The data driven subscription in SSRS is a powerful tool, but underused in many businesses. It allows automatically generated reports to be developed based on desired data and can benefit a company's employees when used well. Below are some questions to ask when setting up a subscription that will help you get the most out of this robust service.
What data do we need?
The first question to ask when seeking to get the most out of a data drive subscription is: What data do we need? This question drives the parameters you will set up in your SSRS. An example would be quarterly sales statistics. In this example, you would first list the data you wanted: Sales territories, salespeople, closed sales, and sales in progress as an example. You would then set these parameters and initiate a quarterly report based on the information you desire.
Although it seems like a simple step, many clients do not decide the specifics on the front end, and therefore miss out on the possibility of gathering precise data to help them understand their business. Identifying needs on the front end helps drive your data sourcing and leads to a more fruitful data driven subscription in SSRS.
Where will we store it and who will have access?
Another step in the process of get the most out of your data driven subscription in SSRS is to identify where the generated report will be saved and who will have access to it. The example above uses a sales team gathering quarterly territorial sales data. In this instance, you may want to limit accessibility by territory, in which case, you would generate more than one report by area and then give access to each report to the salespeople for that territory.
Storage location, or file path, is really up to you and the best practices established by your IT department. One suggestion is to use a familiar spot for shared data in your network. This keeps things uniform and allows for an easier understanding of where to get the reports. Remember, you want your people to benefit from these reports. You are not running them just to take advantage of the excellent service you have using data driven subscription in SSRS.
How will we evaluate the process?
This final suggestion is also often overlooked, but can be essential for continued refinement of the reports you generate. How will you learn whether or not the information you are gathering in each data driven subscription in SSRS is helping your people achieve their goals and understand previous performance? In the example, we've been using in this article; perhaps it would be beneficial to add dollar amounts, some sales, contacts made or percentage of company sales attributed to that salesperson. The data driven subscriptions are highly customizable, so there's no reason to feel like you have to stick with the initial version. Find a way to regularly solicit feedback from your team to keep the information gathering process beneficial to your company and employees.
Automatically generate reports with SSRS that benefit both your company and your employees. Getting the most out of your data driven subscription in SSRS just takes a little planning, and some intentional follow through and maintenance. Use tools like SQL-RD to allow you to data-drive your reports even with a SQL Server Standard license. It is a powerful tool on which many businesses do not capitalize.