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Generate more interactive reports / create scaled down templates / basic questions for a newbie

background information to assist with the questions: We have a very normalized database. Our database was created by a case tool, so the field names are all 6 characters long and are absolutely meaningless. The headings are typically ok, but can sometimes be messy to look at. In addition, each file, in many cases, has a bunch of data that the normal customer does not need to know about for their basic operations. Because the database is highly normalized, in order to get information for a specific function, linking 2-3 files is very common, if not necessary. In addition, based on the file names and such, crystal cannot do intelligent linking of keys. We are using crystal XI (and would be utilizing the server based version so users could open their folders and selects the reports that someone (perhaps us) already developed. Sooo

1. Is it possible to create a basic template that a (super user) customer can start with. Let me rephrase, I know a basic linkage template can be developed (e.g. we could create the linkage of the various files and call this template "basic account information template" for example). From this point, can a user take this template and restart the wizard (I know they can go into specific experts (e.g. database, section, etc.). In addition, is there a way in crystal to create a linkage of two files for example, select perhaps 20 fields that are relevant, and only allow the end user to select 1 to 20 of these fields (and not show the user the other 200+ fields). We have some files that have more then 300 fields. The biggest goal with this is to somehow only allow the super-user to see the fields we need them to see with this template. If they want to get adventurous and try their hand at their own reports, that's fine - but the goal is to give them something usable and not confusing out of the box (plus - something simple to look at helps with new sales)

2. Is anyone familiar with sales force.com? They have a basic report generation tool that allows only certain pieces of information (dropdowns) to be selected. Can something similar be created in crystal. My guess is no - since crystal is the tool that does this, but was curious is you have every done anything like this. As you can see, the report attributes are pretty much already identified, but you have the ability to limit based on the criteria (or group/summarize by this as well).

3. Is it possible to create canned basic reports (already defined fields - perhaps 10 for instance) and then create a prompt screen for each of the 10 fields. The end user then has the ability to filter for a specific field (e.g. if the field is city, they could enter a city name or leave blank for all), as well, is it possible to use that prompt field as Boolean logic (e.g. = %Main or perhaps is a field is numeric, the prompt field could be > 500. I believe this could be accomplished (e.g. perhaps not the Boolean piece, but creating a function to do an if then else statement), but I am unclear as to how this might work. Assume you have three fields ACTRTV01.name, ACTRTV01.CITY and ACTRTV01.total_due (if you were to create an example of how to do this). Basically, I leave all fields blank, the system will print all records. If I key information (either specific or Boolean into a specific prompt field), the system will filter only on the fields that don't have null information.

In closing - we have a bazillion files and pieces of information, but we need a way to summarize it better. Ultimately, we are only looking to generate 3-6 specific reports by work group - which gives the end user a starting point (perhaps 3-5 specific groups - billing, accounts receivable, etc.), and then the super user can create more themselves. In addition, our folks during implementations time will be able to quickly create customer specific reports for end users (not crystal literate), that they can run or select prompting from.

I personally have created a handful of reports that do basic selection prompting (perhaps several fields to be prompted on), but some of this stuff is a bit over my head at this point - still learning :).

any help you can provide (even direction) would be greatly appreciated

thanks

jim

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    Posted on Sep 12, 2007 at 12:06 AM

    hello...if you're looking for a very simple example on how to do this (create an 'ad hoc' report using Crystal) then check out

    http://diamond.businessobjects.com/node/4011

    please note though that there's no instructions on this or support for this method...the example is just that, an example.

    best of luck,

    jw

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