CrystalKiwi Bursting Report Sender
CrystalKiwi Bursting Report Sender
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|CrystalKiwi Bursting lets you send a personalized report to multiple recipients; works with Windows Server and Windows XP machines, and can operate in a terminal server environment. Built using the Crystal Reports 2011 and Dot Net Framework 4.0, it supports the latest versions of Windows and Crystal Reports. Free 30-day trial.|
| General |
| Do you need to send a personalized report to multiple recipients? With report bursting, these reports can be sent via email, saved to disk, or sent to a printer. |
Most schedulers include report bursting functionality. But what if that functionality is all you want? Then you can install CrystalKiwi Bursting for that purpose and have a much smaller footprint.Installation/usage note:
It's usually best not to install a report distribution tool on the same machine as Crystal Reports. The issue is that you do not want different versions of Crystal Reports running reports at the same time, causing conflicts. That also means not having other schedulers such as Business Objects Enterprise or Business Objects Report Server on the same machine as our schedulers.
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Report Design Tip
| This tip has nothing to do with our product, but we want our customers to be successful report designers. |
Many of us have come from a data-oriented background. You may have spent long hours in spreadsheets, analyzing data. You may have spent long hours in databases, developing queries and looking at rows of data in tables.
You've probably worked so much with data that you think in terms of the data container (e.g., cells, rows and columns, tables). You have probably gone a step beyond that to work with the relationships between data containers as you join them together.
This is great when you are working in data. It is not so great when you are working in reports. Unfortunately, most reports are nothing more than reformatted data. Often, the report developer isn't thinking beyond the query level. That's unfortunate, because Crystal Reports is designed specifically to move past it.
The typical report is, in essence, a data query with nice formatting. This leaves a tremendous amount of value unrealized. If you're the report developer or administrator, putting out these kinds of reports makes you far less valuable to your company than you could be. And during staff cutbacks, that's personally important. Adding irony to the situation, staff cutback decisions are typically made by Excel spreadsheet. Of course, that's why those cutbacks often don't make sense. They aren't made based on business intelligence but on rudimentary analysis of partial data.
You need to ensure your reports contain business information, not business data. They need to be decision tools, not intermediary data sources.
So, what are you to do? Start by determining what business questions need answering. For example:
When people want to export data to Excel, they are usually attempting to answer questions not directly answered by the data. In the examples above, you would have to perform analysis in the report, using formulas and other tools available in the reporting software.
The data approach
The normal approach is to start with the database and push data to the users. No matter how you dress up data, you still have data. You do not have information. Data are raw materials and information is a finished product.
Suppose you walk into a Toyota dealer and say you need transportation. Do you expect to walk out of there with a container of parts, or to drive out of there in a car? That is the difference between data and information.
When you shove data at people, they try to assemble the data into information. Which is why you have all these folks wasting millions of salary-hours manipulating spreadsheets instead of doing the jobs they are paid to do.
End-users need analysis, trends, conclusions, snapshots, summaries, thumbnails, overviews, projections, comparisons, and other things that are very different from data. When they don't have those things, out come the spreadsheets.
Which leads us to...
Start with the business questions. Talk with the senior executives (who may or may not be on your existing distribution list), and ask each one to tell you what the top three business questions are. If they give you more, that's OK. Compile a list, and see what data you would need for you to answer those questions with your reports.
Next, repeat this process with the people who are already on your distribution list. You're now ready to determine what will be reported.
Why talk with the senior executives, first? Those are the folks who run your company, so figure out what they want. Providing that helps secure your job and future raises in no small way. But it also helps you build the correct framework for your entire process, so that all users are marching to the same tune. You have to start at the beginning, not in the middle. By definition, middle managers can't see the big picture.
This raises another point. Surveys conducted between 2005 and 2008 showed that senior executives rarely have an accurate picture of their organization or the conditions under which it operates. They have a much rosier view, because people generally try to please them. These same people lack the time to dig through the data to see the real picture. In most companies, senior executives also lack the skills to do so. This means the data-oriented reports they get are essentially useless. If you are in charge of those reports, what does this say about your value to the company?
If you provide the senior executives with the business information they need, and you provide middle managers with the business information they need plus the business information the senior executives are working from, how do you think this will affect the effectiveness of management to make good decisions?
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