Monday, 11 October 2010

Best Practices in SAP Crystal Report Design

Simply put, a methodology is a repeatable documented process. When applied to Crystal Report creation, it can be defined as a specification document or sign-off document. It is important also to consider asking questions to fully understand the report requirement and to think about continuity across a suite of reports.

This can be broken down into the following headings.

    * Define the requirements
    * Create a specification document
    * Create a connection to the data source
    * Build the report
    * Test the report
    * Deploy the report
    * Maintain the report

 It is also useful to have a business need for a report. Define what business problems could be solved by the production of your report. Create a statement that will define the report's purpose in two simple sentences.

Then, further analysis into the detail of the report can be derived.

    * Define the report consumers i.e. include information for all parties.
    * Define the data used i.e. which data source to connect to and how to join the tables  together.
    * Define the template i.e. where header and footer information should appear in the report.
    * Define the fields required i.e. the body of the report (detail section).
    * Determine the record sorting and sequencing i.e. sorting and grouping.
    * Define the summaries required i.e. subtotals and grand totals.
    * Define the report filtering i.e. do you want to see ALL records.
    * Determine if there are any calculations required i.e. user-defined formulae.
    * Determine if the data needs to be presented visually i.e. charts.
    * Determine what format the report will be delivered or distributed in i.e. exported, printed or published.

A report specification document should include the information in points 1-10 above. But to be fully complete, it is worth considering additional criteria.

    * Will there be any prompts for the report consumer to complete before the report is run.
    * Will the report require drill down functionality.
    * Can all the data be derived from the same data source.
    * How will I document the report fully.
    * How will I achieve sign off from the report requester.

Hopefully, this brief overview will give you a good starting point for your reporting project.

This blog was written by Steve Chapman, Senior BI Consultant DSCallards.

1 comment:

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    SAP Consultancy UK