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Monday, 27 February 2012

SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) 2012 on the horizon?

Just a handful of the changes being talked about in the latest version of SSRS (2012).

Sharepoint integration
Simplify managed reporting environment with seamless integration with SharePoint and benefitting from the rich collaborative platform such as search and content management.

This will most likely bridge the gap between the SSRS interface used to execute reports and the way in which users are now used to finding information (through searching and browsing).

Report Builder
  • Report Builder is a fully-featured reporting authoring tool with the familiar Microsoft Office look and feel that enables IT Professionals and report authors to create reports seamlessly.
  • Render reports to a variety of formats, including the new Office formats for Word and Excel, as well as PDF, TIFF, and HTML.
  • Enable sharing of objects for faster more agile report development with Report Parts."

Already included in SSRS 2008/2008 R2 report builder allows non-expert users to drag and drop their data in to a report style layout, through the use of report models (setup by the developer).  However my opinion of report builder has always been that it should be bore in mind that non-expert users can induce duplication and as such inaccurate reports through this method, also that data could be manipulated in a way that is not consistent with the aims and objectives of the organisation.

Report Based Alerts (triggers)
"One of the functional changes for Denali Reporting Services is the possibility to add an alert to deployed reports. With this alert you will be notified when a specific value in your report reaches a predefined value. Till now we only had the data driven subscription. This data driven subscription would trigger the sending or rendering a complete report. With the alerts functionality you can define more detailed triggers to get informed on specific data changes or issues."

This means that report delivery can be more intelligent than the current time scheduled data driven reports, i.e. once a call centre member of staff has 10 call backs assigned the report can be sent as per the data driven subscription setup.  

Many will think of these report based triggers that can integrate with the reporting system, as opposed to database trigger which integrate more with the tables and inner workings of the database.  It should however be considered that a poorly thought out report based trigger could result in complex reports run too frequently resulting in general system performance issues (both the database being queried and the report system doing the rendering).

Useful links
Microsoft - Future release look - SRSS 2012