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That's hard to say.
Did you look at the documentation of Crystal Reports to see what they support and how to set it up?
What I'd do is make sure that the Instant Client is installed correctly, that the directory is in the PATH, that no other Oracle software is on the machine, that all environment variables are correct.
One easy test is to use the Instant Client's "sqlplus" to connect to a database.
If that works, the setup is probably ok.
You used the same version of full client and Instant Client, right?
Unfortunately, I'm not a developer and I'm not sure how crystal reports works. I know that we are using something very old.
Even though I didn't test SQLPLUs, I know oracle connectivity works fine.
You don't have to be a programmer to read the documentation of Crystal Reports.
Or to know if you used the same version of Instant Client and the regular client in your experiments.
Or to know if you have only one Oracle client installed when you try Crystal Reports.
What makes you sure that Oracle is correctly configured in the environment of the user running Crystal Reports?