Power BI vs SSRS

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Power BI vs SSRS

  • There is at least one thing SSRS does much better than Power BI.

    If you need a pixel perfect multi-page tabular report SSRS is the best solution.

  • Thanks for the article.

    The photo on licensing caught my attention. The $209 for Standard - CAL. Is that per user? What would constitute a user?

    Br. Kenneth Igiri
    All nations come to my light, all kings to the brightness of my rising

  • As for downloading a report in Power BI, I have been able to download both in Excel and PowerPoint including PDF.  I think my management likes Power BI better because they have the ability to create their own personalized dashboards with KPI data from various reports.

  • I think the key issue with PowerBI is that, if you want to export PowerBI dashboards/Reports to excel you have to use Paginated reports in PowerBI. You have to have a PowerBI Premium license to do Paginated Reports. We get PowerBI Pro as part of our Microsoft 365 E5 Licensing, so we're unable to do this without significant additional spending to uplift our PowerBI licensing to Premium.

  • Maybe this was the intent of the article, but it was really shallow on practical terms. For example: if you're building a dashboard with many charts and you want your "Client A" to be represented by the color "red" on all the charts (for information consistency), that's impossible to do in Power BI. It's a breeze with SSRS. This is a basic feature for a report tool for anyone serious about displaying data.

    I consider Power BI an amateur tool. SSRS way more close to a professional one than Power BI at this point. I really hope PBI improves in a lot of areas, because some of its features are really nice - but, currently, data presentation precision is not one for them, unfortunately.

  • I have used power bi and SSRS side by side. My opinion is that most businesses see Power Bi as an evolution of reporting, and I will admit it is really powerful and can make the data really standout, (if you get the visuals right and the end users are aware of its capabilities!!). However finance companies and departments have lived on excel outputs for years and Power Bi just does not present tables of data as well as SSRS.

    So my conclusion is that at the moment there is a place for both SSRS and Power Bi.

    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  rogue1009.
  • Agree with vinicius.fonseca.

    Additionally, what about the other things that SSRS is great at?  Specifically, here's just a few

    • delivering reports within a more completely-branded and custom-securable environment via reportviewer.  I personally don't like Report Manager and don't use it much for users, but when I do it's also better branded and I like the security model, especially from an administrative standpoint.
    • SUBSCRIPTIONS.  Especially data driven subscriptions
    • PARAMETER usage.  Power BI usage doesn't begin to compare
    • using .NET embedded or DLL-referenced code
    • APIs are a lot more mature

    Also, the writer is mistaken about the development experience.  The SSRS ReportBuilder IDE is a lot better than the Visual Studio-based Report Designer, in fact it is exactly the same as the PowerBI ReportBuilder except for the stuff they have to leave out on each side:

    • PowerBI builder can't do datasets as standalone.
    • SSRS builder can't access PowerBI datasources

    The SSRS ReportBuilder has been out for years.

  • Regardless of which one is "better", an important difference between the two products is that SSRS will always come into the house through IT.  PowerBI might come in through the user community, and may force IT to incorporate it into their overall data strategy.

  • You are comparing apples to oranges.

    SSRS is a reporting tool.  You input 1 or more parameters, a query is sent, and a dataset is returned and displayed. Full stop.

    PowerBI is an analytical tool. Far too often people want to consider PowerBI "clicky SSRS".

    Stop using/selling PowerBI as a "reporting tool" because it is not. It is an analytical tool that allows you to view trends, look back in time, perform predictive analysis, cross filter, and drill down into the details of your data.

    You want a list of customers, service tickets, financial transactions, or a snap shot of sales for the last quarter or month you can export and email then use SSRS. Someone needs a query run so they can have 1M row Excel file, use SSRS

    You want to analyze your data, make business decisions, collaborate, create datasets that allow others to use self-service BI from those datasets, use stream analytics to watch data in real time or near real-time, then use Power BI .

    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  Dave Scott.
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  • FWIW I don't mind DAX in its place and I *do* complex things with it -- but mostly from SSAS tabular models which seem to be a heck of a lot more full featured and sensible for analytics than Power BI datasets.  I haven't had much chance to play with Data Flows + datasets in Power BI, which presumably would take out some of the disabilities I'm seeing -- and grid knows I MUCH PREFER SQL to DAX but analytic models are great and are flexible and fast in ways that SQL can't be.

    The point is, I can and do (every day) use those flexible and fast tabular models in SSRS reports, where they work beautifully and happily combine with other datasets, including those that come straight from a SQL db.

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  • I'm curious why my posts keep getting removed with the message "This was removed by the editor as SPAM".  I thought I hnad legitimate contributions.

    Respectfully, the chasm between Power BI and SSRS is greater than the article portrays.  It's an important distinction because managers (like mine) have made business decisions based on this.

    Essentially, Power BI is for interactive analytic dashboards, operative word "interactive".  They can't really be printed; the PDF is really just a single page export to a PDF file.  The Excel (CSV file) Export is great if you didn't need the underlying detail.  But the interactive nature of it is massively powerful!  It's worth the effort; it's just not the tool for printing your Customer Master listing, or to print invoices or factory labels, etc.

    With the advent of "Power BI Paginated Reports" (aka: a slightly altered SSRS, wrapped inside the Power BI Service), the lines have blurred, but a project to "rewrite all SSRS to Power BI" becomes one of directly converting most of them into to Paginated Reports platform, and maybe bundling a few into new Power BI Visual Dashboards where it makes sense, possibly as a front-end where they can run the Paginated Report for greater detail or printable output.

    However, the ROI for this effort isn't there for most of the reports because they're exactly the same as before, possibly even new issues (like security, menuing, data pipelines, licensing costs, or even new bugs) introduced.   Better to use Power BI for its intended purpose.  It's Excel's Pivot Tables on steroids.

    I hope THIS comment isn't rejected as spam (please).  I'm not a spammer.  It's the first thread I've decided to contribute to after lurking and reading SQL articles for years.  I love the content, but scratching my head at being called a "spammer" just for offering my 2 cents.

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