SSRS vs Power BI

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    SSRS vs Power BI – Which BI Route Should You Take?


    Key Takeaways:

    SSRS and Power BI are popular business intelligence tools from Microsoft’s BI stack.

    SSRS shares great similarities with Power BI. It has the ability to generate reports from diverse data sources and share close integration with Microsoft Ecosystem.

    Yet, SSRS is a popular tool among businesses with a focus on conventional, paginated reporting needs. And a need for on-premises deployment.

    Whereas Power BI is a popular BI tool for businesses with a focus on self-service, cloud-based analytics.

    Explore their primary differences and decide which BI tool from Microsoft’s BI stack best suits your organization’s BI needs.

    Welcome back to our ongoing series comparing Power BI with the leading business intelligence tools of 2024.

    Recapping on our last discussion, we last compared Power BI with Qlik Sense & with Tableau.

    Today, we’re going to compare Microsoft SSRS vs Power BI.

    Wondering, “Ain’t they a part of Microsoft’s Business Intelligence stack?”

    You’re right!

    You may be confused since both tools are a vital part of Microsoft’s BI stack.

    But mind you!

    They are meant for different sets of audiences and are dedicated to different BI practices.

    And we’re here to explore just that.

    Reading this guide till the end will give you a clear vision.

    Vision to pick the right tool for your business’s data visualization and data reporting needs.

    So why wait?

    Let’s get going to uncover –

    • What is Power BI? And what is Microsoft SSRS?
    • What is SSRS vs Power BI?
    • Which is a better BI tool: Power BI or SSRS?
    • With a bonus insight into – Power BI Reporting Server

    Ready to explore, comprehend, and decide?

    Let’s get going.

    Before digging into the comparison of Power BI vs SSRS let’s take a glance at what these reporting tools are about.

    What is Power BI?

    Microsoft Power BI is a data visualization and reporting platform introduced in 2015.

    The tech-driven, cloud-based platform is dedicated to analyzing raw information to present actionable insights, and drive data-driven decision-making.

    What sets Power BI apart from the table-toppers is its user-friendly and smart features. Its features facilitate real-time data access and collective analytics, with robust security measures.

    This enables businesses, large and small to avail of state-of-the-art business intelligence at flexible pricing.

    Next in the debate of SSRS vs Power BI, it’s time to throw spotlight on the next contender, MS SQL Server Reporting Services.

    What is SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)?

    Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services, popularly known as SSRS, is a server-based business intelligence platform to generate paginated reports.

    It comes free with SQL Server 2012.

    What sets SSRS apart in the business intelligence market is its capability to create conventional, paginated reports, which are primary for businesses with structured reporting needs.

    To better understand the Power BI vs SSRS comparison, it’s crucial to understand the unique purpose they serve.

    Moving on, let’s take sneak a peek into the distinctive purposes of SQL Server Reporting Services and Power BI.

    What is the Purpose of Power BI?

    The purpose of Power BI is to enable businesses of all sizes with distinct budgets, to turn their unrelated data sources into visually appealing, and interactive insights.

    Whether your data is in a spreadsheet, on the cloud, on-premises, or a mix of both; Power BI seamlessly integrates and consolidates it to generate visually appealing reports and dashboards.

    This empowers your users to conduct comprehensive data analysis, create effective visualizations, and collaborate effortlessly across the teams, anytime & anywhere.

    In the debate of SSRS vs Power BI, it’s time to understand the distinct purpose of SSRS.

    What is the Purpose of SSRS?

    The purpose of Microsoft SSRS is to facilitate easy creation of form reports in the formatted table manners in images, graphs, charts, and data forms.

    SSRS best serves businesses that are not comfortable having their data in the cloud. Due to data sensitivity, data sovereignty, or compliance reasons.

    Do you wonder, “Whether Microsoft SSRS will be discontinued?”

    So far, SQL Server Reporting Services is an integral part of Microsoft’s BI suite.

    We don’t know what the future holds, so we don’t know if Microsoft will deprecate SSRS in the future.

    If you’re looking for a BI tool with a promising future and Microsoft’s full support, Power BI is your best bet.

    So far, you have got a basic idea of what SQL server reporting services and Power BI from the Microsoft BI stack are about.

    Up next, we’ll give you a proper view of their distinct features to help you make a better judgment.

    SSRS vs Power BI Comparison of Features

    Here’s a snapshot of the Power BI vs SSRS comparison that will take you closer to your decision.

    microsoft ssrs vs power bi

    Moving on, it’s time to explore the side-by-side differences between MS Power BI vs SSRS. And finalize which BI route should you take.  

    Microsoft SSRS vs Power BI: Points of Disparity to Consider in 2024

    Businesses whose CEOs make data-backed decisions are 77% more likely to achieve success. – According to a Deloitte survey.

