Crystal Reports has built two decades of success on the notion that a Report is more than just the sum of data, but requires analysis, descriptions, and insight to be effective.
Crystal Reports for Business Reporting
Crystal Reports is built on the idea that data is only part of the story. The Crystal Reports toolset gives businesses the ability to combine both the data from your systems with the analysis from your team into a single, elegant solution.
Not every data problem requires a data analysis tool to be effective. In some cases, the story our data tells is just as important, or more important, than the data points themselves. Many tools exist on the market to help business users combine, compiles, and analyze different data sources, but what we do with that data so that we can make informed and effective decisions often shakes out through a combination of screenshots, exports, documents, and slide decks. Crystal Reports works to combine these two functions into a single application, allowing companies to merge in data to keep tables, charts, and visualizations up to date within the reports, while also providing an effective canvas on which users can additionally tell the story. By weaving data, images, and text together in a single toolset, decision makers have the full story.
Crystal Reports has lived a long life, and been on quite a journey. The tool has been developed, acquired, sold, updated, and otherwise survived in multiple iterations, for two decades. Once considered a solid enterprise tool, the slow march of time has caught up to large parts of Crystal Reports' functionality, positioning it now as a really effective and incredibly nuanced SMB reporting package. All the hallmarks of Crystal Reports are still present -- the user interface feels very much like a Windows application; data sets, SQL queries, and report incorporate are still primarily the purview of the data analyst, and the output is more PowerPoint than dynamic TED talk. All that being said, let's not sell short the power this application still retains. Crystal Reports still does a great job of providing multiple ways to connect to external data sets, combine and manipulate those into a report, and weave a story around those visualizations in a way that few other tools provide. While PowerBI or Tableau offer more sophisticated visualizations, neither is a report building tool, meaning their outputs only tell part of the story. Crystal is one of the few options that still speaks to the corporate boardroom audience, incorporating both aspects under a single roof.
Crystal reports isn't for every business. Most importantly, Crystal still requires a fairly technical person to build effective reports. The tool is still the playground of the Business Analyst, and that person does not always have visibility into all aspects of the business to tell the full story. As a result, multiple participants will likely need to contribute to the creation of meaningful deliverables. Additionally, when compared to a tool like Tableau or PowerBI, the visualizations will feel somewhat data. However, for the company with either the right person / group to own Crystal, or a capable external vendor to help in managing the structure, Crystal Reports still offers an incredibly powerful tool in the reporting capabilities of the SMB market. It continues to be one of the most widely used reporting tools in the world for a reason: It's effective in achieving results, it's deep in features, and it's an understood quantity in the marketplace.
For GRAYBOX, data matters, but so does storytelling. Our consultants are pragmatic, and will make recommendations that meet your business goals effectively. For the SMB business looking for a tool that allows them to consolidate multiple business reporting functions into a single tool, Crystal Reports offers a compelling software package. With flexibility and depth of features at its core, Crystal Reports may be exactly what your team needs to bridge the gap of data and decisions.
Small and mid-sized business options
Crystal Reports has bifurcated their product offerings to meet the needs of both small and mid-sized businesses. This allows companies to get a product specific to their level of need.
Mobile Device Accessibility
Reporting and business storytelling has to be available in more than just a PowerPoint. Crystal Reports has incorporated mobile device accessibility to their tools to ensure your reports are available in the formats, and on the devices, your decision makers need.
Reports - Not just Dashboards
Crystal Reports is predicated on the notion that a report is more than just a summary of data, or a color visualization. A report tells a story about that data, and informs the user about its meaning, so timely and informed decisions can be made for the business.