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The Rise and Rise of Crystal Reports and Xcelsius

15 Sep 2010

According to Gartner, SAP is one of the 15 BI providers worldwide to offer a tool for creating reports that are optimized for presentation and printing – in this case, the Report Designer. It can be used for formatted reporting, for example, for customer fact sheets and quarterly reports. However, in the end, the Report Designer was no match for SAP Crystal Reports, the market leader from the SAP BusinessObjects portfolio. In the area of dashboards, SAP’s homegrown Web Application Designer was conceived for IT departments and – unlike the new SAP BusinessObjects Xcelsius Enterprise software – could not be used directly by the business departments who provided the data. SAP BusinessObjects Xcelsius is easy for all employees to use, because it offers clear and insightful graphics with interaction opportunities. It is also Flash-based, so can be directly incorporated into Microsoft PowerPoint presentations.

SAP’s previous OLAP front end, the BEx Analyzer, and the similar SAP BusinessObjects Voyager are soon to be replaced by SAP BusinessObjects Advanced Analysis. It will continue to offer a Microsoft Excel mode and a Web front end, and will combine the strengths of the OLAP front end. With its SAP BusinessObjects portfolio, SAP is also now separating the reporting and analysis level from the data warehouse layer. This means that SAP BusinessObjects front ends can be deployed with different data warehouses or directly on the source system. This means that, as far as front ends are concerned, SAP’s strategy is clear. In the area of consolidation, four products are offered in parallel: EC-CS, SEM-BCS, SAP BusinessObjects Business Planning and Consolidation, and SAP Business Objects Financial Consolidation. In the midmarket segment for companies comprising between 500 to 5,000 employees, the SAP BusinessObjects Business Planning and Consolidation application is the undisputed leader, because it enables business departments to manage all the necessary applications themselves.