I started a series of blog posts back in 2020 about best-practice guidelines for planning and designing enterprise reporting solutions with Power BI. To make the topics covered in this series of posts easier to find and follow, they are listed on this page: Doing Power BI The Right Way – for Enterprise Reporting | Paul Turley’s SQL Server BI Blog which you can access from the main menu on the blog. We have a few more topics to go so check back and subscribe for notifications.
When should we use Power BI vs Paginated Reports for our reporting needs? You can use either tool to create different styles of reports for different purposes, but should you? Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD.
- Can we use Power BI to create operational or transactional style reports?
- Can we create scorecards and dashboard-style reports with SSRS/Paginated Reports?
- Should we use a Power BI dataset as a data source for a Paginated report?
The following diagram depicts the relative capabilities and design purpose for these two reporting tools. See the overlap? On the left, you see that Power BI is optimized and best used to create interactive, visual reports, scorecards and dashboard-style reports. Contrast this with Paginated Reports on the right side, which is best used for “list-type” reports that continuously flow across multiple pages. SSRS/Paginated Reports was architected and works ideally with SQL queries, where filter values are passed into the query using parameters.