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Anything out there better than SSRS Expand / Collapse
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Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2012 12:06 PM
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Scott D. Jacobson (8/7/2012)
I'm going to have to start with a couple caveats.

1) I don't really have any experience with SSRS.
2) I'm not really sure if it's better but we used this at a place I worked at about 5 years ago.

Actuate

I'm not sure I can say it's 'better' than SSRS due to my lack of experience with SSRS. I can tell you that if you're familiar with Visual Studio and/or BIDS, the report designer with be familiar to you.


thanks
Post #1342098
Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2012 12:09 PM


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I used it on few projects, mostly for demos.
It's easy to learn and has a simple GUI.
Scripting is very similar to T-SQL and can be protected to prevent changes on it. The data structure might be confusing when you're coming from a SQL Server environment.
There are some demos on the webpage and there's a free personal edition so you can try it.
The server configuration is not difficult and can be done in a few minutes.



Luis C.
Are you seriously taking the advice and code from someone from the internet without testing it? Do you at least understand it? Or can it easily kill your server?

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Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2012 12:12 PM


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Luis Cazares (8/8/2012)
I used it on few projects, mostly for demos.
It's easy to learn and has a simple GUI.
Scripting is very similar to T-SQL and can be protected to prevent changes on it. The data structure might be confusing when you're coming from a SQL Server environment.
There are some demos on the webpage and there's a free personal edition so you can try it.
The server configuration is not difficult and can be done in a few minutes.


Thanks Luis....appreciate your comments
will go grab the personal edition and have a play

kind regards
jls


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Post #1342107
Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2012 12:14 PM


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If execs are looking for ad hoc reporting tools, it's hard to go wrong with pivot tables. PowerPivot and Excel have been mentioned already. I haven't used PowerPivot, but Excel pivot tables reading from SSAS are a great way to let execs, etc., "build their own reports". I've seen problems with the kind of people who want to know why the TV on their desk has a typewritter plugged into it, but anyone beyond that stage can learn Excel pivot tables pretty rapidly, in my experience.

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Post #1342111
Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2012 12:24 PM
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J Livingston SQL (8/8/2012)
Luis Cazares (8/7/2012)
I'm not sure if there's a conflict of interests by posting the following but...
If you're looking for a nice tool that can be easy for the execs to work with, you might try qlikview.
It's not a replacement for SSRS, but it might be a nice tool.


Hi Luis

have you been actively involved in using qlikview?....its something I only yesterday started to research....my company reqs are exactly as you say..."easy for the execs".

...but is it hard to admin / set up so that it appears as being "easy to the execs"


There are things that really suck in SSRS: Parameter layout is one that drives me mad. I have reports where the user can select an operator and operand(s)

For example, the first param for a date report might be a choice of <, >, =, between

When they select between they need to select a start date and end date, so I end up with operator, operand1 on 1 line and operand 2 on a second line.

Similarly, if I have above and then want another parameter, I can't get the operator to start on new line without adding an empty parameter, which just confuses users,

so instead of

Operator1 Operand1.1 Operand1.2
Operator2 Operand2.1

I get:

Operator1 Operand1.1
Operand1.2 Operator2
Operand2.1

The whole thing about not be able to select which parameters don't cascade is a real pain. Having 7-8 parameters and having to wait for a postback after every single one sucks

Regards

Mark
Post #1342121
Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2012 12:24 PM
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GSquared (8/8/2012)
If execs are looking for ad hoc reporting tools, it's hard to go wrong with pivot tables. PowerPivot and Excel have been mentioned already. I haven't used PowerPivot, but Excel pivot tables reading from SSAS are a great way to let execs, etc., "build their own reports". I've seen problems with the kind of people who want to know why the TV on their desk has a typewritter plugged into it, but anyone beyond that stage can learn Excel pivot tables pretty rapidly, in my experience.


