Which Crystal Should I Choose?

Differences between Crystal Reports 2016 and Enterprise (CRE)

SAP has been simplifying its reporting tools and reducing the number of options significantly, as described in our blog, SAP BusinessObjects 4.2: Less is More. That being said, there are still two versions of Crystal Reports to choose from in the SAP Business Intelligence platform.

They are Crystal Reports 2016 and Crystal Reports for Enterprise. We are often asked which Crystal reporting product is best for specific business needs. On the surface, it isn’t obvious. Let’s look at the two versions and their differences and try to steer you through them to establish which tool is the best fit for your reporting requirements.


Crystal Reports for Enterprise (CRE) was first introduced as part of the BI4.0 platform release. CRE is an updated version of Crystal Reports with all the new capabilities that facilitate the integration of Crystal Reports with the SAP portfolio. CRE is not a replacement for the traditional Crystal Reports tool. Both tools have strengths and weaknesses, which require the customer to think and decide which tool to use to fulfill their business needs. Both tools can be installed side by side and both reports can be published to the BI Platform for sharing and scheduling. The reports each have the same .rpt format and can be published to the BI Platform for sharing and scheduling.

Crystal Reports 2016

Crystal Reports 2016 is the latest release of Crystal Reports 2008/2011/2013, designed to run on 32-bit architecture. It has maintained all the previous version features, but now includes some very useful new ones:

  • Read-only report format – User can view the report but cannot change it or view underlying logic in any way.
  • Export to XSLX – export to Excel format
  • Integration with Visual Studio – to allow you to include reports within the Microsoft application development.
  • Connection to virtually any data source – no restrictions on what or where you can connect
  • Robust SDK – to allow for application development, providing a more rounded user experience.

Crystal Reports Enterprise (CRE)

Complementing the legacy CR2016 is a new release of Crystal Reports for Enterprise. This universe-friendly version of Crystal Reports has been developed to leverage the business layer provided through the BI Platform.

With CRE we have the following benefits:

  • Integrated UI with common features shared with Web Intelligence, Explorer, etc. Providing the user with a consistent and familiar tool.
  • Connect to a managed data source through Universes (utilizing a single business layer and lowering cost of ownership through a single managed layer) and through SAP BEx to access the BW database.
  • 64-bit processing servers
  • SAP Translation Tools feature allows you to translate text-based elements between languages.
  • User-managed alerts within the BI Platform.
  • Has to run on the BI platform, providing management and security.

Note: There is no Java or .NET SDK support for creating applications or modifying reports.

Next Steps

Whether you are new to Crystal Reports or thinking about upgrading to a newer version, answering these simple questions can help you decide which product you should be considering:

New to Crystal Reports?

Look through the questions above and if you still have questions, send us a note here. We’ll be happy to discuss your requirements, questions and talk you through the options.

Upgrading Crystal Reports 2008/2011/2013 to CR2016

  1. Reports in the BI Platform: Use the Upgrade Management Tool (UMT) to convert the reports.
  2. Reports saved locally on your PC: Open the .rpt files using Crystal Reports 2016. When you save the report, it will be converted to Crystal Reports 2016.

Conversion from Crystal Reports to Crystal Reports Enterprise (CRE)

When you open a Crystal Report in Crystal Reports for Enterprise, a conversion wizard will open automatically to help you select a supported data source:

  • Universe
  • SAP BEx
  • Direct Database connection

Note there may also be some incompatibilities in supported functionality in CRE. These will be detected in the wizard. When the report is saved, the conversion will be completed. This action will need to be performed on all reports you wish to convert to CRE.


  • It is recommended that all reports are backed up prior to any conversion. Once a Crystal Report has been converted to Crystal Report for Enterprise, it cannot be converted back to Crystal Reports 2016.
  • SAP Crystal Reports 2016 and SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise can run side by side on the same desktop client.


Although you can expect more functionality in Crystal Reports 2016, as it is a very mature product, what it lacks is the ability to be fully integrated into the BI platform like Crystal Reports for Enterprise. Crystal Reports 2016 lacks the ability to leverage the universe layer for a centralized, shared and consistent view of your data, reducing cost of ownership. The downside with Crystal Reports for Enterprise is the limited data sets it can connect directly to, compared with Crystal Reports 2016. So, you must ask yourself what data you want to connect to?

For more current information and developments, follow the SAP Wiki link.

The Kingfisher Advantage

Using a tried-and-true playbook, Consultancy by Kingfisher, Inc., has steered many successful projects in Data Services and Information Steward, as well as upgrades and migrations to the latest BI4.2 technology. Included in this history of success is planning, execution, and support of .UNX universes. Whether converting from the legacy format or creation of a new semantic layer from scratch, Kingfisher has the resources to lead your successful project. For questions regarding a possible switch to newer technologies, please call (404) 531-4116.

If this blog didn’t quite answer your question or you have other Business Intelligence questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.

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About the Author:

Jenny has 20 years experience in the Business Intelligence industry, managing projects in finance, utilities, manufacturing, telecommunications, and insurance. When she’s not "enjoying" jogging, she is running around after her children, dogs, and cats. She can be reached at Jennifer.Hawkins@kingfisherinc.com.