The year 2020 has demonstrated the business need for agility and adaptation, as the entire world has seen a global change in how enterprises are operating in a new world of lockdowns, social distancing, and changing work styles and habits. Fortunately for many businesses, some core processes have proven especially agile and adaptable to this changing economic landscape and have risen in their value and significance; one area in particular where businesses should be leveraging their existing tools is with SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) reporting.
This server-based report generating system offers companies the ideal solution when it comes to building and distributing custom reports from any and every data source you can access; such flexibility empowers administrators to provide specific reports to select groups, both within and outside the corporate framework.
Developing and Creating Data-Driven Subscriptions
Instead of relying on manual methodologies for creating and disseminating reports to key individuals, it's time to step up your game and unleash the real power behind SSRS reporting: the development and creation of data-driven subscriptions. This dynamic method of generating reports allows the administrator to schedule reports automatically, gleaning data from as many external sources as necessary, then targeting the distribution so it reaches players needing current and appropriate information, in the best format for the recipient, including email, file sharing, or collaborative platforms such as SharePoint.
This degree of control positions all recipients to respond quicker and more effectively upon receipt of fresh and relevant information, which increases the likelihood of reaching and surpassing business goals, meeting crucial deadlines, along with improved management of regular business activities and communications.
Strength in Variety: Multiple SSRS Report Formats
Another strength of SSRS reporting is the multiplicity of report formats which can be chosen: this extends beyond the three basic reporting types of graphical, tabular, or free-form styles. In fact, often you will create a hybrid report which incorporates two or all three styles, as needs demand. A quick overview reveals the following SSRS report formats you will likely use:
- Ad Hoc - these SSRS reports are created on an "as needed" basis by a user; this helps users gain confidence while learning to find answers to their questions through logical queries
- Cached - certain reports are not as time sensitive, so they can be created and stored for later access and use; not only does this ease the server load during heavy times, but the same report can be used by multiple persons or departments, avoiding unnecessary replications
- Clickthrough - summarized reports often serve a sufficient purpose, but providing access to detailed backup information is easy to implement with live interactive links
- Drill Down - similar to a collapsible outline, an SSRS report which features a drill down format allows the reader to obtain greater details on any summarized section by clicking a "plus" icon; clicking the "minus" icon subsequently collapses the detailed explanation
- Drillthrough - some reports may be an aggregation of a series of other reports; an example would be reviewing sales reports for the entire sales team, with drillthrough links offering performance by a specific salesperson, and more drillthrough links providing direct reviews of individual sales
- Linked - when dealing with an SSRS report comprised of a series previously existing reports, being able to access those source reports in their original format and layout can reveal different perspectives and prior results
- Paginated - for reports spanning multiple pages, the pagination feature enables readers to gain an overview of the number of pages contained in the report and on which pages report items can be located
- Parameterized - some reports require specific and new inputs prior to generating a new SSRS report; often these involve filters which define specific ranges, such as a time period, department results, or individual performance
- Snapshot - by creating predefined snapshot reports, you can get an immediate and accurate picture of any situation, including historical trends, assessing data consistency, while reducing server loads by generating snapshots during lower server activity
- Subreports - the ability to embed reports within larger reports makes for faster reading and fuller comprehension with the further ability to dive deeper into any referenced subreport; any SSRS report can be used as a subreport
SSRS Reporting Benefits
Any report which is current and relevant adds value to your enterprise, but by mastering SSRS reporting capabilities, you open up new opportunities and benefits for your business, such as:
- Charting - in business, a picture (or graph) is worth more than a thousand words; it often reveals important trends and changing demands
- Custom Filters - rather than massage generalized data to fit specific needs, custom filters lets you ask the precise questions to which you need answers
- Deep Dives - with the ability to drill down to greater details, you can quickly change your focus from a macro to micro view, and then return to the larger picture readily and easily
- Easy Access - users can have their own reports folder, which allows for immediate viewing without having to generate report requests; also, when building their own custom reports, empowering users to define their own report parameters improves overall performance and job confidence
- Expandable Summaries - by embedding reports within one another, you can deliver readable and actionable summaries, while allowing every reader to expand and examine areas pertinent to their own responsibilities and actions
- Subreporting - standalone reports can also function as subreports within a variety of summarized SSRS reports
- Tabular Perspective - sometimes, numbers speak more loudly than words; in such cases, presenting volumes of numerical data in well-organized tables reveal both problems and answers better than a written summary
Mastering SSRS Reporting
As with any tool which offers so much in the way of flexibility and power, there will be a learning curve involved. That being said, once you understand the true value and importance of masterful SSRS reporting, you will find the educational process both fascinating and instructive. As you grasp more of its capabilities, you are also subconsciously planting important seeds which creates new avenues and paths of possibility within your imagination.
In other words, the path towards SSRS reporting mastery is a richly rewarding journey both financially and mentally, allowing you hone to your thinking and develop new management skills to boost your career and your company's success.
You can send an unlimited number of reports with only one ChristianSteven SSRS Report Generating Software System license. This solution for companies who need to build custom reports from a variety of data sources, such as SQL databases and other external sources. And especially in a fluid environment where teams are working remotely, SSRS Reports, Tools, Tutorials and Automation goes the distance through report sharing based on access permissions and user groups. Speak with one of our product specialists.