Being able to make smart, actionable use of all of your data is crucial to success in today’s hyper-competitive digital landscape. As such, more and more companies are rolling out reporting tools in an effort to capture various segments of the market, some with more finesse than others. Luckily, one of the original tech mainstays, Microsoft, has their own suite, called SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) which combines agile reporting with a price point that is sure to keep your wallet happy.
SSRS in a nutshell
At its core, SSRS is a customer-employed solution that is typically deployed on-premises to assist the customer with the creation, publication, and management of customized reports which are then delivered to correct end users. Whether this is done via a traditional email push or optimized for the mobile-first experience is up to the person developing reports, though SSRS has the flexibility to accommodate most setups.
The three primary reporting layouts that are packaged in the suite include the more common “paginated” reports which are designed to take a previously outdated concept and modernize it, mobile reports that adapt to different devices accordingly, and web portals which work in almost any modern browser and allow you to display and organize both paginated and mobile reports as well as your KPIs. The web portals also provide for Excel workbook storage, as well.
While this may seem simple in theory, each reporting layout and tool goes far more in-depth than it first appears, with vast functionality and layers upon layers of features. In fact, depending on the tool you’re using, you may need to integrate a handful of other applications to get your desired effect.
Here’s the good news about SSRS: the base application is completely free of charge through the Microsoft website, so long as you have SQL Server. However, depending on the applications you’re trying to integrate with your reporting tools, they will come at a premium. Also, there’s one specific cost that you might have neglected to factor into your budget: your time.
While most reasonably tech-savvy individuals should be able to pick up SSRS and generate modest reports without much of a hassle, the less computer-inclined (and even some digital veterans out there) will find themselves with a much steeper learning curve. In fact, it’s recommended that to gain the best results from SSRS, you should be somewhat proficient with its suite of tools which takes a great deal of time and energy. By now, you’re no doubt looking for a shortcut or a way to reach mastery without the hours of practice and study. That’s where SSRS Training comes in.
Back to school
If you’re looking to tackle SSRS concepts at any level of proficiency, your best bet is to find a qualified SSRS instructor, especially if you’re working with an in-house tech team that needs to get up to speed quickly. However, not every training service is created equally, and there are a few things to keep in mind when searching out SSRS training, particularly if it’s for a dedicated team.
You should try to find someone who offers in-office instruction. That means that you don’t have to wrangle all of your coworkers to go to an offsite demonstration. Instead, all the learning is done from the convenience of your office. Next, look for an agency with a solid industry reputation. Sure, your coworker’s son might be something of a computer whiz, but he probably isn’t well-suited for instructing an entire team of professionals.
You should also factor in your budget. Chances are, you’re interested in SSRS because of the zero dollar price tag, so that frugality should extend to your training, as well. This doesn’t mean you should choose the cheapest option on the market. In fact, it could be argued that spending more money is better here so that you won’t have to invest in re-training should your lessons prove to be a bust. Rather, look for the agency that offers the most value for your dollar.
SSRS is deceptively simple, but quite tricky to master. While it can be an invaluable tool in your wheelhouse, it also takes time, patience, and some likely training. However, once you’ve properly aligned yourself with everything this toolkit can do, you’re going to be well on your way to generating eye-catching, professional reports.