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Hour 1. The Value of Crystal Reports 9 > Transforming Data into Information wit...

Transforming Data into Information with Crystal Reports

Businesses in every industry now collect and maintain data relevant to their operation. For example, manufacturing companies collect and maintain information about inventories and production, retail shops record sales and order information, health care organizations maintain patient medical records, and publishing companies track book sales and inventories. Nonetheless, storing data is not enough! Businesses, and their management staff, must use this data to make well-informed business decisions on a regular basis. The data collected must be transformed into information, and then it must be properly organized, easily accessible, and shared among various individuals—both internal employees and external affiliates and customers. The transformation and dissemination of this data facilitates analysis that can reveal business-critical information, such as sales trends or potential inventory shortages. To make this possible, corporations and application developers use reporting software, such as Crystal Reports, to enable the presentation of stored data sources. Crystal Reports was the first reporting software in the market to fully recognize this need, and was released in 1992 as a Windows-based report writer.

A common business concern for many organizations is how to effectively report against multiple data source systems simultaneously, merging sales data that resides in an Oracle database with inventory data that resides in an IBM DB2 database. One distinct feature unique to Crystal Reports is that you can easily create reports that connect to such disparate databases, join the data together within your reports, and transform the otherwise isolated data into meaningful information that now displays such items as average days between the sales order entered versus the shipping date and provides dynamic alerting if inventory levels are dangerously low. Whatever industry, business unit, or technological ability of the user, most people seek information that allows them to make more informed decisions. Crystal Reports is the most common tool in the world that provides users with the information they need. Whether these reports include customer invoices, billing statements, account transaction listings, financial statements (as shown in Figure 1.1), or cross-tabular summaries of sales by month, Crystal Reports can service your need.


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