Reporting: 13 questions to answer before getting started

I get the following questions quite often and thought I gather my thoughts together in this blog post

  • “Which reporting components should we use in WPF?
    Is it Infragistics, Telerik, syncfusion”
     
  • “Is DevExpress XtraReports Suite still state of the art for reporting?”
     
  • “Do you prefer SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) over Crystal Reports?”

Figure: Not sure if I should respond or remain silent
Figure: Not sure if I should respond or remain silent

Before you can answer those question you need to step back and ask a couple of questions from a business point of view:

  • What question is the report(s) going to answer?
     
  • What decision does the report help to take?
     
  • What actions do we take after seeing the report?
     

 

Then we might get a bit more technical:

  • How up-to-date do the reports need to be?
     
  • Do you need to see a trend over these reports over time?

 

And then you should dig deeper

  • When and how should the reports be displayed?
    Windows App, Web, In Application, Excel?  (BA’s love Excel)
     
  • Who is the target group of the report?
    Internal (authenticated) people only/extern?
     
  • What is the report data source?
    SQL Server, Oracle, alle OleDB DB, data warehouses?
     
  • Who is creating the reports?
    Developers? BAs? CXO? Technical User?
     
  • Who is going to maintain the reports?
    Developers? BAs? CXO?
     
  • How often should we deliver the reports? 
    On demand, Scheduled, Trigger?
     
  • Are the reports fairly static of parameterized? Sub-reports?
    Reports embedded in other applications. Parameters could be Dates, Departments, People, …
     
  • Is there already infrastructure of know how available?
    Crystal oder MS Report server?
     

 

Depending from these answers I would suggest:

  • Infrastructure like SQL Server Reporting Services
  • SQL Reporting Services reports generated on the client side
  • Report Builder as a tool to develop and maintain reports
  • Sharepoint Server 2010 (was Microsoft PerformancePoint Server)
  • Excel Services deployed in Sharepoint
  • Control suite like: devExpress, telerik, syncFusion, Infragistics
  • Excel with a SQL or OLE DB datasource
  • Custom pages in ASP.NET

 

If some of these terms are new to you check out my slides on Reports with SQL Server Reporting Services on SlideShare
http://www.slideshare.net/PeterGfader/reports-with-sql-server-reporting-services

And SQL Server Analysis Services and Cube browser overview
http://www.slideshare.net/PeterGfader/ssas-other-cube-browsers

 

BTW: Adam has a great collection of Reporting Tips and Tricks

How do you approach such the questions at the top??

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