Reporting Services 2016, Power BI and PASS Summit 2016

What am I most excited about as I prepare for the PASS Summit here in Seattle this week?  A lot of things.  Preparing for my session, which will be on Thursday at 1:30, by far the most popular and interesting topics are about integration and tool choice.  Today’s public announcement on the SSRS product team blog about on-premises Power BI integration with Reporting Services is really big news.  It’s great to see two of the technologies I love working together.  Whether in the cloud or on-premises, Power BI and Reporting Services can be used together.

Thursday’s session is titled “Reporting Services 2016, the Force Awakens”.  The consensus among industry users is that Reporting Services was stalled and left alone for far too long.  Technology and industry trends have moved forward over the past five years or so but Microsoft have invested in other tools and products, aside from Reporting Services.  The SSRS server architecture is capable but the rendering and delivery components needed to be modernized.

The good news is that the modernization effort has been underway for quite some time.  Resources that were directed to other investments have been recommitted, not only to the Reporting Services product, but to integration across the product stack.  It’s really hard to build a reporting platform that addresses every need.  I think Microsoft have a history of creating false expectations by putting experimental and incomplete features  out in the industry that weren’t on the committed roadmap.  I know better than to believe that the pattern won’t ever be repeated but I firmly believe that there is a well-defined reporting and BI roadmap and product teams are making rapid progress against it.  It is once again an exciting time to invest in the Microsoft analytics, reporting and BI tool set.

I’ll publish the entire deck after the 2016 Summit.  Until then, here are some selected slides…

Comparing the progress of new features added to SSRS over the release cycles, the product really slept from 2010 until 2016.

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Microsoft’s reporting & analytic platform has shifted significant as they moved from products to services, and from servers to the cloud.  The dust is settling on this major refocusing effort.  Capabilities that were introduced in Azure, Cortana Analytics and Power BI are now becoming available to “the box”, on-premises or in hybrid cloud scenarios.  We can expect more announcements on this as the roadmap is played-out and gaps are filled-in.

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Reporting Services is a central player in the on-prem delivery of the BI, analytics and reporting tools offered by Microsoft.  These include Excel, Paginated reports created with SSDT/report designer or Report Builder, Mobile Reports and Power BI Desktop.

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…more to come!

check back for updates.

SQL Server Pro Magazine: Datazen Mobile Dashboards with Analysis Services and Drill-through

This post is a teaser for an article I just published to SQL Server Pro Magazine.  This is the third and not the final article about using Datazen to build mobile dashboards and business intelligence solutions.  The entire article is available here.

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(excerpt)
A few months ago, shortly after Microsoft announced their acquisition of the Datazen mobile dashboard product, I wrote two articles titled Getting Started with Datazen and Setting Up a Datazen Server.  Datazen is a simple dashboard tool with native apps for all the major mobile device platforms.  I mentioned that the tool had shortcomings with Analysis Services as a data source.  When writing MDX queries, it was necessary to create calculated members for all of the row members and place them on the columns axis.  An update released in August, 2015 improved the MDX query functionality where the work-around is no longer necessary.  In this article, I’ll demonstrate a pair of drill-through dashboards using MDX queries and navigation that pass parameters to an MDX query.  The is an overview rather than a tutorial.  My focus is on queries, parameters and drill-through commands and not so much the dashboard layout.  In the next article, I’ll show you how to go one step further and drill-through to an operational report created with Reporting Services.

A Quick Tour

To set the stage, my dataset is the airline on-time performance database from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics…

http://sqlmag.com/analysis/datazen-mobile-dashboards-analysis-services-and-drill-through