Microsoft intends to standardise reporting content types across Microsoft on-premises, cloud and hybrid systems. Microsoft’s reporting path forward focuses on four report types and Performance Point provides a fifth, the cousin that everyone forgot about:
- Interactive Reports with Power BI
- Paginated Reports with Reporting Services Visual Studio or Report Builder
- Mobile Reporting with Reporting Services Mobile Report Builder
- Analytical Reports with Excel
- Scorecards with Drilldown with Performance Point (the cousin that everyone forgot about)
Power BI – Power BI is Microsoft’s newest and fastest growing data visualisation technology. It brings freshness and wow to Microsoft’s Business Intelligence Product offerings, providing Interactive desktop, cloud and mobile optimised architecture and visualisation capability.
Reporting Services reports – Reporting Services 2016 now includes traditional Reporting Services reports plus Mobile Reports. Traditional reports are Paginated reports built with SQL Server Report Builder or SQL Server Data Tools. Paginated reports allow for exact placement of elements on a page and are capable of complex display logic for printed reports, online operational or regulatory reports or subscription based delivery to your file system or inbox in PDF, Word, Excel and more. Paginated and Operational reports have been a popular, invaluable foundation for day-to-day reporting and analytics for over a decade and these reports will continue to have a place as a standard report type.
Reporting Services Mobile Reports – Mobile reports are based on Datazen technology (one of Microsoft’s recent acquisitions). This fresh capability provides dedicated portable friendly reports optimised for mobile devices and form factors provide an optimal experience for users accessing BI reports from anywhere but their desks. By specifically designing reports for different mobile form factors, Microsoft’s roadmap is to enable users to get business insights, any way, anywhere and from any device – an essential ingredient for real time decision making.
Analytical reports and charts created with Excel – Excel is the most widely used analytical tool today and it will continue to be an important report type, critical to solutions on-premises and in the cloud.
Performance Point Scorecards – Performance Point provides a Scorecard style interface to organisation data, allowing a self service web interface to drilldown from 30,000 view right down to the granular tables that contain transactions. Further, scorecard KPIs can be weighted and rolled up to overall organisation goals. As much as Power BI is the new hero of the day, Performance Point is the unsung hero of these report options but is just too finicky for frequent changes… hence get the prototype right in Power BI first.