Blog / 16 April, 2016

Alternate Solution to Crystal Reports

Background: One of our clients had requested an alternate solution to Crystal Reports. We asked a few questions and proposed an informal write up for an alternate solution as follows. Client liked this quick summary and requested a detailed proposal to issue a SOW.

QUESTIONS
1. Could we get a current architecture of how Crystal report is integrated to ECC? (On what kind of database systems are crystal reports built on? Database name and version)
2. If report is pulling data from ECC, we can generate webdynpro applications in ECC (this will be viewable in internet explorer). If it’s pulling from BW, then we can use BOBJ tools (WEBI, BOBJ Analysis, Dashboards) – Please see alternate approach on second page.
3. How are the current Crystal Reports being used?
4. How frequently are they scheduled? (Daily, weekly, monthly)
5. Which team is consuming these Crystal Reports? (Finance / Sales team?) And who within the team consumes the reports? (E.g., analysts or senior leadership?)
6. How many reports exist in current reporting system?
7. If you want to replace the current reporting system, what are we looking for or what kind of reporting features are we missing in the current reporting system? (What are the expectations?)
8. Which version of Crystal report is being used?
9. How big is the user group?
10. What is the highest volume of data being used in the reports?

ALTERNATE APPROACH

OPTION 1:  BOBJ – While BOBJ has been used traditionally for reporting, it could be very expensive in the development and integration, also Cloud integration is not possible with BOBJ and it has severe limitations with mobility.
BOBJ :  Some popular tools available within the BOBJ suite –
1. Crystal reports – (Static reporting, Minimum user interaction, Not compatible for mobility, More of an tabular format design)
2. Web Intelligence (WebI) – (Better than Crystal reports, Minimal user interaction, Cannot achieve user actions, not rich graphical design and it can only connect to SAP BI Systems or IDT Universe)
3. Dashboards – Very rich in data visualizations, all dashboard functionalities cannot be achieved and needs more coding capabilities by developer
4. Analysis for Office –A Microsoft Excel sheet, which can connect to SAP BW systems to perform normal excel functionalities.

OPTION 2:  Tableau – The above 4 BOBJ tool capabilities can be achieved within Tableau Tool. Tableau consists of Desktop (Development work) and Server (Publish, Security and Accessibility).  We recommend this reporting tool for the following reasons:

PROS
1. Less Expensive, Easy Licensing and best Support
2. We have the flexibility to integrate Tableau Server with Cloud (Amazon AWS) for high availability and better performance.
3. Tableau has great variety of visualizations
4. Querying of data can be Extract or Live connection.
5. Very rich in Data Visualizations and Tabular Format
6. Great user interaction using Actions, Parameters and Filters
7. Compatible for mobility (Ipads and Iphones)
8. Drillable capabilities into graphical, summarized and detailed data
9. The calculations in Tableau Desktop are easy and logical for development
10.  Tableau Desktop can connect to multiple varied data sources.
11. High security with standard protocols and data governance
12. Role based accessibility defined by project

Note: – Tableau can connect to the following SAP systems:
a. SAP HANA
b. SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (BW)
c. SAP Sybase ASE
d. SAP Sybase IQ

CONS:
a. It’s great for graphical design dashboards, with certain limitations for columns in tabular format. (But can be achieved with some work around)
b. High level reporting with drill-down is great, but it does struggle on the drill down if the data is too granular or immense
c. It needs some more options on colors, shading, 3D, etc., to add variety to the visualizations.

Testimonials / 24 March, 2016

Multiple Agencies/FMMI/USDA

Tektree Consulting, Inc. was brought on board through a prime and given the task of requirement gathering, designing, testing, and training end users on the newly deployed systems. Our experienced consultant led a team of three to design and deliver these objects with great success minimizing post production issues and saving thousands of dollars in post-production tickets.

Testimonial: Narendra Agrawal, Senior Manager, Accenture

“Santhosh worked for me as a lead consultant on a multi-year program which involved implementing SAP for multiple agencies within complex USDA systems. Among many other things, his contribution in integrating SAP software with a complex array of internal and external federal systems won him admiration and respect from both the client and the colleagues. His strength lies in analyzing, simplifying, and translating client business requirements into integrated end-to-end solutions within SAP landscape. He is highly experienced, dependable, ethical and professional SAP Consultant. I highly recommend him.”

