Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SRS) is a report writer that comes with the Microsoft SQL Server Database. That’s great, but with Crystal Reports and other reporting tools, why would anyone care to have another report writer? At The TM Group, a Gold Certified Microsoft Dynamics partner Michigan, we make sure our clients understand that for one thing SRS is FREE and is included in Express, Workgroup, Standard, and Enterprise editions of Microsoft SQL Server as an install option. Unlike most report writers such as Crystal, with SRS you first build the dataset and then you format the report. This makes SRS reports easier to compare to originating data and audit the validity of the report because you can directly see the dataset being returned by the report. With traditional reporting tools, you have to dissect the report and drill into the individual calculations to try to validate the report’s data. SRS is also more secure because the reports are stored in the SQL database and protected by the database’s standard security model.
Reporting users can either access reports from an secure webpage, or use the included SRS Report Manager. With Report Manager, users can view, manage, and even subscribe to reports as well as manage and maintain data sources and security settings. Reports can be scheduled and delivered directly to the users via e-mail or run on demand. Reports can be generated in a variety of formats including Excel, PDF, CSV, XML, TIFF (and other image formats), and HTML Web Archive. SQL Server 2008 SRS can also prepare reports in Microsoft Word (DOC) format. Reports can be built with the included Report Builder or designed using recent versions of Microsoft Visual Studio with the included Business Intelligence Projects plug-in installed.
Microsoft Dynamics GP 10.0 includes more than 70 standard SRS Reports. The TM Group has also written many custom SRS reports for clients. One of our distribution clients had a full time person that managed an Access reporting database and sent reports weekly to their sales team. We’ve fully automated this process with SRS which allows them to save on staff time while also eliminating possible reporting errors from the previous highly manual reporting process.
SRS isn’t just a new acronym, it’s probably one of Microsoft’s best applications that most people have never heard of.
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