The team at SaberLogic has just created a new way to deploy Crystal Reports on the web. It is a SaaS tool called Bezlio. Bezlio allows users to run reports on demand from the browser on any device (including your phone). But the difference is that you don’t have to set up a web server to provide access. Instead you install something called the Bezlio Remote Data Broker (BRDB) anywhere inside your network firewall. It is the BRDB that actually runs the reports, which are delivered as PDFs back to the user’s browser. Between the user and the BRDB is the Bezlio cloud service.
A user opens a browser and logs into Bezlio like they would with any web portal. Bezlio notifies the BRDB which is listening for requests, and the BRDB sends a list of reports approved for that user. The user selects a report and the BRDB asks the user to fill in any parameters needed for that report. The BRDB then runs the report inside your system and generates the result as a PDF which is sent back to the browser through Bezlio’s server. No data is stored in the cloud and no ports need to be opened in your firewall. All the transfers are token based and encrypted.
For example, I could set up the BRDB on my office workstation and run reports from my phone without having to maintain my own web server. The setup sounds simple and the cost for me as a single user would be $35 a month. The cost for 10 users is $25 per user per month with a 20% discount for buying a full year. The price drops as the user count goes up.
Each Bezlio user license includes a free copy of Logicity Professional so that you can push scheduled reports out if needed, but scheduling is done within the local network, not through the browser.
Two other things to keep in mind. First, the SaaS model is more expensive than buying a portal product in the long run. This is because you are paying someone to maintain the infrastructure for you. Second, a PDF isn’t interactive. If you rely on things like drill-down or on-demand subreports you won’t have these in the Bezlio model. But I can see this being popular with a certain segment of users. For a full list of competitive products in this family you can read my annual comparison of web deployment options.