Last week, my coach told me, it would be a good idea to have a look at SQL Reporting Services. The Microsoft equivalent (as he called it) of Business Objects.
First thing I did was install a VMWare machine with SQL and the Reporting Services. Compared to installing Business Objects, this is quite straightforward. The installation procedure is very much like every installation procedure by Microsoft. The result was, that I had reporting services up and running in about 5 minutes. During this installation, the system asks you if you want to use the demo database.
Visual Studio.NET is required to create the reports — a definite difference with Business Objects.
My Conclusions. SQL Reporting Services has nothing to do with Business Objects. They do somewhat the same, but their target audience is very different. In business Objects, an end user can build a report
and use it as he or she wishes. In SQL Reporting Services, all a user can do with a report is set some filters and drill down on data. Building a report is done by a specialised service — or some
well trained people who design the RDL files. Thorough knowledge of SQL queries is a must, thorough knowledge of the database is a must — knowledge of Visual Studio.NET helps out a lot.
In business objects, the designer of a BO Universe gives objects logical names and groups objects together — in these RDL files, the designer has to choose all of the fields from the database — fields can be located anywhere.
To me it looks like SQL Reporting Services is the kind of thing where a central design team designs all of the reports.. users have to nag them to get reports changed — BO is the kind of
program where users can create their own reports and work a lot more flexibly/dangerously(they can make their own analysis errors) — but at a cost. Business Objects is not exactly a cheap tool.
anyway, learning more about SQL Reporting services as we speak.