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

And SQL Server Analysis Services and Cube browser overview


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

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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

typical M$ evasive blubbery, provide lip service with nothing someone can actually use... wasted time here:((

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