Web Intelligence is a web-based adhoc query tool that is great for analysts to answer quick questions without reliance on IT resources. Web Intelligence is much easier to learn than Crystal Reports, but it is not a replacement for Crystal Reports.
A Web Intelligence query is created by a user selecting a Business Objects “Universe” (a business view that has tables linked and formula fields already defined to a specific data source). Once the universe is selected, the users can drag fields into a blank canvas, add query filters, refresh the data and then quickly and easily take a block of data and turn it into useable information with a few clicks of the mouse. Web Intelligence is great for quick adhoc type requests, however, it was not designed to address extremely advanced and row-based reports with a great deal of conditional formatting. Crystal Reports is necessary for all our customers who need to deliver professionally formatted pixel perfect reports on a continual basis. Web Intelligence provides great insight for users who don’t have the hands-on time required to become proficient with Crystal Reports. For example, if you wanted to create a quick report that displays year over year revenue trend for the past 5 years, you can create this in Web Intelligence in a couple minutes, however if you wanted a professionally formatted month-end operating statement to be viewed by management and your board of directors, you would create it with Crystal Reports. Crystal Reports can also be used to develop forms, i.e. Checks, Purchase Orders, etc. Web Intelligence queries and Crystal Reports are delivered to end users over the web in a centralized location using the Business Objects intelligence platform.