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BusinessObjects and SAP Part 2

There seems to be huge interest in the BusinessObjects product suite. So, after the great feedback on my first blog I will try to complete my series on the BusinessObjects products in combination with SAP products more quickly.

In this blog I will focus on Crystal Reports in combination with SAP BW queries.

This screenshot shows the query I will use to demonstrate Crystal Reports.

The query is based on the SAP Demo Sales and Distribution Overview cube (0D_SD_C03).

In the rows I will request information for the Calendar Year / Month, the Customer (Sold-to-party) and the Material.

In the columns I will request the key figures Open Orders and Open Orders Qty.

BEx web reporting provides this result set:


Building a report with Crystal Reports based on this BW query is simple.

After the installation of the SAP Integration Kit there is a new toolbar in Crystal Reports. This toolbar is specifically designed for integration with SAP BW and allows you to use the typical role menus from the SAP BW system.













By using the SAP toolbar in Crystal Reports I can leverage the standard role menus and select the BW query for a new report.




After selecting the query, the requested information is available in the field explorer from Crystal Reports.



As shown in the image above, Crystal Reports received all the key figures and all the characteristics.

The following is a quick overview of how Crystal Reports treats elements from a BW query:

  • Characteristics are being returned as separate fields with a key and description in the field explorer (for example: Material (SAP Demo) Key and medium name)

  • Free characteristics are being treated in the same way as any other characteristic in Crystal Reports and can be used for reporting

  • Key figures from the BW query are being returned with up to three fields representing the numeric value, the unit, and the formatted value based on the user preferences (transaction SU01).

  • Display attributes are treated as separate fields in Crystal Reports but can be used independent of the characteristic itself (for example: Material Group (Key and Name) and Gross Weight)

  • Variables from the underlying query are resulting in parameters in Crystal Reports (more in my next blog entry).


Now I can use all of these elements and have the complete functionality of Crystal Reports.


  • In the first step I select the menu “Insert > Group” and create a group based on the Calendar Year / Month characteristic.

  • I then add the Open Orders Value and Open Order Qty key figures to my report and select the context menu “Insert Summary” to create two new group summaries for my grouping based on the Calendar Year / Month.

  • I then insert a chart showing the Order value for the year (menu Insert – Chart)

  • I then create an additional grouping (menu Insert > Group) based on the Customer and select the menu Report > Group Sort Expert to use a Top 10 condition.


This creates a report showing me the Order Value and Order Qty for each month and it allows me to drill down on each month to see the Top 10 customers for the selected entry.


Here the start of my report:

And the view after a drill down on March:


All screens are taken from the Crystal Reports Designer tool. The user can also view all the reports via the BusinessObjects Enterprise platform in a web client and still use the same navigation functionality.


This was just a short introduction showing how Crystal Reports can leverage a BW query. I focused on explaining how elements from a BW query are returned to Crystal Reports (rather than focusing on report design). In my next blog I will explain formatting capabilities in more detail and demonstrate how to easily create a balance sheet as well as using highlighting and alerting functionalities with Crystal Reports.

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    • Hi Bhanu,

      what I would suggest is that you look at the combined product roadmap which is available in the Business Objects area.
      You will recognize that the BEx Report Designer is being replaced with a product called Crystal Repors light.

      Ingo Hilgefort

          • Hi Ingo,

            great information.  Will there ever come a time when Crystal will read the BI cubes directly? or must one always build an SAP Query first before using Crystal.

            thanks again

          • Hi Anthony,

            our tools can leverage a query or the cube directly but please keep in mind that when accessing the cube directly you will loose some major functionality :

            – no variables
            – no restricted keyfigures
            – no calculated keyfigures
            – no navigational attributes

            and in addition you can not leverage authorization variables.


          • thanks Ingo,

            I’ve heard there is a 30 day trial for this. Is that on the SAP or BO site? and does it include the Kit for BI or is that a separate download?


          • Hi Ingo,

            Thanks for the infomation.  The last time I have come across Crystal Report up front and personal was on BW 3.2/3.5 (do not remember which version of Crystal) before it was acquired by BOBJ. 

            Back then Crystal Report interact with BEx Query via OLE DB for OLAP.  Is that still the case?  Also is Crystal fully working with BW hierarchies and can it work with multiple hierarchies in one query?