Tektree Consulting, Inc. continues to provide SAP consulting services via prime to Forest Service, the biggest agency in USDA in 2016. Scope of work included multiple interfaces, reports, forms, and error handling tools for processing master and transactional data in SD/MM/FI/CO/FM modules.

Testimonials / 24 March, 2016

IAS/FMMI/USDA

USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) was modernizing their legacy systems to SAP/FMMI (Financial Management Modernization Initiative). It was three months to go-live when the customer discarded all the requirement gathering documents created by a prior subcontractor due to errors and gaps in the business process and design documents. Tektree Consulting, Inc. was brought on board through a prime and given the task of requirement gathering, designing, building and deploying Integrated Acquisition Systems (IAS). Deployment of this system was critical to the success of initial go-live for USDA modernization project. Tektree Consulting, Inc. worked directly with the client, led a team of developers, and, delivered fully functional and effective products within planned budgets and timelines. This was a great relief to all the parties involved and stake holders. Delay in the initial deployment would have cost USDA millions of dollars. Today USDA utilizes IAS to FMMI interface to obligate and disburse billions of dollars. This is a real life demonstration of how our company is contributing to the success of our customers.

Testimonial: Rick Toothman, Technical Operations Lead for USDA – Departmental Management (DM) – Office of Procurement and Property Management (OPPM) – Procurement Systems Division (PSD)

“I had the pleasure of working with Santhosh on USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) / FMMI (Financial Management Modernization Initiative) project where he played a lead role in implementing SAP interfaces for the entire spending chain operations between USDA’s IAS (Integrated Acquisition Systems) and FMMI. Santhosh led the creation of complex functional/technical design documents, developed and tested (5 – inbound 8 – outbound) interfaces while working actively with a group of onsite and offsite developers. These interfaces are tightly dependent on each other and are fully integrated within FMMI/SAP. Data for various interfaces is transmitted on real time/scheduled batch jobs basis using XML messages & delimited text files. While Santhosh has in-depth functional and technical knowledge of SAP, it was his ability to understand the concepts and functionality surrounding IAS and FMMI that allowed him to be critical in the success of the interface. He did an excellent job in coordinating, collaborating, tracking, developing, and testing these complex interfaces to our team’s satisfaction. The IAS team enjoyed working with Santhosh and felt the impact when he was moved to a different USDA project. I highly recommend his services to any position of similar nature.”

Testimonials / 24 March, 2016

IBM Global Services

Tektree Consulting, Inc. subcontracted with IBM global services in RTP (Research Triangle Park, NC) via prime to deploy several forms to create Tax invoice, Credit note, Government Unified invoice, and Pro Forma for the offshore customers in Taiwan, China. Configuration and print program enhancements were made accordingly to reflect the Taiwan company business needs. This has been particularly challenging because the printers in US were not configured to print Chinese mandarin language. It required great coordination and collaboration between Chinese users in Taiwan and our consultants in RTP to be able to deliver this project against aggressive timelines. This is another example of our dedication and flexibility when it comes to working with offshore clients overcoming challenges due to different time zones and methodologies.

Testimonial: Pradeep Bisarya, Senior Manager, IBM

“I have had pleasure of working with Santhosh at IBM on Hardware Fulfillment project. We delivered several internal projects successfully and on time. Santhosh played a major role as a Technical Lead. He followed full life cycle development processes on all projects. Implemented Invoices in Chinese with double bytes for the first time. Had many challenges which Santhosh resolved in a timely manner. Found and implemented OSS notes for double bytes issues. He is a strong advocate for best practices and was through in the delivery of solutions and performance optimization.
I remember day before go live, one of the Chinese executive came to IGS executive with several last minute changes to make external customers happy. Santhosh along with myself and another team member worked thru the night to complete changes. Next day we all were recognized.
I found Santhosh to be one of the best SAP consultant on my team. One of the key attributes is his breadth of technical and functional knowledge. He is a great team player, intelligent and gives top priority to customer needs and satisfaction. He can quickly adapt to any situation.”