Crystal Report Software is critical to serving, publishing, and scheduling reports. For smaller firms, only a dozen or two reports need to be published at any given time. In larger firms, thousands of reports could be delivered every day or even every hour. With all of this information rapidly zipping about, how do you keep track of it all? An Excel spreadsheet would be an incorrect answer. Most Crystal Report software should have a built in auditing and tracking system designed to monitor all reporting activities. Knowing the current status of reports (success or failure), who or how those reports were triggered, as well as where those reports were published to are important components of a good auditing system.
Understanding the disposition of the system’s reports is important. An interface that can quickly identify which reports are due to run as well which running will help you identify stress points in your reporting system. Naturally a system that displays which reports have failed can assist in tracking down problems. A calendar view can also help admins realize that too many reports are running at the same time, causing a bottle neck. In cases of report failure, the tracking system should be able to identify where the process failed. Did the email fail to send, or rather the report failed while it was generating? This knowledge helps admins understand their reporting volume, how it impacts their resources, and ways they can maximize their reporting infrastructure.
Larger organizations tend to have multiple users administrating Crystal Reports. In environments where reports are run on demand, there could be numerous users viewing Crystal Reports. Crystal Report software should have the ability to track user activities. Knowing which users executed reports or which individuals have scheduled reports to run is critical to report quality control. For example, if a user schedules a report to run at 9 AM, but the report can take upwards of 10 minutes to generate, or the report in question is pulling incorrect data. The user can be coached by the administrator to schedule the report to accommodate the time delay, or ensure that the user is selecting the correct parameter values or formats.
Where the report goes is as important as knowing who sent it, or whether or not it succeeded. Which email addresses were the reports sent to? Does the said email addresses have proper permission to receive reports? Can the read and delivery receipts be tracked to ensure users are receiving reports? Answering these questions help address the need for report security, as well as a means to ensure internal reports are being delivered to corporate addresses rather than a Yahoo account. In cases of sending reports to locations such as file directories, FTP sites, or SharePoint URLs, Crystal Report software should be able to track where reports have been sent to these locations as well.
The ability to track and audit Crystal Reports is important to the overall distribution process. Understanding report distribution success rates, as well as monitoring user activity helps administrators identify areas for improvement, and increase reporting efficiency. System quality is improved as well as overall system security. In other words, how does one know how well the reporting infrastructure is doing if there isn’t a tool to track it?