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SQL Server Reporting Services Versus Crystal Reports


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If you are looking into buying Microsoft Dynamics GP, you will be interested in the reporting tools available. Reports are an essential part of any ERP system; a good report not only gives the right information but is also produced in the right format for a specific end user, particularly managerial level. It can be a deciding factor as to whether the system is doing its job the way your business needs it.

For those who haven’t heard about SQL Server Reporting Services yet, I presume they’ve been asking what does SQL Reporting Services do and how does it differ from other report writing tools? To begin with, SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is a server-based report generation software system from Microsoft. It is administered via a web interface. Reporting services features a web services interface to support the development of custom reporting applications. Reporting is a way of presenting data and information. With reporting, managers should be supported in making efficient decisions as quickly as possible. There are lots of reporting tools available on the market and every customer has a possibility of finding a solution that suits their needs. Of course,  every comparison depends on the point the customer's perspective.

SSRS competes with Crystal Reports and other business intelligence tools. But why is SSRS  better than the others? The first strength of Reporting Services is that it is a Microsoft brand supported by world fame and generally-known trustworthiness. Microsoft praised and demonstrated SSRS readiness for immediate use. Microsoft Reporting Services is enough to replace two separate concretely-aimed solutions. Firstly, as a standalone reporting server, therefore working as an independent solution; and secondly, as a tool to integrate reporting into a parallel .Net application. Being bundled with the MS SQL Server, Reporting Services has had to grab the attention of Visual Studio .NET users. It's a solution known for its features - providing  richly enough for a majority of basic uses.

Reporting Services is praised especially for its independence and its report design environment. As a standalone reporting server, it is also followed by a low price as Microsoft's product seems to be significantly cheaper than its equivalents; Reporting Services might actually be implemented for free.  Crystal Reports were accused of too complex licensing, too big footprint, poor SQL performance, and, finally, being too static. There is a long list of capabilities that Crystal Reports claims to support but which either don't work or which require a staggeringly expensive license if you want more than five users. You can't even trust CR to do SQL correctly. Reporting Services actually does all the things CR claims to, it's free, there is extensive reliable technical documentation, it's designed to be extended (also documented), and you can connect it to anything for which you can get an ODBC driver.  It is a better environment, but best of all the connections (data sources) are separate from the report and can be shared. This makes for much simpler deployment between environments.

Article written by Jennifer Alegria, Associate Consultant – ERT Group

If you are interested in a more in depth analysis of your needs, contact us at 954-825-0888, and visit us on the ERT Group website.

We are a Florida Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, a 2010 President’s Club member for Microsoft Dynamics – offering Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM.

2 Responses to “SQL Server Reporting Services Versus Crystal Reports”

  1. Imelda says:

    i need to know.
    can i design dynamic report by using sql server reporting services??
    i mean, i have a case, that i want my report, display colomn that choosen by user… if there are 7 colomns, but user choose 5 colomns, so just display the 5 colomns, n 3 others is invis or hidden… how??
    can i get it by sql server reporting services…??

  2. ITM says:

    For those who need a distribution solution for either Crystal or SQL Sever Reporting Services (SSRS) reports, you may want to consider rePORTAL. It allows you to publish Crystal and/or SSRS reports (any versions) through a secure web portal and also includes a powerful scheduling engine. It is a server license so there are no user or report limits and best of all you do not need any distribution software like Report Server or Report Manager. You can publish your SSRS and Crystal reports out of the box.

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