The marketplace is flooded with solutions that turn volumes of data into attractive charts and graphs. Alone these charts and graphs don't solve your problems.
When you are considering the best products for BI analysis and process, and your dashboard reporting, you need a tool that gathers all of your important data together for you in one place and allows you to easily visualize it in a meaningful way. Ideally, you'll utilize a product that enables everyone on your team to answer their own business questions, simplify and encourage collaboration, all while alerting you to important changes, outlying anomalies, and trends.
To help you determine the best business dashboard for your needs, we're breaking down a comparison of IBM Cognos and SAP Crystal Reports. You will learn about their unique design, reporting, and integration capabilities. Plus, the distinct ways these two products will provide valuable insight into your business intelligence.
Design Capabilities of IBM Cognos & SAP Crystal Reports
The IBM Cognos interface is clean and intuitive. From the welcome screen you can access the various interfaces including; Cognos Connection, Cognos Administrator, Business Insight, and also various studios. Some of the many business intelligence dashboard design capabilities are;
- Create and deliver visually appealing, high-quality reports to multiple users and collaborators.
- Create complicated reports with drag-and-drop ease of use.
- Personalization and customizing of reports to suit individual purposes.
- Report creation and modification simplified for business authors by extending authority to a broader audience.
- Customize a variety of delivery options and provides access to reporting analytics across multiple device platforms, i.e., iPhone, iPad, Android, and Blackberry.
- Create and customize dashboards in Business Insights with new design elements like storytelling, pinning and cross tabs.
SAP Crystal Reports:
SAP Crystal Reports has a common user interface with other BI dashboards, utilizing the same charting library. The interface that makes dashboard reporting an easier process. Here are several of the design capabilities.
- Quickly design attractive business reports using a "what you see is what you get" (WYSIWYG) editor that offers popular design options like integration and deployment options.
- Faster report design features like duplicate formula global formula search, running total, "find-in-field" search and more.
- Automatically create hyperlinks and generate bar codes using wizards.
- Integration of powerful components such as Adobe Flash, Adobe Flex, duplicate formula, and SAP Crystal BI Dashboard Design data visualizations.
- Convey information with enhanced designer features.
- Visualize "what-if" scenarios using SAP Crystal Dashboard.
Reporting Capabilities of IBM Cognos & SAP Crystal Reports
Today, most business reports are pieced together from multiple data sources, including e-mail, databases, social media analytics and spreadsheets. Yet despite the volume of data it is often difficult to make quick and confident decisions that your business demands. When data is either outdated, irrelevant, or presented in a static form, decision makers must work extra hard for meaningful reporting analysis. Here are the best dashboard reporting features of IBM Cognos and SAP Crystal Reports.
- Dashboard reporting templates and styles with various features.
- One simple web-based interface to create ad-hoc or pixel-perfect reports.
- Consistent reporting integrity regardless of inputs.
- Data protection controls, whether creating one report for many or many users are collaborating on one report.
- Reports can be created directly from a data source.
- Easily combine many data sources into one.
- Automatically generate data models based on single or multiple keywords.
SAP Crystal Reports:
- Creation of highly formattable reports.
- Easy report formatting with templates and wizards.
- Settings to auto-refresh data.
- Explore data results interactively using "on-report" sort and filter.
- Set, sort, and format from a single parameter panel.
- Supports combination of multiple data sources, databases, spreadsheets, text files, XML, groupware, API, and all SAP sources.
System Integration Capabilities of IBM Cognos & SAP Crystal Reports
Cognos Integration Server extracts all data and security profiles and transfers them into open data warehouses and repositories and organizes them for use in business intelligence (BI) apps, financial performance management (FPM) and directly into IBM Cognos.
- Integrates with multiple data sources, like ERP, EDW, social media, and internal data systems.
- Easy upload of personal or external data.
- Total web-based BI dashboards with no desktop tools needed.
- Access data stored in the cloud from anywhere, including from your desktop, laptop or even your mobile device.
- Language support available for over 20 languages.
- Three deployment options: SaaS, On-premise, or cloud-hosted.
- Supports various operating systems including; Windows, Linux, Mac, web-based VM ware, and mobile OS including iOS, Android, and more.
SAP Crystal Reports:
System Configuration Wizard is a simplified deployment and migration tool that quickly guides the administrator through a set of easy post-installation configuration sets and migration prompts.
- Access your business intelligence dashboard from the portal server of your choice.
- Compatible with Oracle, IBM DB2, MS, SQL Server and many other data sources.
- Integrates with EDW such as SAP BW, Teradata and other data warehouses.
- Integrates with ERP software including; SAP BS, Oracle, E-Business Suite, People Soft, and more.
- Aggregates dashboard reporting data from social media platforms.
- Supports 24 languages.
IBM Cognos & SAP Crystal Reports Provide Valuable Business Intelligence
Both IBM Cognos and SAP Crystal Reports offer valuable features that allow any member of your team to gather, analyze, and collaboratively or individually report their data; providing you with greater insight into all aspects of your business intelligence data. An integrated BI dashboard can help you power informed decision making across your entire business. These affordable business intelligence tools can help you deliver timely, interactive reports that are actionable and easy to understand. With a solid, well-integrated business intelligence dashboard, you can utilize data visualization, discovery tools, and scenario testing for greater planning and prediction.
3 Special Considerations for Choosing a Business Dashboard
As you begin to make the important decision of choosing the right business dashboard solution there are other a few considerations that are specific to your business.
1. Do you have multiple systems to integrate?
Depending on your existing data systems, data warehousing, and data sources this may be a factor which option you decide upon. SAP Crystal reports offers seamless integration with many Oracle products and all SAP products.
IBM Cognos Integration Server Tool is able to extract data from these systems as well, though the process is a bit more time consuming.
2. Are you seeking personalization of your business dashboard?
Both BI dashboards offer the ability to customize the information or data sets you include in reporting. However, IBM Congos really differentiates by offering simple and fast dashboard creation through the Business Insights tool. The ability to construct a dashboard that fits each user's specific needs is perhaps one of the most powerful capabilities offered. Continuity can be an issue, with sizing and font types inherited from the data source.There are however easy workarounds through the various design studio tools.
3. Is your company geographically dispersed?
While both IBM Cognos and SAP Crystal Reports offer multiple language supports, SAP Crystal Reports does offer slightly more options. In most cases either product will work for your team, but it is recommended that you check in advance to ensure the language support that you need is available.
Choose, Deploy, and Maintain
You wouldn't think of driving a car without a functional and reliable dashboard. It provides you with the information that is integral in getting you where you are going, alerts you to the critical situations that demand your attention, and keeps you safe. In essence, your company needs an integrated data reporting tool and a business intelligence dashboard is the perfect solution for this need.
We know that it can be overwhelming to make the right choice. Don't let analysis paralysis hold you back. 5x Technology is here to help you select, deploy, and maintain the BI dashboard product that best suits your unique business needs. Whether the best solution for your business is either IBM Cognos or SAP Crystal Reports, we will work closely with your team from implementation to education and training. 5x Technology can get you on board faster and keep your system up-to-date and secure than if you were to take on these tasks without help.
Read more about process and analysis, and creating a dashboard platform--download our free white paper, IBM Cognos for Business and IT Users.