Squeezing the lemon. Getting some ROI from SSRS.

First of all, I am going to shamelessly plug our Business Intelligence (SSRS) services. If you aren’t already firmilar with our capabilities, I am going to strongly recommend perusing our site or contact us directly. Since thats out of the way, we can get to the squeezing part.

Awareness

One of our clients operates with a SQL based product and has done so since it’s inception. It wasn’t until 2010 that they began to use SSRS. Even now, it’s not leveraged as much as it could be. Why would they go years without exploring the possibilities for their BI needs? Maybe they didn’t have the staff knowledge or awareness to seek it out? Companies must be aware of their assets and tools.

Don’t Pay Twice

When recommending the usage of SSRS, their first question was “how much does it cost?” Some businesses don’t realize that if they already own a SQL Server license, they also have access to SSRS as well. It took them by suprise when we shared this info.

We’ve encountered environments where Crystal Reports is used as the default reporting platform. Curiously, each time it has been due to another larger software system which came packaged with Crystal inside. The executives weren’t really aware there were alternatives. Don’t get me wrong, we think Crystal is a perfectly fine option for any company’s reporting needs and in those cases, it made more business sense. The problem is that those same systems use a MS SQL server as a back-end and the client is effectively paying twice for BI and reporting capabilities.

Augment

Maybe you’ve known about SSRS and have been using it for cursory reporting needs. How can you stretch your dollar further? Aside from bringing in consultants to analyze your business intelligence needs, you can augment the capabilities with an analytics suite like Strategy Companion – Analyzer or MS Dynamics. Either way, you’re paying for something. SSRS is a reporting platform. It’s not magical, but it can be powerful in the right hands. Your business needs should dictate the pros and cons of adding a suite or hiring a consultant.

Integrate

Incorporate SSRS into your business process. Are you still trying to maintain Excel charts? Or Access databases? Having to hobble them together for your business reports at the end of the month? If you already have a SQL server in your enterprise, you should be automating all of these tasks in SSRS instead. If you don’t have SQL server then you should consider the cost of labor to make all of your reports vs the cost of a SQL server license.

Do you have line of business applications that you depend on for your operations? If you’re not integrating those with SSRS, its a great opportunity lost. Microsoft provides Web Service end points for application integration with SSRS. Any application that can consume SOAP web services can also integrate with SSRS.

Conclusion

Whether the concept is new to you or not, SSRS can still be used to a greater potential in most enterprises. If any of these points struck a chord with you or you’re just simply in a head-spin, I would encourage you to learn more about our services.