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First, it needs to be understood that there is a difference between support, consulting and teaching. Each of these is a distinct facet of software work experience. In a nut shell, support of Crystal Reports and  Business Objects Enterprise SDKs extends to helping or showing how to accomplish a specific task. Support will not debug applications, or write applications. Nor will support teach basic or advanced development skills. Those facets are better served by other groups. Consulting can be obtained through SAP Services Training is available through SAP Education.

Second, there are two ways for developers using Crystal Reports or Business Objects Enterprise SDKs to obtain help with their applications;

SCN Spaces

Note that SCN is divided into distinct Spaces, each having a Discussion (formally forum) section, a blog section and a Jive Document section Each SCN Space has an Overview describing what products that particular Space is responsible for. As an example the SAP Crystal Reports, version for Visual Studio SCN Space Overview specifies the following:

how can support help.png

It is highly encouraged that you post your query into the correct Space. The Document Forum Finder for SCNlists all the SCN Spaces and should help you find the best Space for your product. Posting into the wrong Space will at best result in slow response, usually asking that you post to the correct Space and at worst the query will be completely ignored. Though we discourage that approach. The following forums are available to application developers using Crystal Reports or Business Objects Enterprise SDKs:

Business Objects SDK Application Development

Crystal Reports, Dashboard and Presentation Design (Xcelsius) and Interactive Analysis

Before posting to one of the above SCN Spaces

Consider if the issue originates in the Crystal Reports designer (CRW32.exe). If it does, post your query to either the SAP Crystal Reports or SAP Crystal Reports – Data Connectivity SCN Space. Remember, if it does not work in the designer, it more than likely will not work in an application using any SDK.

Realize that the forums are community based. You may get an answer or not. You may get a fast response or not so fast. If your issue is critical and time is of the essence, I would highly encourage you to create a phone case. Occasionally, an issue may turn out be too complicated for the forums and creating a phone case will be a good idea. Phone cases can be created here.

When posting to the forums, provide enough information. See the Rules of Engagement, step 2 Asking Your Question; Provide Enough Information. Also, see the blog What do I need to do to get the fastest issue resolution?

Search for an answer. The SCN Spaces contain tons of great information. Use the search box located at the top right corner of each SCN Space. This search will return results for KBases, articles, wikis, blogs, sample applications and more. And when posting to the Space, don’t forget to say what searches you actually did do.

Phone Support

Business Objects Enterprise users will typically have a support contract and are able to create phone cases at will. Posting a query to the forums is useful if time is not of the essence or if the query is regarding location of resources or simple programming concepts.
Those with SAP Crystal Reports or other “volume” products typically do not have unlimited phone support contract available to them. However a single phone support incident / case can be obtained at this link. Remember if your issue turns out to be something requiring a fix, you will be refunded your phone case.

Explanation of what CR and BOE SDK support will and will not do

  • Support will provide resources which would include help files, application samples, kbases, articles and more.
  • Support will help with runtime deployment issues, but can not help creating a setup project as that will be created by a 3rd party applications (e.g.; InstallShield).
  • Support will not write the application from scratch. This is consulting.
  • Support will not debug existing code. This is also consulting. However Support will determine which part of the code is at issue and may provide advice on how to best proceed or provide a small sample application
  • Demonstrating the functionality (e.g.; exporting to PDF). It is then up to the developer to integrate the working piece into their application.
  • Support will not help with applications created by a 3rd party. E.g.; if you buy software that uses Crystal Reports from Acme developments, you will need to go to Acme for support.
  • Support will not fix product bugs. These need to be reproduced by support and escalated to R&D. A bug may be accepted, postponed or rejected. Reasons for these decisions are beyond the scope of this blog.
  • However you will be informed of the decision and the reasons for it. If a bug fix is accepted, usual ETA will be about six months or more. Though recently I have seen much quicker delivery times. But I suspect this depends on all kinds of variables, from complexity of the fix to available resources.
  • Support will help with issues related to upgrades – providing that after the upgrade the system is in a supported environment. Examples of where support will not be given;

1) Upgrading of COM ASP applications from XI R2 to XI 3.1 as COM ASP is no longer supported in XI 3.1.

2) Issues with Crystal Reports XI release 2 (11.5) in VS .NET 2008. CR 11.5 is not supported in .NET 2008, only CR 10.5 and CR 2008 are.

3) Issues with out of support versions of Crystal Reports and Business Objects Enterprise. However, note that you can still post your queries regarding out of support products to the forums. I still see queries regarding CR 8.5 or more rarely even earlier versions of CR. Obviously, answers may be hard to come by, but we will certainly try.

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7 Comments

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  1. Community User

    Great explanation.  Since we specialize on SDK applications exclusively I have wondered what flexibility there is to have an offering for application development support.  Do you think that there is enough  need for extended service contracts focused on writing and debugging applications?

    Thanks

    Kevin McManus
    BOE SDK Experts
    McManus Software + Consulting

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    1. Ludek Uher Post author

      Most customers that have BOE, have a support contract by default. And that contract extends from Admin to Install to development. Non BOE customers can obtain phone support on a one off bases, if need be. I find that a very high percentage of questions and issues (both BOE and non BOE, e.g. CR / RAS SDK) can be answered on these SCN Spaces, though there is alway the occasional one where I will ask a customer to consider creating a phone case. This may be because for one reason or another we’re just not communicating / understanding each other, or it is a high priority issue for them.

      Oh, BTW, I removed the phone number – one of those SCN Rule things 🙂 :

      http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-19331

      – Ludek

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  2. Dell Stinnett-Christy

    Another example of where support won’t help (from experience… 🙁 )  If you’re using the Designer SDK, which is COM-based, in anything other than VBA, even though there is support for COM in the .NET framework.

    -Dell

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    1. Ted Ueda

      Hello Dell,

      I’ve supported customers who use the Universe Designer SDK via .NET Framework COM-Interop.  That in itself should not preclude support.

      What support won’t have are sample code using .NET COM-Interop or documentation that describes how to use it via Interop. We might ask you to test outside of .NET to see if the issue is specific to Interop.

      I’ve seen very few issues with the Designer SDK that happen only under COM-Interop, but those were specific to systems under resource load, where memory managment and network resources break under Interop (svchost errors) but don’t with direct COM calls.

      Sincerely,

      Ted Ueda

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      1. Dell Stinnett-Christy

        Last summer/fall I ran into an issue with the Designer SDK for which I opened a support ticket.  I was told that because I was writing this code in .NET they could not help me with the issue – I would have to rewrite it in VBA in order to get support.  I eventually found the solution elsewhere, but I was extremely frustrated.  The support person I was working with was insistent that it only worked with VBA because it was a COM SDK.  He didn’t seem to understand that COM is an interoperability framework that will work in many different programming platforms using basically the same commands.

        -Dell

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        1. Ted Ueda

          There must have been a misunderstanding by the support person – I do regret that. Please do ask the support engineer to contact me if that happens again.

          Sincerely,

          Ted Ueda

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          1. Dell Stinnett-Christy

            Thanks Ted!  In general, my experiences with the SDK support folks have bee MUCH better than my experiences working with other areas of BO support.  That’s why I was surprised and very frustrated when this happened.

            -Dell

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