Book Image

Reporting with Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Book Image

Reporting with Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Overview of this book

Table of Contents (12 chapters)

Self-service reporting with Power View

While SSRS is a great solution, companies frequently need to go beyond these static reports to visualize their data in different ways to help them make better business decisions. This is where Power View comes into the picture. Power View is an easy-to-use solution that allows users to quickly create highly-interactive and visual reports that can be accessed in a variety of different ways and from different devices. The reporting experience is greatly simplified as there are no setting properties on objects, no design mode, no creating of relationships with the data, and no connecting items together for filtering. The following screenshot shows a report being created in Power View:

Creating a report in Power View

Introduced with SQL Server 2012 and integrated with the SharePoint Enterprise edition, Power View has become very popular due to its ease of use and the ability to generate very useful and cool looking reports. It was first available only through SharePoint Server (Enterprise edition), but now it is available as an Excel 2013 add-on in the Office 2013 ProPlus edition.

Power View in SharePoint can connect to Excel PowerPivot workbooks and SSAS multidimensional models and tabular models (also known as cubes). An Excel PowerPivot workbook can use many different data sources such as SQL Server, SQL Azure, text file, and Microsoft Access.

Power View in Excel 2013 uses as the basis of a report either an internal data model or an external data model such as another workbook or a SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) tabular model. Note that Power View in Excel 2013 does not support a multidimensional model. The internal data model can use many different data sources such as SQL Server, SQL Azure, text file, and Microsoft Access.

However, Power View is not a replacement for SSRS as both tools have their place: Reporting Services is an ideal solution for corporate reporting, and Power View is better suited for self-service reporting with established data models. Power View was developed by the Microsoft Reporting Services product team who saw it as part of the total SSRS offering.

Power View should be the tool of choice for self-service reporting for the following reasons:

  • Power View is easier to use than Report Builder 3.0, which is Microsoft's other self-service tool. While Power View does not have all the features of Report Builder as yet, it is much quicker and simpler to use. On the other hand, there are a lot of features in Power View that are not in Report Builder.

  • Because it is an Excel add-in, it allows for an easy transition from pulling in and modifying data in an Excel-hosted PowerPivot model to generating a report of that data in Power View.

  • A Power View report can be embedded in PowerPoint (SharePoint 2010 or 2013 and Enterprise edition only). It's as simple as saving your Power View report as a PowerPoint presentation. You can even filter, slice, and explore your Power View report within PowerPoint if you have an active connection to the SharePoint server.

  • It is very interactive with no design or preview mode, which you would otherwise have to switch between. The only mode it has is What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG). It is very easy to add fields, filters, and aggregations. Everything is done instantly thanks to the use of Silverlight.