    A robust BI tool in place takes the hassle out of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting raw data. This empowers CEOs and leaders, like yourself, to make data-driven decisions effortlessly and confidently.

    Microsoft stands at the forefront of the data visualization and business intelligence industry.

    Thus, comparing MS SSRS vs Power BI from Microsoft BI stack is both essential and insightful.

    Let’s understand the points of disparities to help you make the right choice.

    SSRS vs Power BI: Nature of the BI Tool

    Although SSRS shares common features with Power BI; it is conventional in terms of its nature.

    It is used in organizations for data visualization. It is also used to produce, view, and share reports with precise formatting and layout.

    Moreover, it has a programming and coding interface along with multiple processing components.

    Power BI, on the other hand, is used by businesses for data visualization, analysis, reporting, and storytelling. Its rich GUI and drag-and-drop features enable the creation of dynamic and interactive dashboards and reports.

    Microsoft SSRS vs Power BI: User Interface

    Microsoft SSRS offers a straightforward interface. It is designed for creating structured and paginated reports with precise formatting and layout control.

    The SSRS environment is more suitable for a technical audience.

    Whereas Power BI has drag-and-drop functionality and intuitive interface. This makes it easy to design visually appealing reports and dashboards effortlessly.

    The Power BI environment is ideal for users from all technical backgrounds.

    This accessibility makes Power BI, the best choice, for businesses seeking a self-service BI tool with minimal investment.

    However, to leverage the complete potential of Power BI, it’s ideal to partner with a Power BI consulting services provider.

    Power BI vs SSRS: Data Modeling and Transformation

    SSRS primarily focuses on data presentation and formatting within the boundaries of structured, paginated reports. Thus, it has limited data modeling and transformation capabilities.

    Power BI’s data modeling and transformation capabilities are robust and user-friendly. It helps in deriving and transforming the data and loading it in the form of visuals.

    Microsoft SSRS vs Power BI: SSRS Expressions vs DAX

    You can use SSRS Expressions in SSRS and DAX in Power BI to generate dynamic reports.

    SSRS expressions are straightforward. They are mainly used for dynamic report elements like parameters. You can also use DAX to build SSRS reports.

    DAX in Power BI has extensive documentation and books, and it is applicable to Multidimensional Databases. It’s very much like Excel functions, making it easier to understand and apply. DAX is a powerful language for data manipulation.

    Comparing them is tough as DAX is used for querying and SSRS expressions are used for enhancing reports.

    MS SSRS vs Power BI: Natural Language Queries

    SSRS does not have this feature. It mainly focuses on data presentation and structured report generation.

    Power BI, on the other hand, has Cortana integrated for AI-based natural language processing. It facilitates Q&A interactions with your data and reports directly within your Power BI environment.

    Power BI vs SSRS Comparison: Mobile App

    SSRS has SQL Server Mobile Report Publisher, but it was deprecated for all releases of SQL Server Reporting Services after SQL Server Reporting Services 2019.

    It is discontinued starting in SQL Server Reporting Services 2022 and Power BI Report Server (an on-premises solution for reporting).

    Power BI reports and dashboards can be easily accessed and shared by using the Power BI Mobile App. You can share the reports with either the entire organization or specific people or groups.

    Plus, you need not create different reports for mobile access.

    The Power BI Mobile App is available for free download from the Google Play Store (4.6 rating) and the Apple App Store (4.7 rating).

    Power BI vs. SSRS: Learning Curve & User Training

    SSRS is a stagnant software which adds up to its steep learning curve. Moreover, you need dedicated SQL Server engineers to ensure success.

    On the other hand, Power BI has a shallow learning curve, due to its easy-to-use drag-and-drop features. Anybody can self-start their BI initiative with Power BI Desktop.

    However, non-technical users may struggle to master its advanced features.

    MS SSRS vs Power BI: AI & ML

    SSRS has impressive graphical abilities, actions and drill-through, and complex filtering capabilities. But it doesn’t have Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning capabilities.

    Conversely, Power BI has robust AI capabilities which you can use to gain access to a collection of pre-trained machine learning models.

    MS SSRS vs Power BI: Pricing

    SQL Server License is required to access MS SSRS.

    Here’s the price breakdown to access Power BI.

    Power BI Desktop

    Cost: Free

    Power BI Pro

    Cost: USD 10 per user/month

    Power BI Premium Per User

    Cost: USD 20 per user/month (Free if you have Microsoft 365)

    Power BI Premium (per-capacity)

    Cost: USD 4995 Per Month for P1 SKU

    Thinking? – “Power BI is indeed equipped with modern data visualization and reporting capabilities. But SSRS has its pluses, especially in conventional reporting and on-premises deployment.”

    Does it make your decision even more difficult?

    Thinking if understanding Power BI vs SSRS pros and cons will help?

