Some of you are probably familiar with CrystalReports.com (known as CRDC). This is the site sponsored by SAP/BO where you can host your reports and make them available on the web. When CRDC was introduced a few years ago it only allowed you to share reports that had saved data. Then it changed to allow you to refresh reports if your had a server product like CR Server or BO Enterprise. More recently they broadened this to refresh data from your SalesForce.com database.
I just learned recently that Crystal Reports.com now has the ability to refresh reports from pretty much any data that can be made available to your web server, which makes a workable solution for some users. You have to install some software on your server which allows CRDC to reach behind your firewall. This software can run a query against your local database and send it back to CRDC. The software is called the Open Data Connector (or ODC). There is an online PDF that explains how to install and configure the ODC but it is a significant project and requires that you have a web server configured. In my opinion, there are simpler solutions to consider.
You also have to consider the limitations of the CRDC/ODC setup. Reports that use the ODC can only use one data source and can’t contain any subreports. And the costs of CRDC can add up quickly. There is a free version of CRDC but that doesn’t allow refreshing reports. The free version is limited to 3 users and 10 reports. If you upgrade to the professional version the lowest plan is $300 a month (for 10 users) or $3,600 for the first year. There are less expensive options for web deployment and Email scheduling on the LINKS page of my site. Don’t forget to request my “favorites” list.
One other note on CrystalReports.com (CRDC). I noticed they post some glowing testimonials from users, but I was a bit skeptical. I was pleasantly surprised to find that two of the five testimonials were people I knew. So I contacted those users to see if they were still happy with CRDC. What I found was that both had found better and less expensive solutions using my favorites list and had abandoned CRDC. Both are currently using solutions I recommend. I didn’t try to contact the other three listed users, but I was “two for two” so you can draw your own conclusion.