Crystal Reports or SQL Server Reports – Which is Better?


The universe at large – – at least the tech one – – loves to talk about big-data, and the joining of the exclusive association of data driven companies. It’s great and it’s glorious and it offers powerful transformative solutions for company operations and customers, we all agree. But the ‘Talk is not the Walk’ unless you use the data reporting tools to make sense of these large amounts of data.

In most corporate environments the scaling of this data is left to the geeks (in other words the IT department) although these professionals may also have collaborative help from other departments. So, when trying to make sense of these huge amounts of data,that must be turned into concise reports you need to find the best tools to help you do the job efficiently and quickly, especially in environments when data is an important element to the operations.

In truth, you have two options when generating reports from many different data sources: Crystal Reports or SQL Server Reports. For many, Crystal reports has been a long-standing business intelligence application used to get the job done. It has worked efficiently for many years, and was once bundled with the Visual Studio 2003, generate reports from wide range of data sources. However, Microsoft discontinued this bundle and later released, its own competitive reporting tool called SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). Those who do still prefer Crystal reports for Visual Studio 2010 it is available as an add-on software option.

Most analysts and data gurus have always preferred Crystal Reports, but now all that is changing. While Crystal reports has long been considered the king of reporting tools, the SQL Server Reporting Services is a more complex and complete reporting tool, made especially for fairly advanced reporting needs that may include complex grouping, subtotaling and specific formatting. Over the last couple of years, the Microsoft’s SQL Server reporting services has been gaining significant headway over Crystal Reports.

The Benefits to Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services

Besides, it’s outstanding reporting its services it comes at no extra cost when you have the Microsoft SQL server database. This Microsoft solution is the direction the company is now taking in all its business application needs. Most businesses are switching to the new SSRS reporting environment, as they realize it is the future of database reporting, even for  those that have been, until now Crystal Report loyal.

Besides, being a part of the SQL Server and not requiring an additional software investment, you also get web-based report management capability, and admin tool that keeps track of report executions and delivery. Because of these features, it certainly could be time to take a deep breath and dive into SSRS.

The Learning Curve Holds Some Back

From a technical perspective the newer Microsoft SQL Server database trails somewhat behind Crystal reports because of its interface and the amount of learning required to dominate the application. However, it is time for companies and users who have specific reporting needs to take on the SSRS learning curve. The report design environment of this application is Visual Studio, and although this may appear a difficult environment to learn, most analysts and those in charge scaling the data, find the app very useful once they have learned to use the applications.

Bottom Line

Whether you learn to use the Microsoft SQL Reporting service, or outsource your data-driven report needs is unimportant. But what is of significant value, is getting these reports into the new SQL reporting service database so you can use the analytical benefits.

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