As most of you are probably aware, we will be releasing updated versions of SAP Crystal Reports in the coming months. Yes, that's correct versions ... with an "s". While, at the surface, it may seem that we have done this merely to confuse our customers, I assure you that we do not have any sort of underhanded, nefarious reason behind our decision. This was done purely out of a need to innovate and provide something that is more efficient for our community of report creators and application developers.
The two versions under discussion are SAP Crystal Reports 2011 and SAP Crystal Reports for enterprise. The objective for this post is differentiate between these two versions and provide guidance for which types of deployments should make use of them upon initial release.
The first version, SAP Crystal Reports 2011, is simply an updated version of the current one that is in the market today; namely Crystal Reports 2008. The interface looks the same and it provides the same functionality as the current version. Also, we have not removed any functionality. The only change is that we have added two new features and support for new platforms. To learn more about the new features added in SAP Crystal Reports 2011, SAP Crystal Reports 2011 Overview
The second version, SAP Crystal Reports for enterprise, is where we have invested the majority of our efforts for this release. This new designer has been built from the beginning so that it will streamline the report creation and modification process. We designed the interface and features SAP Crystal Reports for enterprise Initial Design Research.
In addition to designing for the purpose of more efficient report design and modification, the initial release of this new designer is targeted at those deployments that want to provide business semantics on top of their data, leverage multiple BI clients from the SAP BI 4.0 Suite, or that need to access data from SAP BW cubes or SAP BEx queries.
For information on all of the new features that are included in the SAP Crystal Reports for enterprise release, check out this video from the Enterprise Reporting Solution Manager, Henry Kam.
For more information on SAP Crystal Reports for enterprise data access via the new Common Semantic Layer, pleasee the following:
- SAP Crystal Reports for enterprise - Describe how the Semantic Layer Works
- SAP Crystal Reports for enterprise - Create a Report
For more information on the other BI clients in the SAP BI 4.0 Suite, please see the following landing pages for learning content:
- SAP BusinessObjects Explorer 4.0
- SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0
- SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence 4.0
- SAP BusinessObjects Analysis 4.0 eLearning Catalog
In addition, it would be helpful to review the following what's new video and associated PDF.
For more information on leveraging SAP Crystal Reports for enterprise against SAP BW and SAP BEx queries, please see the excellent posts and videos by SAP Mentor Ingo Hilgefort.
While the initial scope for this release may seem narrow, the plan going forward is that this new designer becomes the foundation for all Crystal Reports releases post BI 4.0. As such, the majority of our feature innovation will go into this new designer and its associated APIs and engines.
Of course, there are some feature gaps when comparing the new designer to SAP Crystal Reports 2011 and prior (a link to this document will be added when it's available). So, in addition to adding new features and innovations, we will also focus on closing those gaps; ensuring that we focus on the most critical first.
I want to close this post by saying that we know that adoption of this new designer will take some time. As you read, the initial scope for the first release is limited. We knew that we could not make the new designer do everything that the current designer can do while also providing innovation and a solid release at the same time. As such, we intentionally limited the scope to ensure that we could provide a stable report designer that can execute its intended tasks very well. With this comes some additional work for SAP. Not only will we need to give our customers compelling reasons to think about moving to the new version, but we also need to ensure that customers that decide not to move are able to continue using the current designer for its supported lifecycle. This means that, while we do not intend to add new features to the SAP Crystal Reports 2011 code line, we do intend to stay current on supported platforms.
I hope that this post, and the posts to which it linked, have provided a good overview of the differences between the SAP Crystal Reports 2011 designer and the new SAP Crystal Reports for enterprise designer. If you have any questions, please post them in the comments or on our forums. In addition, if you have suggestions for improvements to the SAP Crystal Reports for enterprise designer, please post them on Idea Place. We are listening and we do take your feedback very seriously as we decide what features to improve or add to the product.
Thanks for reading.