          • Hi Ingo,

            Pertaining to your message to Anthony,

            1.Does this mean that BO continues to use the OLAP features of SAP BI if Bo tries to access via a BW query?

            All Below listed features come into picture during OLAP calculations in SAP BW:

            restricted keyfigures
            calculated keyfigures
            navigational attributes

            2.So the frontend part of existing SAP BW example, WEB rendering from OLAP data_get(to be precise its RRK_DATA_GET olap module) and component ET-RT(the frontend runtime for both excel and web components) be REPLACED by BO reporting?

            Thanks and Regards,
            ET-BEX-WEB developer!

  • Glad to rediscover Crystal Reports, It would be great the inclusion of Bussines Objects product suite in an Sneak Preview Version or SDN Subscription .
  • Hi Ingo,

    Your blog couldn’t be more opportune, and the examples show the great capabilities of Business Objects, so I would like you tell us a little more about how will be the BW interface, I’m talking about if the acces will be through business objects interface or SAP interface??

    This point is being covered by the Business Objects Kit??

    Thanks a lot.

    • Hi Marisol,

      all our tools – in combination with the SAP Integration Kit – are using SAPs BAPI function to retrieve the metadata or data from SAP BW.

      Are you looking for specifics ?


      • Hi Ingo,

        Ok I got it,

        What about the user interface? In your examples, we can see SAP Toolbar included in Crystal Reports…

        It is being designing any interface that combines the features of both SAP BI as Crystal Reports?

        I mean for example: A new version of Query Designer,BEx Analyzer, etc.

    • Hi Ingo

      I have tried researching on various blogs but have not come across any relevant materials for Crystal reports understanding. Would like to know few things:

      Is Crystal/Xcelsius a best practice? If so, why?
      How does the user authenticate to BW through Crystal? Do they use a BW user Id or a BO user Id?
      Generally speaking, is performance with Crystal going directly against the BEx query good?

      Currently we are using Business objects XI 3.1 and Crystal reports 2008 with BusinessObjects XI 3.1 Integration for SAP Solutions. Kindly advice.

  • I am trying to use a Bex query that has a cost center hierarchy with a variable that allows users to select specific nodes or even cost centers at run time.

    In Report Designer, this query behaves by providing users with a drop down menu so they can select the nodes, just like it would in BEx Analyzer.

    Can this be done in Crystal? If so, how? I looked at the blog 3 and it has an example for a static hierarchy embedded in the report, but not for a variable. Thanks for your help and great blog!

    Alfredo Borunda

    • Hi Alfredo,

      yes – the combination of a hierarchy and a hierarchy node variable is possible as well.
      In the Crystal Reports designer tool you receive a static list that could be updated manually.
      When viewing and distributing the reports via BusinessObjects Enterprise you receive a online list shown as a tree control


  • Hi Ingo,
    Which is the recommended way to connect from Crystal to SAPBI, is it via MDx or BW drivers. We are seeing big difference in the performance, 1. MDx is performing pretty slowly as compared to BW.
    2. BW doesnt rollup based on the select list, irrespective of the columns selected, the rowcounts are the same
    we use XIR2, sap integration kit, AIX 5.3
    Any recommendation will be great.

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Venkat,

      the BW MDX Driver is the recommended approach and the BW query driver is the old version.
      the BW MDX Driver will ask for the information that you leverage in the report which is not necessary everything that you included in the underlying BI query.

      I would suggest you open a case in the forums for the SAP Integration Kit – easier to respond.


  • Hello Ingo,

    I am newbie to Crystal reports and integration with BI. I have a simple BI query out of 0BCS_C11 cube with 0CS_ITEM (Item) in rows and 0CS_TRN_GC (Periodic value GC) in columns.

    When I open the query in Crystal reports 2008, what I see in Database fields are

    D~[0CS_ITEM]~K (tool tip says Item)
    D~[0CS_ITEM]~D (tool tip says Item Text)
    M~[Measures].[4HHVP..4NF]~M (GC Value)
    M~[Measures].[4HHVP..4NF]~C (Currency)

    Why don’t I see the Texts of the query fields in Crystal reports (see your screenshots). What should I do to see the query field (like “Item”, “Periodic Value GC” ?

    I installed trial version of CR 2008 (51037264) and integration kit (51035068)