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Access vs Crystal Reports

My organization is in the midst of making a reporting tool decision. On the
table are Crystal and the reporting functionality in Access.

- Report distribution is not a factor - it's all local
- Training time is a factor since we have to create a boatload of reports in
a short time
- The ability for users to modify report formats and data content is
required
- Cost is a factor - no one wants to spend too much money

The question: What facts can newsgroup members give me about the relative
strengths and weaknesses of both products?

FWIW - My Access approach to this was going to be to create a frontend form
that lets users define which records they want to report on and then let
them choose from a set of standard reports. I'd like to give my users the
ability to answer some of their own basic questions so they don't have to
knock on my door for every small modification. Reports that they create and
like can then be incorporated into the set of standard reports.
Nov 13 '05 #1
4 11422
IMHO this is a nobrainer, use Access at no cost, assuming that you
already have it, if you ever find something that you cannot do then
may'be look at Crystal.
The Access Report Generator is an excellent product for most reort
types.
Patrick
On Fri, 15 Oct 2004 16:52:52 -0400, "Rich Moser"
<rm************ @bigblackcat.co m> wrote:
My organization is in the midst of making a reporting tool decision. On the
table are Crystal and the reporting functionality in Access.

- Report distribution is not a factor - it's all local
- Training time is a factor since we have to create a boatload of reports in
a short time
- The ability for users to modify report formats and data content is
required
- Cost is a factor - no one wants to spend too much money

The question: What facts can newsgroup members give me about the relative
strengths and weaknesses of both products?

FWIW - My Access approach to this was going to be to create a frontend form
that lets users define which records they want to report on and then let
them choose from a set of standard reports. I'd like to give my users the
ability to answer some of their own basic questions so they don't have to
knock on my door for every small modification. Reports that they create and
like can then be incorporated into the set of standard reports.


Nov 13 '05 #2
Certainly if you already have one and not the other, the cost implications
of the change may make the decision for you.
I personally prefer Access over just about any other reporting tool I've
seen, but then, I'm a developer with a long track record with Access.
I haven't used Crystal much, but here are some considerations:
1. Crystal reports is a reporting tool only. There is absolutely no way
that a user with Crystal can change your data. Access is a more flexible
tool - if you don't want your users changing the data, you'll have to take
steps to prevent this.
2. An Access report is totally static; once it's been produced, you can't
do anything to it, except go back into design view, change it there, and
then re-run it. If you give your users a full version of Crystal, they can
do a lot of summing, moving around, etc. after they've run the report.
3. This is more on the order of a testimonial, but I've seen a user who was
generally computer-savvy but had never used Crystal sit down with a copy of
it. The interface was intuitive enough for her that she produced her first
report rapidly and with no visible frustration. I've never seen a new user
do that with Access.

HTH
- Turtle

"Rich Moser" <rm************ @bigblackcat.co m> wrote in message
news:10******** *****@news.supe rnews.com...
My organization is in the midst of making a reporting tool decision. On the table are Crystal and the reporting functionality in Access.

- Report distribution is not a factor - it's all local
- Training time is a factor since we have to create a boatload of reports in a short time
- The ability for users to modify report formats and data content is
required
- Cost is a factor - no one wants to spend too much money

The question: What facts can newsgroup members give me about the relative
strengths and weaknesses of both products?

FWIW - My Access approach to this was going to be to create a frontend form that lets users define which records they want to report on and then let
them choose from a set of standard reports. I'd like to give my users the
ability to answer some of their own basic questions so they don't have to
knock on my door for every small modification. Reports that they create and like can then be incorporated into the set of standard reports.

Nov 13 '05 #3
Excellent points - Thanks!

Additional thoughts...
- The ability for the users to change data does worry me a bit so I was
considering setting their access to the tables (Oracle via ODBC) to read
only.
- I was also able to create a report pretty easily in Crystal (via the
wizard) but I had more difficulty manipulating it in design mode.
- Crystal seems to offer a bunch of really sexy features (i.e. letting the
user click into a value to dive deeper into the data, etc.), I always
thought that stuff is nice but the real value of the data is unlocked when
users can see it and manipulate it themselves. Canned drilldowns rarely
seem to be worth the effort...sexy - yes, beneficial to the organization -
not really.

"Rich Moser" <rm************ @bigblackcat.co m> wrote in message
news:10******** *****@news.supe rnews.com...
My organization is in the midst of making a reporting tool decision. On
the table are Crystal and the reporting functionality in Access.

- Report distribution is not a factor - it's all local
- Training time is a factor since we have to create a boatload of reports
in a short time
- The ability for users to modify report formats and data content is
required
- Cost is a factor - no one wants to spend too much money

The question: What facts can newsgroup members give me about the relative
strengths and weaknesses of both products?

FWIW - My Access approach to this was going to be to create a frontend
form that lets users define which records they want to report on and then
let them choose from a set of standard reports. I'd like to give my users
the ability to answer some of their own basic questions so they don't have
to knock on my door for every small modification. Reports that they
create and like can then be incorporated into the set of standard reports.

Nov 13 '05 #4
RE/
- Report distribution is not a factor - it's all local
- Training time is a factor since we have to create a boatload of reports in
a short time
- The ability for users to modify report formats and data content is
required
- Cost is a factor - no one wants to spend too much money

The question: What facts can newsgroup members give me about the relative
strengths and weaknesses of both products?


I just finished a 1-year+ gig in which I was the SME on an existing system (that
I had written years before in MS Access) which the company was
re-writing/expanding in .NET/Crystal Reports.

The guys replicating my reports in Crystal were "challenged " to say the least.

IMHO for training time, ability of users to modify reports, and cost MS Access
wins hands-down. The version of Crystal that is needed for real-world
development is not the freebie that comes with .NET - so it costs.... whereas if
you have MS Office, you've already got everything there is Access-reportwise.

There are arguments for Crystal, but I don't they touch on your requirements.
--
PeteCresswell
Nov 13 '05 #5

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