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1 Meeting the Challenges of Reporting and Dashboards In a Microsoft Software Environment SAP Thought Leadership Reporting and Dashboards

2 SAP Crystal Reports Server software encourages IT best practices by allowing reports to be processed on a separate server. This helps improve performance and scalability of both the database and reporting solution.

3 CONTENT 4 Executive Summary 5 Five Dashboard and Reporting Challenges 5 IT Best Practices 5 Single Solution for Reporting and Dashboards 5 Data-Driven Publishing 6 Licensing for Virtualization and Extranets 7 Beyond Reporting and Dashboards 8 SAP Crystal Reports Server 9 For More Information

4 Executive Summary Assessing Options for Reporting and Dashboards Initiating a business intelligence (BI) strategy can be intimidating for a small or midsize business. It s often seen as a complicated, jargon-filled arena that requires lots of high-priced expertise. Customers with SAP Crystal Reports Server software benefit from a single solu tion that com bines reporting and dash boards. This helps reduce admin istration effort and cost of owner ship, and simplifies ongoing maintenance. There is tension between delivering fast results economically and doing the right thing for long-term growth and flexibility. It s tempting to reach for the most convenient solution, but is that option really the best for the long run? There are many competing options for reporting and dashboard creation from multiple vendors. What presents the best overall solution for both immediate needs and long-term strategy? This thought leadership paper will discuss five challenges with implementing and using solutions for reporting and dashboards in a Microsoft software environment: IT best practices Single solution for reporting and dashboards Data-driven publishing Licensing for virtualization and extranets Beyond reporting and dashboards Reports are a familiar way to deliver desired business results and are within the comfort zone of many small organizations. Dashboards, the next step along the business intelligence continuum, deliver summarized results to decision makers. 4 SAP Thought Leadership Meeting the Challenges of Reporting and Dashboards

5 Five Dashboard and Reporting Challenges Optimizing for Your Microsoft Software Environment IT Best Practices Isolating your database server from other tasks like reporting is a well-known best practice for optimizing database performance and scalability. Combining report and database processing on the same server degrades overall performance and scalability. Challenge #1: Following industry best practices with third-party reporting solutions often requires purchasing another license, even though you only want to separate your report processing from your database processing. Encouraging IT best practices: The SAP Crystal Reports Server software encourages IT best practices by allowing reports to be processed on a separate server. This helps improve performance and scalability of both the database and reporting solution. Single Solution for Reporting and Dashboards Once customers are comfortable with reporting, they often require some dash boards to communicate summarized data with management and other stakeholders. Challenge #2: Combining reporting and dashboards with third-party solutions often requires two separate tools, increasing administration costs and reducing flexibility. Single solution for reporting and dashboards: Customers with SAP Crystal Reports Server benefit from a single solution that combines report ing and dashboards. This helps reduce administration effort and cost of owner ship and simplifies ongoing maintenance. Data-Driven Publishing Data-driven publishing involves the ability to distribute personalized reports to a dynamic list of recipients. The list of re cip ients usually includes ad dress es and other customization attri butes that can be referenced in the reports. This feature is popular for the mass distri bution of customized docu ments like invoices and customer statements. Challenge #3: Third-party solutions for data-driven publishing (also known as data-driven subscriptions) are often available only in an enterprise edition. Data-driven publishing for mass cus tom i zation: Customers with concurrent access licenses for SAP Crystal Reports Server benefit from data-driven publishing without a costly database upgrade. IT best practice: Run only database tasks on your database server. Reporting and other tasks should be run on separate servers. Customers with SAP Crystal Reports Server benefit from the same platform as SAP BusinessObjects Edge BI and SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise soft ware. Content created within SAP Crystal Reports Server can be migrated to these products in the future to drive more functionality, scalability, or both. SAP Thought Leadership Meeting the Challenges of Reporting and Dashboards 5

6 Licensing for Virtualization and Extranets Many software products designed their pricing and licensing schemes prior to the advent of virtualization. So vendors often use complicated rules to govern what you can and cannot do when using software in a virtualized environment, which can reduce the value of virtualization. SAP believes customers should consider their growth requirements along two dimensions: expanding deployments to more users, and expanding the software to deliver benefits to different user groups within the organization. Challenge #4: When using processor licensing with third-party solutions, adding and removing virtual processors to and from virtual servers can trigger licensing events. Reassigning licenses among physical servers is limited. These restrictions reduce the value of virtualization. In extranets where they do not have control over the browser being used, customers may lose functionality if they re not using Microsoft Internet Explorer. Maximize the benefits of virtualization and extranet deployments: Customers with SAP Crystal Reports Server can maximize the benefits of virtualization. Customers can add and remove virtual processors without triggering licensing events. They can move virtual machines around the data center without restriction. In addition, customers do not have to force external users to change their browser. All report-viewing features are available in all supported browsers: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari. Virtualization is a cost-saving tech nology that allows multiple virtual servers to run on a single physical server. Extranet deployments involve grant ing access to users outside the orga nization to log in to the reporting system and access reports. When deploying to extranets, other vendors often recommend processor licensing. This means that these complicated rules about processor licensing and virtual machines come into play if customers want to virtualize their external-facing extranet solution. 6 SAP Thought Leadership Meeting the Challenges of Reporting and Dashboards

