Straight Talk Review: The Pros and Cons of Microsoft SSRS

We encounter a lot of companies searching for new business intelligence (BI) solutions, and lately, we have spoken with many Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) users in pursuit of a BI tool that is easier to use. Microsoft SSRS is part of the suite received when you purchase Microsoft SQL Server.

It was released in 2004 as an add-on to SQL Server 2008 and has been supported by Microsoft for 14 years. Though Microsoft SSRS isn’t the easiest solution to use, it can be beneficial when used in the right environment.

Below we’ve outlined the pros and cons of Microsoft SSRS.

The Pros of Microsoft SSRS

Microsoft SSRS certainly has its strengths. The pros of Microsoft SSRS include:

  • Its Price is Right: Microsoft SSRS is free if you have Microsoft SQL Server, which is why so many companies use it. (However, the “free” price doesn’t include development time.)
  • It Can Do A Lot: Microsoft SSRS is a very robust tool that Microsoft has invested a lot of development into. Users have access to enterprise-level features, including the ability to connect to many data sources and connectivity to Microsoft SQL, Oracle, and Excel, and more.
  • It’s Server Based: Unlike Crystal Reports, which is more of a desktop tool (unless you upgrade), Microsoft SSRS users can build, distribute, and access reports via the web.
  • It’s Built for Developers: Microsoft SSRS caters to developers and it works with other developer programs, such as Visual Studio and ADO.Net.
  • It Offers Report Subscriptions: Microsoft SSRS users can schedule reports to be delivered automatically out to users, which is helpful for users who run the same reports regularly.
  • It’s Well Supported: Microsoft SSRS has a huge support community, not only from Microsoft but its plethora of users worldwide.

The Cons of Microsoft SSRS

Though Microsoft SSRS can be a great tool in the right environment, it does have some drawbacks. These cons include:

  • It’s Built for Developers: Depending upon who you are, this aspect of Microsoft SSRS can be a huge con. In order to get the most out of the tool, users must know SQL code and SSRS-specific functions. Microsoft SSRS is not easily usable for the average business user.
  • It’s Resource Intensive: Microsoft SSRS can be resource intensive to use and can take up a lot of your server’s resources, especially when running large reports.
  • It only runs on Windows:  Some companies simply do not want to bring a Windows server into their environment.
  • Separate Mobile Views: Extra work is required to build reports that run properly on mobile devices. SQL Server Mobile Publisher is required.
  • Its Interface is Outdated: Microsoft SSRS 2016 provided a lot of improvements in the interface, allowing views to display properly in most modern browsers and removing Active X components, but the visualizations are still basic and many are unable to upgrade due to the point below.
  • Difficult to Upgrade: They made this process easier with SSRS 2016 but many companies start a conversation with us when they see the effort needed to upgrade their version of SSRS and want to explore better options.

What programming features are available in SSRS?

We mentioned above one of the pros of SSRS is that’s it’s built for developers.  Here’s more information on the developer and user-based features of SSRS.

What is the purpose of the SSRS web portal?

The web portal in SSRS serves as the front door for end users, providing access to all Reporting Services reports and KPIs. It is a single-page, standards-based HTML5 app that can be viewed in most modern browsers. The web portal allows users to schedule report processing, access reports on demand, subscribe to published reports, and surface key business metrics through KPIs without having to open a report.

How can developers manage and secure their reports and data sources?

Developers can securely store and manage their reports, KPIs, Excel workbooks, shared datasets, and shared data sources in the new web portal. They can also tag favorite reports for quick access and utilize the traditional folder hierarchy for organization. Additionally, developers with appropriate permissions can manage and administer SSRS content.

What are some of the newer features and updates in SSRS?

While the updates are slower than in the past, SSRS is still getting regular updates and new features.  New-ish features and updates in SSRS include modern-looking paginated reports with updated tools and new features, a modern web portal for organizing and displaying reports and KPIs, and the integration of mobile reports with a responsive layout that adapts to different devices.

How can reports be accessed and consumed by users?

Users can consume reports in a web browser on their computer or mobile device, via email, and through the Power BI apps for Windows, iOS, Android, and HTML5.

What types of reports can be created in SSRS?

SSRS offers paginated reports, which are fixed-layout documents optimized for printing, such as PDF and Word files. This is the SSRS sweet spot.

How can users consume reports created with SSRS?

  • Users can consume the reports via email.
  • Users can consume the reports in a web browser on their mobile device.
  • Users can consume the reports in a web browser on their computer.
  • Users can receive the reports via email.
  • Users can consume the reports in a web browser on their mobile device.

What are the key features of SSRS?

What programming features and APIs does SSRS offer for customization?

SSRS provides programming features and APIs that allow users to extend and customize their reporting functionality. By leveraging the SSRS APIs, users can integrate or extend data and report processing in custom applications.

How can SSRS and Power BI be integrated?

SSRS and Power BI can be integrated by creating a hybrid experience. Instead of recreating on-premises Reporting Services reports in Power BI, users can pin visuals from those reports to their Power BI dashboards. This allows users to monitor everything in one place on their Power BI dashboard.

How does SSRS cater to the reporting needs on mobile devices?

SSRS addresses the reporting needs on mobile devices by offering mobile reports with a responsive layout that adapts to different devices and orientations. This ensures an optimal viewing experience on tablets and phones.

What is the new web portal in SSRS and what functionalities does it offer?

The new web portal in SSRS is a platform where users can organize and display paginated Reporting Services reports and KPIs. It also allows users to store Excel workbooks. Additionally, KPIs can be surfaced in the browser without having to open a report.

A Better Choice: Yurbi

We’ve looked at the issues with Microsoft SSRS, like limited customization, high resource use, and it’s tricky learning process. It’s clear that your business requires a tool that can grow and adapt to its needs without overloading your team or resources. This is where Yurbi comes in.

Why Yurbi? Here’s how it benefits you:

  • More Customization: Yurbi lets you tailor your reports to fit your business’s unique needs.
  • Ease of Use: Yurbi is simple and user-friendly. Even if you’re not a tech expert, you can navigate and create reports with ease.
  • Better Connectivity: With Yurbi, connecting different data sources is easy. You aren’t restricted like with SSRS.
  • Team Collaboration: Yurbi has tools that help your team work together efficiently.
  • Uses Many Platforms: Yurbi works well not just on Windows, but on other platforms too. Your team can work the way they prefer.

Importantly, SSRS can be pricey. However, Yurbi delivers the same services, and even more, but at a lower cost (when you consider running, maintaining it, and user satisfaction), making it a cost-effective choice for businesses of all sizes.

Ready for a change? Schedule a free live demo or a meeting with us to see how Yurbi can improve your business’s data management.

It’s time for an upgrade, and Yurbi is here to help.


Business Intelligence For Companies Ready To Grow

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