    Let’s get going to understand the SSRS vs Power BI pros and cons and take you closer to your decision.

    SSRS vs Power BI Pros and Cons

    Whether you’re inclined towards Power BI or SSRS, exploring the pluses and minuses of both the reporting and BI tools will provide you with a clearer perspective.

    Here you go.

    Power BI Pros and Cons

    Power BI ProsPower BI Cons
    Shallow learning curveExpensive to scale
    Wide variety of customizationUnreasonable cost for Power BI Premium
    Built-in machine learning featuresSteep learning curve for advanced features
    Seamless collaboration with Power BI Mobile AppLimited capabilities with the Power BI Desktop Free version
    Ability to process voluminous data with Power BI Premium versionHigh reliability on the internet for real-time data visualization
    Relatively affordableReport sharing requires a Power BI Pro or Premium subscription

    SSRS Pros and Cons

    SSRS ProsSSRS Cons
    Reliable reportingMicrosoft updates SSRS only once every few years
    Great drill-down capacityHighly proficient SSRS developers are required
    Flexibility to generate a variety of reportsNatural language queries not supported
    Widespread usage despite old technologyLimited customization options
    Centralized control and distribution of reportsLess user-friendly interface
    Programming interface for precise customizationLimited mobile support
    Familiar choice for organizations well-versed with traditional reportingBasic access control

    This Power BI vs SSRS pros and cons is all you need to decode the SSRS vs Power BI battle for Microsoft BI supremacy.

    Thinking – “What if I could blend both the tools from Microsoft’s BI stack? And leverage the strengths of Power BI within my on-premises environment?”

    You’re on the right track!

    After decoding Power BI vs. SSRS, let’s now unwind the double power of Power BI and SSRS – Power BI Reporting Server.

    What’s Power BI Reporting Server?

    Power BI report server is an on-premises report server by Microsoft. It is used to host, manage, and display reports and KPIs.

    It is built upon the SQL Server Reporting Service’s (SSRS) foundation. This means it inherits many features from SSRS such as report authoring, support for multiple data sources, ability to create pixel-perfect paginated reports.

    For businesses, seeking to embrace the capabilities of SQL Server Reporting Services along with cloud-based analytics and modern data reporting – Power BI Reporting Server is the best solution.

    So that was about the Microsoft SSRS vs Power bI for business leaders, who are looking to leverage the capabilities of business intelligence and data visualization from Microsoft’s BI stack.

    As we come to the end of this insightful guide, we’re confident that you gained valuable insights into the MS SSRS vs Power BI comparison. And an answer to your prolonged question – “Which BI tool is best for my business’s needs?”

    Now, what should be your next step?

    Ideally, your next step should be to consult a Microsoft-Certified partner.

    They shall help you explore how integrating Power BI or SSRS can benefit your organization.

    The partner also provides expert guidance to meet your unique requirements. And help you with implementation and optimization of your choice of BI tool.

    This blog was presented to you by Integrative Systems, America’s leading Power BI consulting and implementation partner.

    If you’re looking for a Microsoft-certified partner who prioritizes your success and specializes in Microsoft’s BI stack, look no further than Integrative Systems.

    You can reach out to us at [email protected] and our team of professionals will get back to you in 1-2 business days.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Power BI and SSRS

    1. Does Power BI Need SSRS?

    No. Power BI is a cloud-based, standalone product and doesn’t need SSRS which is based on SQL Server. Power BI and SSRS are 2 different business intelligence tools from Microsoft’s BI stack that serve different purposes and audiences.

    2. Can We Replace SSRS with Power BI?

    Yes, you can replace SSRS with Power BI or migrate to Power BI. However, you need to consider your organization’s reporting needs, cost factors, and technical feasibility before making the switch. Talk to Power BI professionals to make the decision today.

    3. Is the Power BI Report Server Same as SSRS?

    The Power BI Report Server (PBRS) and SSRS are not the same. It’s important to note that PBRS is built on SSRS architecture. To install and use PBRS, you need to purchase a Power BI Premium license. To access SSRS, you need to purchase an SQL Server License.

    Other than that, PBRS is quicker, more modern, and graphical whereas SSRS needs more time and manual effort to analyze data and create reports.

    4. When Power BI Is Better Than SSRS?

    Power BI is better than SSRS in many aspects. It has a user-friendly interface, easy mobile accessibility, modern capabilities such as AIML, efficient data visualization and data analytics capabilities, and much more.

    However, SSRS is an ideal choice for organizations that demand specific paginated reports, precise formatting control, and on-premises deployment.

    5. Will SSRS be Replaced by Power BI?

    SSRS will not be replaced by Power BI – a cloud-based BI tool. But it will be replaced by Power BI Report Server. Power BI Report Server is an on-premises report server with the robust data visualization and reporting capabilities of Power BI and SSRS.

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