Really Connecting with SAP Crystal Interactive Analysis
For all of my fans here because of Reportapalooza, hurry it up and go submit your dashboards and training videos and download my tools. Whether you are here for Reportapalooza or not, you’ll probably want to check out my first post in this series.
The thing, at least to me, what really sets SAP Crystal Interactive Analysis apart from the classic Web Intelligence application is the ability to connect to personal data files. While the connection options are not quite as robust as they are in Like wasting money? Don’t read this., they certainly meet the needs of the non-developer-yet-still-power-user to interact with standard and non-standard data.
What Is Non-Standard Data?
Slow down, buddy. First let’s talk about standard data. I’m defining standard data as data coming from either a relational or columnar database that can be accessed using some variant of SQL syntax. Non-Standard data is, by definition, any data that isn’t that. The most common types of non-standard data are Excel files or Excel-like text files. We’ve all heard of “spreadmarts”, and we all know “Phyllis” at our work who has that one stupid, painfully-annoying piece of data that we just can’t seem to get loaded into the data warehouse. Which is really so dumb, because that piece of data is only valuable when combined with more data from the data warehouse. Regardless, some spreadsheets will always exist, and Interactive Analysis gives you an easy way to connect to it. Just begin editing your query, drag in the new source, and play with it just like you would with any other data source.
What about Standard Data?
Because this leverages standard BusinessObjects Universes, reporting off of an existing universe is a snap. As far as I can tell, accessing non-Universe data is limited to data sources that have a Universe built on them. Once you have the connection, you simply add any object from that universe, edit the SQL, and make it say whatever you want. Again, not something your average power user will need to do, but the power is there.
While Interactive Analysis doesn’t have absolutely every data connection you could ever want, it absolutely has everything your average power user needs. It goes well beyond the standard Web edition.
Please come back next week to see what I’ve found about this playing with on-demand!