Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)
Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is the SQL Server component for the creation of different report formats as well as the publication of content such as reports, KPIs, and Excel and Power BI files using a central web-based portal. Besides Reporting Services, Microsoft SQL Server consists of further products including a relational database management system, data integration and data quality components, and Analysis Services (SSAS) as a multidimensional database.
Microsoft is the world’s largest software company. Compared to the huge business the company does in a range of different markets, its BI revenues are relatively small. Nevertheless, Microsoft is a strong presence in the BI market and its offering is strategic to complement existing solutions and to drive cloud revenues.
In the past, the vendor spread its BI capabilities across the Office, SharePoint and SQL Server product lines, providing tools for formatted reporting, analysis and dashboards. However, in 2015 Microsoft released a dedicated BI and analytics product portfolio called Cortana Intelligence Suite.
Microsoft’s strategic development in the BI area dates back to 1996 when it purchased OLAP technology from Panorama. In just a few years Microsoft moved from being a surprising entrant into the OLAP market to become the market share leader.
Microsoft has bundled its main database technologies in SQL Server, which many companies use today to build a central data warehouse. This package includes data integration (Integration Services (SSIS) as well as multidimensional and relational data mana¬gement. Reporting Services (SSRS), a solution for formatted reporting, is also included with SQL Server.
Report Builder, a tool launched in 2005, was designed to help business users create printed reports on the fly. With the 2016 version, Microsoft introduced Revolution Analytics R technology into the server, which provides powerful capabilities for the implementation of predictive and data mining scenarios.
Besides SQL Server, Microsoft provides BI functionality in its Power BI and Excel product lines. Power BI was first introduced in 2013 as a cloud-based BI package using Office 365 for publishing, collaboration and mobile delivery.
Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services is part of the Microsoft SQL Server platform. Reporting Services has a drag-and-drop interface for creating reports. The same component is used for the standalone Report Builder and the Visual Studio plug-in. The tool supports the pixel-accurate positioning of report objects when a page size is defined.
User & Use Cases
Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services is much liked by mid-sized companies as many use the SQL Server database to create their data warehouse. Indeed, the product is used by a high proportion of users, showing that the tool is not only able to serve smaller scenarios.
There is an emphasis on standard/enterprise reporting with SSRS, although 70 percent of users also report using it for dashboards. This partly reflects the historical use of the software for creating simple dashboards, as well as the use of technology from the Datazen acquisition for the creation of visually appealing mobile reports.
Microsoft in general offers several products for ad hoc query and report creation, and many companies have standardized on Microsoft software. Therefore it is not surprising to see Excel and Power BI being regularly evaluated up against SSRS.
Current vs. planned use
N = 63
5 products most often evaluated in competition with Microsoft SSRS
N = 59
Percentage of employees using Microsoft SSRS
N = 61
Number of users using Microsoft SSRS
N = 62
Tasks carried out with Microsoft SSRS by business users
N = 63
Company size (number of employees)
N = 63