From SAP Crystal Reports to SAP BusinessObjects – P3

DSCallards Will Provide!
Praetura Asset Finance (PAF) offers tailored funding options such as asset-based finance, hire purchase, finance leasing and refinancing. Always ahead of the technology curve, Daryl Johnson, Deputy Managing Director, decided to deploy SAP BusinessObjects and this is the third of his four-part guide of their experience when migrating up towards the world-leading Business Intelligence solution.
Part Three

In comes DSCallards …

I organised both consultancy and 1-1 training with DSCallards and began the journey towards the centre of the “universe” (pun intended).

Okay, so time for some detail on what I got for my hard-earned cash.

Central Management Console (CMC)

This is the heart of SAP BusinessObects. (By the way, we call our system BOBI – Business Objects Business Intelligence. It manages everything in the BO environment. Servers, files, users, and much much more).

Information Design Tool (IDT)

This is used to map the source data and create the business words for the technical field names. I am deliberately avoiding using the correct terminology like Data Foundation, Semantic layer, and Data Federation as they are just ‘white noise’ in here. It used to be called the Universe Design Tool (UDT) – mmm,, seems like a good name for what the software is and does. I wonder why they changed it? No matter what your source data is, CSV, Excel, Access, SQL Server, or Oracle, etc, you still end up with a universe. Oh well, I’m sure someone out there can explain why the name change?

SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise (CR4E)

What?! There’s another incarnation of SAP Crystal Reports? Why didn’t I know about this? Ah, this works with Universes, which SAP Crystal Reports doesn’t. For me CR4E is what SAP Crystal Reports should be. As soon as you open CR4E you can see that they have spent a lot more development time and effort to create a better user experience. The SAP Crystal Reports interface hasn’t changed much in all the time I have been using it, but CR4E is a much better user interface. More intuitive, more modern look and feel, and they’ve moved everything! Arghhh! I have to re-learn how to use SAP Crystal Reports. Actually, it’s not too bad and I picked it up fairly easily.

Live Office

Ooh, now this is interesting. It’s an add-in for MS Office. In my case it’s an add-in for MS Excel. Ahhh! My users can use this as they are familiar with Excel. The add-in allows a user to run a query against a universe (or other data source) and then populate the spreadsheet with the result. Normal excel functionality can then be performed on the data. One slight annoyance is that no matter what order you list your query in, it outputs it in the order of the universe Data Foundation tables. Hopefully SAP will fix this at some point.


Used to create interactive dashboards (multiple charts of data created via queries). I’m sure the latest sci-fi films are using SAP dashboards when they present a big wall-mounted screen with lots of dynamic charts on it!

SAP Lumira

Creates static dashboards similar in style to Dashboards. It’s at version two and according to SAP has a limited life and no real development planned. I tried it but found it too unstable to use so moved my infographics to WEBI.

Web Intelligence (WEBI)

Does what it says on the box. It provides a web interface to create reports and dashboards. Again, this is done via a query against your universe.

SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC)

This is SAP’s latest offering and unlike all the other software is a cloud-based product. It’s similar to SAP Lumira and Dashboards. You can see my previous blog for my story on SAC.

Posted by , Deputy Managing Director, Praetura Asset Finance,, 9th August 2018

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