A quick guide to Report Builder

Simon Jones explains how to put business information into the hands of your employees thanks to Report Builder.

Simon Jones explains how to put business information into the hands of your employees thanks to Report Builder.

Microsoft SQL Server is great for storing departmental or company data. It is fast and reliable, with the capability to expand from a hand-held device to a data centre. It can hold virtually any amount of data but what about getting data out again? SQL Server Reporting Services together with Report Builder make it very easy to create good-looking, easy-to-understand reports and publish them so everyone in your company can have up-to-date, reliable information whenever they need it.

SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) produces reports to be viewed on screen, printed on demand or exported in any of several different formats. You can, for instance, export a report to Excel for further analysis or to a PDF file, if you wanted an unalterable copy for an archive. You can also set up a subscription to any report to have it emailed, to you or anyone else, or output to a designated folder, on a regular schedule. This option is very useful for getting the weekly sales figures sent to you automatically every Friday evening or having monthly reports generated at 08:00 on the first day of every month, ready for your 10:00 review meeting. Each user can easily control their own subscriptions so they get the information necessary to do their job when they need it.

Every edition of SQL Server from the free Express edition to the top-of-the-range Parallel Data Warehouse edition uses the same reporting language and tools. Technical users can define reports using the powerful Business Intelligence Design Studio (BIDS) which is based on Visual Studio but, for less technical users, Microsoft makes Report Builder. Both BIDS and Report Builder are free for any licenced SQL Server users.

Report Builder is perfect for self-service report generation. If a user wants to create a new report, for themselves or their department, they don't have to wait until the IT department has time to service the request. With very little training, users can create their own reports and publish them for use by their department or the rest of the company.

Click here to read the full whitepaper.

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