6 Replies Latest reply on Feb 26, 2014 12:48 PM by Julian Wigman

    Starting reporting some advice?

    Apprentice

      Hi - we are a few months in to the lauch of LANDesk service desk and we are now looking at reporting (stats & KIP's).

       

      I though the query/report builder that comes with the product would have given us what we needed but I now realise that is extremely basic so we probably need to start using crystal reports (which is new to us too). So I just had a few questions please:

       

      1. Am I correct in assuming that the 'built in'  query/report builder does not allow calculations (or allows you too manipluate) fields? i.e. we would like to calculate the average time to complete or do a SUM for total amount of calls etc.

       

      2. How do we go from no knowledge of the database schema to being able to produce reporting with crystal? Is there any reference material or help on this?

       

      3. Is there a way to export the 'in built' query/report builder reports in to crystal? (my boss seems to think this used to be possible a few years ago).

       

      4. Are there any basic crystal reports (I know there is a pack produced by LANdesk but trying to go from nothing to understanding these is quite difficult) that we can import in to crystal to help us?

       

      Many thanks for any help on this, very much appreciated.

       

      Thanks. Jaime.

        • 1. Re: Starting reporting some advice?
          Expert

          1.  Yes, the internal tool is VERY basic and will not do most of what you want for reporting.  It is very useful for some things but not a real report writer to replace CR.

           

          2. Look at the example Crystal Reports, they show how tables are linked together.  Once you get used to it the format is really good and is fairly logical.  It takes some getting used to but this will be one of the easier things you need to do.

           

          3. No way that I know of.

           

          4. The only reports I found useful from LANDesk was Incident and Change.  Nothing else was useful.

           

          There are a few questions you did not ask that I will also answer:

           

          Is Crystal Reports any good?

          Yes and no.  Yes it has lots of features and can do just about anything.  No in that it is very difficult to learn, is poorly organized, is not logical, and will often make you mad at how hard a simple thing is to do.

           

          What else is there?

          In the future (near?) there will be other options but I have not seen anything official yet.  Rumor had it there might be a new internal report writer coming.  Personally I like SSRS (SQL Server Report Services).  It is much better laid out and far more logical.  I only have two reports in it so far but I like it far more than CR.

           

          If you have someone that already is an expert in CR then I might stay with that.  It sounds like its support within SD will not be going away even if something new is brought in.  Maybe we will get an official announcement soon about a new report writer.  All I know is that we already own and use SSRS because of other departments and I have been very happy with it.

           

          Maybe it's worth giving both a try and see which you like better.  I can tell you every time I used the Internet to find a CR answer, I found as many sites with answers as sites saying how they hate CR.  SSRS is a typical Microsoft program, nothing super fancy but it gets the job done and it has a nice interface.

           

          It will be interesting to see what others think.  A lot of the above is personal opinion and others might have a far different opinion.

          • 2. Re: Starting reporting some advice?
            Apprentice

            Many thanks for your help. We have recently implimented SSRS (in another section within our ICT department) so I think I'll have a word with them and see if we can use that (I prefer simple!).

             

            Are you able to point me in the direction of the incident reports for Crystal in the mean time?

             

            Thanks again.

            • 3. Re: Starting reporting some advice?
              Expert

              There are a few on your server: \ProgramData\LANDesk\ServiceDesk\KUMC\Reports

               

              There are more on the server at: \Program Files (x86)\LANDesk\Service Desk\Reports\LANDesk English_US\SQL

               

              Open a file, then go to "File - Options - Database tab", disable "Automatic smart linking" as that will erase the links that work.  Then go to "Database - Database Expert ... - Links tab" to see the tables and how their linked together.  It's not too hard to infer all other tables once you understand this.

               

              I also use the Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio quite a bit to look at data.  Using the database diagrams to help know what links to what.  Create a new diagram and add a single table that want to know more about.  Right click the table and then select "Add Related Tables".  Select all and then right click and select "Arrange Selection" and you can see what other tables connect to a table.

              • 5. Re: Starting reporting some advice?
                Apprentice

                that looks really useful, many thanks.

                • 6. Re: Starting reporting some advice?
                  Julian Wigman ITSMMVPGroup

                  I write reports in both Crystal and SSRS and IMHO I prefer SSRS as I have more control over the presentation side and the dataset (data extraction side) parts are just SQL queries so there is always help for that from DBA's who live and breath Transact SQL if you do run out of steam yourself.