Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services Review

Well packaged and easy to figure out but needs better visualization

What is our primary use case?

In one particular case, we had reporting issues and we were sucking data off of a couple of different systems into a data monitor. You might call it a data rig now. Due to the fact that we did that, we were using the transformation pieces to pull it into that data monitoring, and put out some operational-type reports.

The fun part about it was because we could do a lot with it and it didn't need necessarily another layer reports. It was pretty much encapsulated well already. 

What is most valuable?

The solution's features are all just wrapped up in one nice easy package. I don't need a lot of toolsets to get everything I need done.

It's not a difficult solution to figure out.

What needs improvement?

It doesn't have quite the flexibility of a Tableau or something like that. Many users are more comfortable with Tableau and I'm not quite sure why that is right now, but it seems to be the case.

The visualization needs improvement. They're lacking. Once again, Tableau is better in this respect. Basically taking the data and visualizing it onto the different types of reports and stuff like that needs to get better.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for the last twelve years or so.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

On-premises, I've never had stability issues with its exception of the original versions. It's safe to say the solution is quite stable at this point. For me, at least, it's been stable. I don't think I have a problem with it in that sense. It doesn't crash or freeze and I can't say it's buggy or glitchy.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution doesn't scale horizontally. 

From a vertical scalability standpoint, it's fine. It depends on the same issues that all relational databases do. Even if you set it up for reporting, etc. However, from a horizontal scaling, it really wasn't the way that it was designed. At the end of the day, I don't really know. I haven't used it for scaling purposes personally and don't even know if it's capable of scaling horizontally.

We probably only have about 100 users on the solution. It's not a lot. We just use it for a financial app.

How are customer service and technical support?

Typically, if a company has bad consultants, they need to contact technical support a lot. However, we have a very good understanding of the product, so that's not usually necessary.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We've previously used a lot of different products, including Oracle OBIEE and Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer. Discover is quite old. Most people wouldn't even know what it is. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup question is a tricky one to answer. It depends on what you call easy. Some implemented well, and it was due to the fact that we put it in a monitor because the data didn't join well and we had some bigger data management issues. Some people would call that complex, and yet, it's pretty normal as to why you put something into a monitor.

On a smaller deployment, it was probably a couple of months of work. The process was probably only 200 man-hours to get what we needed out of it. It wasn't a huge deal.

The solution doesn't need too much maintenance. It would've just been something that once it was done, the normal staff just go ahead and do the maintenance. That's after the ETL programs are built, and so on. Maintenance is not a big deal. We can pretty much figure everything out. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We compare a few different solutions. Tableau is usually easier for users to get behind as it's a bit simpler to use. It has good visualization.

What other advice do I have?

I'm not sure which version of the solution we are currently using. We've updated it a few times over the years.

I'd advise other users to just to be really clear on what you're trying to accomplish. You've got to make sure it's the right product for what you're trying to do.

I'd rate the solution seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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...who compared it with Tableau
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