Whither BO WebIntelligence and Crystal Reports?

Whither BO WebIntelligence and Crystal Reports?

Post by traphil » Sat, 03 Apr 2004 00:32:36

Am I correct in thinking that Business Objects is promoting Crystal
Enterprise now as its primary reporting offering (with WebI being
relegated to a support role for relational queries only)? I'm a little
confused to say the least. I'm also aware that 'old' Crystal
Reports/Analysis was relatively poor on OLAP functionality vs (my
favourite) Express but has that improved now in later versions - is it
comparable to say MS OLAP for ease of use and performance?

Whither BO WebIntelligence and Crystal Reports?

Post by Nigel Pend » Sat, 03 Apr 2004 01:06:54

You can't compare an OLAP server like MS Analysis Services with client
tools like Crystal Analysis Professional. Now that Holos is dead,
BO/Crystal doesn't have an OLAP server, and Microsoft doesn't currently
offer a serious OLAP front-end. However, MS Reporting Services (MRS) can
be used to produce static formatted reports from Analysis Services, just
as Crystal Reports can. Neither is great at the job, but at least MRS
comes free with the server.

And among the many available client tools for Analysis Services, Crystal
Analysis Professional is far from the best, and it's perhaps surprising
that Business Objects has chosen this rather than WebI OLAP as its
preferred client tool for accessing OLAP servers. In essence, both
Business Objects and Crystal were relatively weak at accessing OLAP
servers anyway, and putting them together isn't likely to improve things
in this area any time soon.

As an aside, I don't think that Business Objects regards relational
queries as something less important than OLAP. They probably would think
of Crystal Analysis Professional as being relegated to the OLAP task,
with WebI freed to concentrate on interactive relational reporting.


Whither BO WebIntelligence and Crystal Reports?

Post by chris.ree » Sun, 11 Apr 2004 02:30:37

I just wanted to add a couple things to this discussion. I have been
a consultant on Crystal products for a number of years and have been
following the product merger very closely. Nigel makes a good point,
that neither Crystal Analysis nor Webi are OLAP servers. They are
client analysis tools to access an OLAP server.

Regarding positioning of the products, they are not relgating Webi to
a support role, and in my opinion, they are putting Crystal Analysis
in the support role. If you take a look at the product roadmap
(www.businessobjects.com/presentations), Crystal Analysis is lumped in
with Crystal Reports and Webi sits atop the "Query and Analysis"
product tier. BOBJ is going to continue to promote their OLAP tool as
their Ad-Hoc query and analysis tool for real time analysis. Sorry
for throwing in all the industry marketing term ;-)

Nigel's "Aside" at the end of his post is actually a good summary of
the direction I think they are heading.

Good luck.

Whither BO WebIntelligence and Crystal Reports?

Post by Nigel Pend » Wed, 14 Apr 2004 18:21:25

think you'll find that BO will be building its OLAP server access on
Crystal Analysis, not WebI and MDX Connect. WebI will be ther basis for
intercative relational analysis. Effectively, BO is dumping the OLAP
technology it acquired with OLAP@Work and replacing it with the
technology it acquired with Crystal.

"Chris R." < XXXX@XXXXX.COM > wrote in message


Whither BO WebIntelligence and Crystal Reports?

Post by traphil » Wed, 14 Apr 2004 21:07:35

Many thanks for your replies. The assumption is that WebI and Crystal
will both continue albeit serving their own particular reporting type
requirements. My own organisation though is under the impression that
WebI will be phased out as a specific product offering and will be
replaced by Crystal (rebadged as BO). I understand we've learned this
from our account managers. Time will tell I suppose.

Whither BO WebIntelligence and Crystal Reports?

Post by Nigel Pend » Wed, 14 Apr 2004 21:19:04

The interactive analysis of relational data will be based on current BO
technology (thin and thick client). Formal reporting and analysis of
data from OLAP servers will be based on current Crystal technology. The
semantic layer will be based on BO universes, but the infrastructure for
high volume reporting will be largely based on Crystal Enterprise. The
only stuff to disappear will be the former OLAP@Work technology used in
MDX Connect, WebI and the Excel add-in.

Of course, all will be badged as BusinessObjects, but with version
numbers folling the Crystal series.