Thanks Aaron

We're not running SSAS right now, just plain old SQL and SSRS. The majority of the reporting is operational data. From what I understand about SSAS (very little) is that it's more for data warehousing, so should really operational data. We obviously do have historic data that we could warehouse and I want to explore that, but right now it's mostly operational data
Post #1342122
Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2012 12:25 PM


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GSquared (8/8/2012)
If execs are looking for ad hoc reporting tools, it's hard to go wrong with pivot tables. PowerPivot and Excel have been mentioned already. I haven't used PowerPivot, but Excel pivot tables reading from SSAS are a great way to let execs, etc., "build their own reports". I've seen problems with the kind of people who want to know why the TV on their desk has a typewritter plugged into it, but anyone beyond that stage can learn Excel pivot tables pretty rapidly, in my experience.


We have been providing excel pivot tables from SSAS for years now.....sadly the majority of middle management execs who really need the slice/dice/summarise/drillthro that is easily available in excel...cannot for some reason (in spite of numerous training sessions / hand holding ) "get their heads around multi dimensions".

Quite often Support ends up reformatting a pivot table to provide a "new" view...which the exec then refreshes and maybe, just maybe knows how to alter the sales month.

We have even reverted in some cases to providing static pdf reports.

Accountants on the other hand....love pivot tables.

...perhaps this explains the strapline in my signature













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Post #1342123
Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2012 1:19 PM


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J Livingston SQL (8/8/2012)

Accountants on the other hand....love pivot tables.


I would say that Accountants love Excel. some might even ask you to put the whole database in Excel and they will work from there.



Luis C.
Are you seriously taking the advice and code from someone from the internet without testing it? Do you at least understand it? Or can it easily kill your server?

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Post #1342162
Posted Thursday, August 9, 2012 6:41 AM


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J Livingston SQL (8/8/2012)
GSquared (8/8/2012)
If execs are looking for ad hoc reporting tools, it's hard to go wrong with pivot tables. PowerPivot and Excel have been mentioned already. I haven't used PowerPivot, but Excel pivot tables reading from SSAS are a great way to let execs, etc., "build their own reports". I've seen problems with the kind of people who want to know why the TV on their desk has a typewritter plugged into it, but anyone beyond that stage can learn Excel pivot tables pretty rapidly, in my experience.


We have been providing excel pivot tables from SSAS for years now.....sadly the majority of middle management execs who really need the slice/dice/summarise/drillthro that is easily available in excel...cannot for some reason (in spite of numerous training sessions / hand holding ) "get their heads around multi dimensions".

Quite often Support ends up reformatting a pivot table to provide a "new" view...which the exec then refreshes and maybe, just maybe knows how to alter the sales month.

We have even reverted in some cases to providing static pdf reports.

Accountants on the other hand....love pivot tables.

...perhaps this explains the strapline in my signature


Yeah, but the people who can't get pivot tables, won't get any other ad hoc reporting tool. In those cases, it's not the tool that's at fault.

There comes a point where you have to surrender to the innevitable, and (as diplomatically as possible), let them know that hiring a report-writer would solve all of those problems. The fact that it could, in most cases, be a high school freshman, just so long as the person is good at being patient with "no, wait, go back to what you were just showing, whatever it was", and "you know that report we looked at a few weeks ago, I need that one changed a little bit, when can you do that?" (to a person who works on dozens of reports per day).


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Post #1342594
Posted Thursday, August 9, 2012 9:22 AM
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A number of our business units have installed Tableau Desktop and find it does the job for them.

If you are unable to upgrade to SQL 2012 then Tableau can be a good choice. It has a lot of features and has consistently scored high in Gartners quadrents for ability to deliver (in simple terms it has a low number of bugs). The desktop version is fairly cheap, but their server version costs much ther same as a SQL/SharePoint stack.

If you are upgrading to SQL 2012 anyway and have SharePoint or will use SP Online then the SQL 2012 BI stack looks about as good as anything else out there.


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