Crystal Reports is business intelligence software for allowing other database applications to integrate with it for designing and fetching reports for business and commercial purposes. The format and the style of the report can be designed along with it and it provides mechanism to be linked with several other types of database and front end applications. The following are the various procedures and methods for producing such reports:
· Usually in the form of rows and columns.
· Can also take the form of pie charts, bar charts and nested summary tables.
· It is also possible to run a crystal report without using the software itself; it is done with the help of viewers, schedulers and other report distribution tools.
· It is a package with a set of ActiveX controls which can be integrated or embedded with several GUI tools to provide a separate user interface (Crn.com, 2007).
· It supports data sources from databases like Oracle, MS SQL, MS Access, IBM DB2 and other applications like spreadsheets, text and XML files.
Actuate is another product which combines business intelligence product which can combine with SQL Server and Access. It also carries the following characteristics:
· One can develop reports for further development in future
· Deployment of reports are possible
· It handles end user reporting and analytics
· It is also used for object designer
· The report also serves performance management and takes care of data integration.
Data warehousing is a concept that is used for storing organization’s data and is usually termed as corporate memory. It contains the raw material for an enterprise’s MIS or DSS system. The analyst can perform complex queries which would be used for getting results and further interpretation of the data and the resultant information (William, 2000).
The subject oriented feature of the data warehousing takes into account the various elements that take place in the real world. It is non-volatile and integrated with respect to the data that they are never deleted and contains all the information with regard to business processing by the enterprise for all its operations.
Data mining in contrast is filtering the data for the purpose of deriving a knowledge from it which is not possible for getting the trends of data from simple databases.
It uses complex technologies for getting the better meaning of the data and its analysis. It is generally used for mainly two purposes namely knowledge discovery and prediction that roughly means that future prediction of events and patterns are found for getting the knowledge out of it for business intelligence purposes (Frawley, 2001).
Online processing is termed as one that is done simultaneously as the user clicks and operates online. The system responds to user behavior and makes changes to its system accordingly for action. It promotes simplicity and efficiency for a reason that the user is not required to wait for any operation to take place for general criteria.
The advantages of distributed databases over centralized database can be termed as follows:
· Costs: The costs of maintaining of the distributed database at several locations are expensive with relation to technological costs, labor costs and running expenses. In return the centralized database is housed in a single particular location and saves costs.
· Benefits: The benefits of distributed database would be the structured-ness, improved availability, better fault tolerance, performance and modularity in modification and changing its contents. In case of centralized database, costs can be less but they are vulnerable to fault tolerance and availability reasons that forms good amount of reason to switch for a distributed structure.
Crn.com (2007). Retrieved 20, December 2007 from http://www.crn.com/software/164301546.
Frawley W.(2001). “Knowledge Discovery in Databases: An Overview”. AI Magazine: pp. 213-228. ISSN 0738-4602.
William H. Inmon (2000). Using the Data Warehouse, John Wiley & Son’s, ISBN 0-471-05966-8.