7 Beyond Reporting and Dashboards When considering which reporting and dashboard tool to use, it s also important to consider your company s growth trajectory and changing needs over time. SAP believes customers should consider their growth requirements along two dimensions: expanding deployments to more users, and expanding the software to deliver benefits to differ ent user groups within the organization. Microsoft has recognized SAP s leadership in the area of planning and consolidation and has endorsed the SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation application, version for the Microsoft platform, as a preferred solution for customers running their business applications on the Microsoft platform. 1 If you re going to take that first step in BI with reporting and dashboards, it s important to understand how that impacts the second and third steps along your BI road map. Challenge #5: Consider your BI requirements for the next six months to two years. Include functionality require ments, capacity requirements for both internal and external users, and operational requirements. Consider factors such as whether your vendor offers solutions for data exploration and mobile BI. Functionality Planning and consolidation Predictive analytics Online analytical processing (OLAP) analysis Mobile BI Self-service query and analysis Data exploration Dashboards Reporting Reporting embedded in applications Master data management Data quality Data integration The safe first step for a long-term BI strategy: Customers with SAP Crystal Reports Server benefit from the same platform as SAP BusinessObjects Edge BI and SAP BusinessObjects Enter prise software. Content created within SAP Crystal Reports Server can be migrated to these products in the future to drive more functionality, scalability, or both. Performance optimization Business intelligence (BI) Reporting and dashboards Data services Embedded in applications Single server (hundreds of users) Capacity Multiserver (thousands of users) Figure: Business Intelligence Capacity and Functionality 1. SAP AG, SAP and Microsoft Team Up to Help Customers of All Sizes Improve Business Planning and Consolidations, press release, November 18, SAP Thought Leadership Meeting the Challenges of Reporting and Dashboards 7

8 SAP Crystal Reports Server The BI Solution for a Microsoft Software Environment If you re going to take that first step in BI with reporting and dash boards, it s important to under stand how that impacts the second and third steps along your BI road map. SAP Crystal Reports Server is a complete reporting and dashboard solution that complements and enhances your existing Microsoft software environment. It s a safe first step toward a BI strategy that builds on your familiarity with SAP Crystal Reports software and adds value by integrating dashboards from SAP Crystal Dashboard Design software and data-driven publishing functionality. Customers of SAP Crystal Reports Server benefit from: IT best practices achieved when report processing is run on a different server from database processing, enabling higher overall performance and scalability Not having to force extranet users to use a different browser, because all features work with all supported browsers Flexible licensing virtualization and extranet deployments Using data-driven publishing to distribute personalized information in all concurrent access license versions Smooth integration into the Microsoft software environment with: SharePoint portal integration kit SAP BusinessObjects Live Office software to integrate reporting and dashboards into Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents Support for Microsoft Windows Server and SQL Server Support for Microsoft Active Directory single sign-on Both.NET and Java application programming interfaces for integration into custom applications 8 SAP Thought Leadership Meeting the Challenges of Reporting and Dashboards

9 For More Information To learn more about how you can meet the challenges of reporting and dashboard creation, please use these resources: SAP Crystal Reports Server home page and evaluation download SAP Crystal Reports Server: A Functional Overview (data sheet) SAP Crystal Reports Cost Advantage (white paper) SAP Thought Leadership Meeting the Challenges of Reporting and Dashboards 9

10 (10/08) 2010 SAP AG. All rights reserved. SAP, R/3, SAP NetWeaver, Duet, PartnerEdge, ByDesign, SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG in Germany and other countries. Business Objects and the Business Objects logo, BusinessObjects, Crystal Reports, Crystal Decisions, Web Intelligence, Xcelsius, and other Business Objects products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trade - marks of Business Objects Software Ltd. in the United States and in other countries. All other product and service names mentioned are the trademarks of their respective companies. Data contained in this document serves informational purposes only. National product specifications may vary. These materials are subject to change without notice. These materials are provided by SAP AG and its affiliated companies ( SAP Group ) for informational purposes only, without representation or warranty of any kind, and SAP Group shall not be liable for errors or omissions with respect to the materials. The only warranties for SAP Group products and services are those that are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services, if any. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty.

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