a single user and offers the ability to manually distribute an unlimited number of reports to as many recipients as you want. The software is installed on a Windows PC or server with one license per individual. It can run on its own or with the SAP Crystal Server to be operated both online and offline.

For small businesses, the price starts at $1,060 with 1 named user who also gets access to the mobile app. This includes an unlimited number of scheduled reports that can be distributed automatically to an unlimited number of recipients.

Pricing for medium businesses starts at $11,728 with one named user, app access, five concurrent access users across the web and mobile version. It also includes an unlimited number of scheduled reports personalized for each user that can be distributed automatically to as many recipients as needed.

SAP does offer a 30 day free trial of Crystal Reports. This allows you to access the full version of the tool and take all of its features for a trial run. The free month will be enough for most organizations to decide whether or not this is something that they want to implement.

What can you use Crystal Reports for

You can use Crystal Reports for generating reports from both SAP and non-SAP data sources. It makes it very easy to create advanced level reports that managers and business leaders in your organization can use to make better strategic decisions.

Pixel-perfect Reporting

There are many business intelligence tools that allow you to create pixel-perfect reports. That's something that you can also do with Crystal Reports, and it's actually something that this tool is pretty great at.

With pixel-perfect reporting, you have control of every component down to the individual pixel level. This operational report is thus created exactly to the specification required by you. Such high precision reports are very useful when it comes to making strategic business decisions.

Pixel-perfect reporting is also ideal for when a report needs to be created with a precise layout that can easily be scaled with large amounts of data with support for multiple file formats.

Detailed data analysis

Data that's spread across different databases isn't being utilized to its full potential. The only way you can get a sense of the complete picture is when all of the data is pooled into a centralized place to create reports and visualizations that include all of the tracked metrics.

Crystal Reports streamlines data analysis and really enables users to navigate data down to the granular level. They can use this tool to identify patterns in their data, filter and sort through it for a better overview, and integrate formulas to get more out of their tracked metrics.

It's easy to pull in data from multiple sources as well. Crystal Reports relies on straightforward data connection procedures and can connect to all sources with ODBC, OLE DB, JDBC, native and SAP connections. It enables users to bring data together from multiple sources into a single report.

Create interactive dashboards

With Crystal Reports, any data source that your organization uses can be transformed into an interactive dashboard with charts, tables, maps and logos. This puts actionable information at your fingertips that can be accessed online and offline from portals, applications and mobile devices.

This tool can be used to create the specific data view that's better suited to your business. This versatility is the reason why so many businesses rely on Crystal Reports to visualize their data sources.

The dashboard lets you easily analyze all of your business data with features like built-in sorting, ranking, formulas, conditional formatting, grouping, and parameters. Search capabilities are built into the software as well so finding any specific piece of data is possible as well.

Integrating Crystal Reports Into Your Custom Business Solution

By now, you have come to understand that Crystal Reports can be a great tool in your arsenal. You might be wondering if the implementation process is complicated or would require a significant investment on your part. It’s implementation is fairly straightforward as well, as there’s enough flexibility in the system to allow it to run through apps and mobile devices.

It’s possible that you may already have a custom software solution for your business, one that you use to track different metrics and to analyze the overall performance. You don’t need to scrap that solution in order to utilize Crystal Reports. This wouldn’t sit right with many business owners who have already invested significant resources in having their custom software solutions developed. Having to scrap that would be an incredible waste.

The great thing about this tool is that it can be integrated into your existing software solutions as well. So there’s no need to scrap your existing solutions and waste the investment that has already been made. The highly skilled developers at Zibtek can help you with the integration process.

Zibtek is one of the fastest growing software companies in the world. It counts both Fortune 500 companies and startups among its clients. Zibtek is based in the United States with offices in Salt Lake, Utah. It also manages a global talent pool of developers, engineers, quality assurance experts and mobile app developers that are all managed from within the United States.

It can help you get started with Crystal Reports integration quickly by assigning resources from its vast talent pool. This way, you can quickly take advantage of all of the powerful features that it offers. If you don’t have a custom business software solution and would like to have one developed, Zibtek can help you out with that as well.

The custom software development services that it provides are created with the goal of modernizing the operational and financial processes of your business. The idea is to minimize your manual tasks and automate the processes that can otherwise take up a lot of time. A centralized architecture and effective integration with tools like Crystal Reports ensures that your business workflows are improved and the overall efficiency is increased.

Get in touch with Zibtek today if you need help with any of this and they’ll be glad to help you out.