As you’ve probably heard, PeopleTools 8.55 will not support the use of the Crystal Reports product with PeopleSoft. (Click here for more information). Most of you know that we’ve been talking for years about ways to move away from Crystal Reports. The obvious alternative has been to migrate your reports to Oracle BI Publisher. I’m writing this post to help you understand that you have other options, and that we think that in many cases, there is an even better solution that will give your users more relevant and timely information.
Conventional reporting tools are used to create and publish static reports. That is, they query the database and present information as a snapshot in time. One of the problems with this approach is that important data can become instantly stale and not secure.
Contemporary reporting is changing, however, and we feel that customers should re-evaluate how they can take advantage of some of the new reporting and analytic capabilities that PeopleSoft offers. New options exist that help make reporting a strategic part of enterprise business processes. In fact, you can easily incorporate business intelligence and real-time analytics directly into business process flows as an integral part of the application user experience.
Using this more modern approach, designers are able to provide users relevant information directly in context of related business activities. In this way, the user doesn’t have to “look up” information or pull up a report. Instead, the application system provides the information directly on the page, or as part of a process, which leads to better decisions. With modern PeopleSoft reporting capabilities, the data is fresh and secure because it never actually leaves the system.
Take this approach to decide whether you need to replicate every one of your static reports from Crystal Reports in BI Publisher. We believe that many older, static reports can be repurposed as online, real-time analytics rather than simply rewritten in a new reporting tool.
Chief among these exciting PeopleSoft reporting capabilities are the new Simplified Analytics and updated Pivot Grids. These new features enable users to produce analytics and reports right in the context of their transactions, providing more agile and powerful analytics that result in better decision support. In addition, these new reporting tools are easy to use and put power in the hands of end users and business experts. Functional users won't have to rely on technical professionals to generate the reports they need. With these tools, data can be sliced and diced as required, as well visualized in different ways to gain greater understanding of the information presented.
PeopleSoft applications teams will also be delivering new reports and analytics using these tools, so customers will get many new reports as they continue to take new application images. Again, this means even fewer Crystal reports that need to be recreated.
Of course enterprises will still need conventional reports for things like Period Close and other regulatory reporting. In those cases, customers can indeed convert old Crystal Reports into BI Publisher reports. However, we believe that after thoughtful analysis, the number of such reports that need conversion into traditional formats and uses will be much smaller than you may have originally anticipated, and that most business needs will be better served with newer tools for producing on-line, real-time, business analytics.