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What's New in SAP Crystal Reports and SAP Crystal Server 2020?

What's New in SAP Crystal Reports and SAP Crystal Server 2020?

SAP Crystal Reports 2020 (desktop designer software)

SAP have released a new version of their iconic operational reporting tool SAP Crystal Reports. Called SAP Crystal Reports 2020 it maintains the traditional aspects of the tool that have made it such a success over the years and adds a few extras to help it maintain its position within the marketplace.

What Does It Look Like?

Well it’s identical to the previous version so there is no great hurdle to upgrading for existing users, no re-training will be required.

A New Licence Key is Required

If you decide to upgrade from 2016 to 2020 this will require a new license key, you will be prompted after the upgrade once you open the application. If you need assistance with requesting this, please let us know, or if want to buy a new license – customers who bought stand-alone SAP Crystal Reports licences for previous versions may need to purchase an upgrade licence.

64-bit Only!

The new system requires 64-bit connections: finally, you say! The majority of operating systems nowadays are 64-bit, meaning that SAP Crystal Reports 2020 can utilise the full power a 64-bit OS has to offer. No longer is it limited in the amount of memory it can address while processing your report.

It does mean you will need to install 64-bit ODBC drivers in order to connect to your databases, or 64-bit client drivers depending on your method of connection. This will be an improvement for some as it modernises and streamlines some processes for IT; however users with older/unsupported datasources should beware, and check with their database supplier to see if 64-bit drivers are available.

It also means connecting to MS Excel is much easier from SAP Crystal Reports, as most of us are using Office 2016 64-bit or Office 365 64-bit already. There is now no need to install that pesky, hard-to-find 32-bit version.

Export to Layout and Data Only options for .XLSX files

In the previous versions of SAP Crystal Reports (2013 and 2016) there was the option to export to ‘Data Only’ format for .xlsx files, and nothing else. Now the ‘Layout’ option exists as well – so that your charts and tables will more closely resemble your formatted report when exported.

Maintaining the tried-and-tested versatility of SAP Crystal Reports while bringing it up to date ensures that the tool provides great value for any organisations seeking to access and report on their data.

SAP Crystal Server 2020

The latest version of SAP Crystal Server is SAP Crystal Server 2020, released very recently and featuring a new look to a powerful, flexible reporting platform.

SAP Crystal Server 2020 gives you access to:

  • a state-of-the-art browser-based platform with sophisticated security and scheduling options
  • a brand-new user-interface design.
  • the Information Design Tool for building ‘universes’ (semantic layers) to simplify and expand your reporting options
  • SAP Crystal Reports 2020
  • SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise 4.3
  • SAP Live Office 4.3 for integrating your data with MS Office.

SAP Dashboard Design and SAP Explorer are no longer available – they have been removed from the platform due to end of life of Adobe Flash software.

So, what’s new and exciting about SAP Crystal Server 2020?

  • Schedule content within business hours – what used to require events and Windows batch files can now be achieved simply in the scheduling options.
  • Mark reports as favourites so you can access them direct from the home screen.
  • You can schedule reports to two destinations in one instance – so email and file locations can be sent to in one go – potentially halving your time spent maintaining reports.
  • Creating publications via the BI Launch Pad is now possible! Before-hand publications were setup within the CMC, well now you can give the users the power in the BI Launch Pad to setup their own.
  • Expose SAP Crystal Reports 2020 report output as OData data-source, which can then be used within SAP Analytics Cloud! This gives you an opportunity to manipulate data in a report and then pass that on to the new SAC system with all its ML/AI power and visualisation options.
  • Improved Tomcat security via the updated Apache software bundled with the platform.

Viewing Reports via the New BI LaunchPad

The URL has remained the same http://:port/BOE/BI for end users, but the look and feel of the portal has changed significantly:

The old home-screen has been replaced and brought into line with SAP’s new Fiori interface which adorns much of its other products. This means tiles, blue-grey accents and colours, ‘three dot’ buttons and menus and refreshed icons and logos.

In appearance it is closer to the new SAP Analytics Cloud product than to the old CS Launchpad – and for good reason as there are close alignments being developed between the on-premise platform and the cloud platform.

Navigating Folders

Existing users of SAP Crystal Server will be able to find their way about in the new system but there are some surprises and unexpected features.

Below is what the new folder structure looks like, relatively straight-forward you would think, but in fact it doesn’t work in the same way the old one did. Instead of a right-click to reveal the view/schedule options, you click on the ‘three dot’ button on the right of each report.

Viewing an SAP Crystal Report

Select the report from the list on the right and the report will open, any prompt windows will look the same as they always did and then you will be bought through to the viewer.

Closing open reports – there are no tabs in this BI Launch Pad.

There are no tabs anymore in the launch pad, but you can still have multiple reports open at once. To manage them or move between them, click on the drop-down arrow by the text BI Launch Pad. To close the reports once you have finished with them, use the X beside each one.

The platform has always offered a solid and secure base for your potentially business-critical reporting. Now it is refreshed with a more streamlined flow to your tasks, a look and feel that fits with the SAP design-ethos, and extra functionality to improve your quality of reporting-life!

Posted By Keith Fisher and Rebecca Morris, Senior BI Consultants on 4th September 2020

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