Microsoft SQL Reporting Services

ReportingServicesWith the prevalence of reporting tools available out there it is sometimes scary how many people do not realize that if you use or own ANY version of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 or Microsoft SQL Server 2008, even the free EXPRESS edition, then you have at your disposal a pretty powerful reporting solution.

It is interesting how many organizations that we walk into struggle with reporting.  We will be implementing a large – scale application implementation with the database platform being SQL Server and inevitably someone will say, “Well, I guess we need to find some Cognos licenses, or go buy Crystal Reports or Business Objects.”  Not the case, if you have SQL Server, you have Reporting Services.

Sample conversation:

Client:  “Well, it’s called Microsoft SQL Reporting Services, I can only use the tool to create reports against SQL Server data, right Dave?  You mean to tell me that I have to automate moving my data from my Oracle and DB2 databases to use this reporting framework….too much work. Why exactly am I paying you again?”

Me:  “Let’s table that last question.   Well, while the Reporting Services Engine will use 2 databases that have to be on SQL Server you can develop reports directly from your Oracle or DB2 databases, or really any type of database platform that you have.  While in some cases it IS useful to move some of your data over to SQL Server, you really do not have to.”

Client:  “So how do people access these reports?  I probably have to run them myself or have one my people do it and then email them right?  That does not seem so Web 2.0?”

Me:  “Web 2.0…really?  Anyways, no, you will not run the reports, Reporting Services includes a reporting portal interface right out of the box.  Your folks open up their web browser and they have access to all the reports that are there based upon their permissions.  It’s really pretty slick.  Also, you can schedule reports to run on their own, keep snapshots of reports, and also have the system email the reports automatically to your clients.”

Client:  “You got an answer for everything, huh?”

Me:  “Yup.”

So the moral of that little diversion is that Reporting Services really is pretty powerful and most of you already have it already.

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