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Is operational reporting evolving?

I completely refer to OLTP reporting and have not considered any OLAP reporting features in this blog. When I look at my 3 years reporting experiences in ERP-FIN module, I question my self ‘Is Operational reporting evolving? ‘. We still do reporting using LDB’s and  abap reports.  

What do I expect from reporting?

Reporting equals to “Selection + Processing + Presentation of data “.  

This in turn means :

Selection => Easy and flexible way of selection of data

Processing => Efficient Processing of data

Presentation => Easy and visually appealing ways of presenting the data 

Let me list down what tools I have used for operational reporting. 

Logical Database (LDB): I have already written some time before a blog on LDB’s. (refer to : Why not Logical databases???). 

I want to reconsider some of my views on them.  

-> Reduces Complexity. Individual reports no longer need to know the relevant database tables and foreign key relationships which involve complex joins. They can rely on LDB’s to get data.  

My View: LDB is also a report. If you are executing any normal report, the user would not know how the data is fetched. So, I don’t see a big difference here.  

-> Central authorization checks My View: Could be advantageous. But at least from my perspective, you define a new authorization object for the LDB and perform an authority check on it which am sure could be done in any other report as well.

-> Uniform selection screen. Logical databases come with a built-in selection screen. Therefore, all of the programs that use the logical database have the same user interface. 

My View: The uniform selection screen can add more problems too. You try to build a generic selection screen which suits to most of your reporting requirements. This adds up dependencies and creates confusion at times.  

And now let’s consider the disadvantages:

 -> Since the nodes are associated with structure / DB table which are static as the node size grows adds to performance issues.

-> GET/PUT calls of LDB’s are expensive too

-> I don’t think using an LDB in a report or calling FM ‘LDB_PROCESS’ is an efficient way of reporting. 

My conclusion: LDB’s (already declared as obsolete) is an old reporting style.   

Reports: I don’t have to mention here much as every one is aware of it already.

SAP/ ABAP query:  SAP query are based on Info sets which in turn are formed either on a report or LDB or a Table / view. Most of our reports contain several complex key figures that it’s very rare that we build an Info set on a table / view. So, we come back to the same options of a query based on a LDB / a report.

Crystal reports (BOBJ) : Recently I got an opportunity to work use CR to display data. We could convert an existing report / InfoSet transitional info provider which fetches data and could use them as data sources for CR. A wide set of reporting options are available to display data using CR. But, again I have used only demo data till now. Iam not aware of how would be the performance in a real time production system.  

May be I have missed many other reporting tools because am not aware of them.But with all the reporting options available mentioned above, is operational reporting made easy? Enhancing a LDB or a report with additional attributes definitely takes some time. And the data is presented mostly using ALV’s. Its not easy to convert the data to different formats too.

So, am curious to explore what other reporting tools are available which are easy to use, dynamic and efficient in processing and provide a rich set of reporting options.  And that would probably answer my question ‘Is operational reporting really evolving? ‘.  

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