Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Smarter Reports with Crystal Reports

Time and time again one of the main reasons why people first approach us is that they need a faster more responsive reporting system.

Whether or not they already have Crystal Reports within their business they often need to solve the problem that their reporting is time consuming and business users still need to “remember “  to go searching for information or even worse ask IT to run reports for them. But by focusing on a specific issue, they often don’t realise how much more of an impact Crystal can have on their business.

In one of our upcoming events we’ll be showing not only how  scheduling reports to run can ensure that business decision makers get their updated report in time for the Monday morning meeting, but to go a step further and ensure they receive an important updated report before they even know they need it! 

To put that in to context let me give you an example, with a recent customer of mine.

Charlotte works as a finance manager for a medium sized manufacturing company based in Manchester and she’s been using Crystal Reports 2008 for a few years, every month she’s tasked with maintaining good cash flow within the organisation …but every month she has to trail through multiple reports to work out which customers are late with their payments and take action accordingly. This process often took many hours, and would on occasion lead to mistakes. When talking this through with Charlotte we realised that we could save her and her team many hours by utilising  reports that would be based on conditional criteria that when a date was reached without a payment against it, a report was automatically run and sent out to Charlotte so that she could act. The impact of that was huge for Charlotte and her team, saving each team member on average 5 hours a month. In addition, this approach benefited her boss who would be also receive the report, and would be able to see at a glance any discrepancies and address them with her during their monthly meetings. 
Another issue for Charlotte, and one we also hear about regularly, is the duplication of effort. Specifically when she needed to send out customer statements, this meant she needed to manually run reports for every customer that was due a statement that month (which could be over 200) and then attach it to an email, and then send it. “It’s a really, really mundane task, but necessary”. 

Now, this issue is addressed by one of my favourite features of SAP Crystal Server 20011, “Data Driven Publications” (or report bursting if you like). This allows the administrator to very easily set-up personalised reports to be delivered to the customers at scheduled intervals. So Charlotte could specify the statement report she wanted to send out to a defined list of recipients, every month, and the report publication feature would automatically run the report but with multiple subsets of secured data for each customer, meaning just 1 single report runs, is converted to PDF and is emailed. Charlotte doesn’t even need to remember to lift a finger! She can now dedicate more time to higher value activities for the business, which again pleases her boss no end.

Now put these scenarios into your own reporting environment and hopefully you can get a feel for how it can affect your business…….things like, being able to immediately reacting to a low stock levels to avoid losing sales, or identify high stock levels, saving thousands of pounds on overstocking and unnecessary capital tie- up. Perhaps it an underperforming sales team that is highlighted the minute they underperform rather than at the end of the quarter? All of these scenarios are common, and there a 100’s more that can be addressed, just with these two capabilities.  

So, back to my original question, what difference could SAP Crystal Server make to your business? 

I would say don’t just take my word for it, let us show you and sign up for one of our popular seminars!  Click here to register. 

About the author:  Sue Mitchell is a Senior Crystal Solutions Specialist at DSCallards – the UK Number 1SAP Crystal Reseller

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