Crystal Reports are a very powerful business intelligence tool which can be used to display information about your company in easy to digest report formats that can be disseminated to your business users. Their flexibility and adaptability allow them to query data from a wide variety of databases to derive actionable reports. With an experience report designer on your team you can use Crytal Report for everything from financial reports for your executives, to internal operations documents, to invoices and statements of account for customers. However, getting your reports designed to show relevant information is only the first step of the processs. You then need to run the report as frequently as it is required, and then distribute it to those that require it.
Manually running your reports can be a tedious and time consuming activity for your administrators. Larger reports can sometimes take a while to run, perhaps five or ten minutes. When reports need to be fed a series of different parameters depending on their user this can obviously multiple the time required by however many iterations of the report is required. Then there may be several different formats of the report may be required by different users. This means that the adminsitrator is going to have to convert the .rpt file into perhaps a PDF, Excel or Word document so that the end user can view it, edit it or incorporate it into a larger document.
Once the reports have been generated and correctly formatted the time comes to distribute them to the business users. This typcially involves an administrator going through an email list and sending the appropriate report as an email attachment to the relevant parties. Other companies use shared network locations where reports can be accessed or use services such as Sharepoint or Dropbox to share their reports. To get the report into these locations the adminstrator is going to have to open them up and paste in the report, perhaps creating a folder structure and naming convention while doing so.
While all of this manual reporting may have made sense five years the current reality is that most companies can ill afford to expend resources carrying out all of the tasks outlined above. The time lag alone involved in requesting a report to actually receiving it is enough to make any company reconsider their approach. The resources wasted carrying out the task should confirm the point.
All of these task can be carried out automatically using report scheduling software. Once you have created a schedule you can dynamically feed the report with the parameters it requires, and produce a report in the format that the user requires. Once generated the report can then be automatically forwarded to the business user's email address with the report attached, or embedded in the email, or both. The report can also be automatically placed in a shared folder location with a notification email or SMS sent to the user to let them know that the report is now available. Setting up schedules for your reporting also allows your reports to be generated overnight, when there is less loads on servers, so that your staff have all of the reports they need for that day awaiting them when they arrive to work.
To find out how you can use report scheduling software to automate your manual reporting with Crystal Reports sign up for a free trial of our CRD for Crystal Report software and one of our implementation specialists will be in touch to help you get started.