Choosing the Right Microsoft Reporting Technology Part 6: Making the Decision

We’ve completed reviewing the major Microsoft tools and now you have to make “The Decision”.  Which tool(s) is the best fit for the reporting needs?  Remember just picking one tool and using it for all reports may not be the best decision because you are missing out on a lot of the benefits of other tools. 

One tool I like to use that helps me make a decision like this is a decision matrix.  With a decision matrix you provide the possible options, which for us has been the following tools:

You also provide the factors that are important to you in making a decision.  You can see in the screenshot below I’m considering tools based on:

  • Ad Hoc Reporting
  • Content Sharing
  • User Flexibility
  • Developer Flexibility
  • Time to Develop

image

Within the matrix you rate each of the tools (0-100) in their capabilities of the factors you’re considering.  This rating should only be done once. 

Some factors to making a reporting decision may be more important than others depending on the need.  For example, for one report Ad Hoc Reporting may be the most important thing while another report Content Sharing may be the most important thing.  That’s why you sign a relative weight (0-10) to each decision you need to make.  That way if Ad Hoc Reporting is most important than rate it higher than the other factors.  Again, this weighting system would be changed for each report you need to make a decision on choosing a tool.

Download a sample Decision Matrix here:

http://devinknightsql.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/decision-matrix.xlsx

Using a tool like a Decision Matrix can help you make decisions quickly and with more confidence.  I hope this series has been helpful.  If you need to catch up on previous posts follow the links below.

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9 Responses

  1. […] Choosing the Right Microsoft Reporting Technology Part 6: Making the Decision […]

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  6. While I have written a number of reports using excel previous, I have not used the other tools. Just wonder about MS Report Building 3, that you do not mention. My understanding is it can be used with MS Azure?

  7. […] careful with series of posts. They are both powerful and dangerous. In depth series like this by Devin Knight, for example, will make the readers come back, a series on keyboard shortcuts […]

  8. Great comparison and matrix. I like SSRS but it is so limited when it comes to user experience…. especially very very limited filters and no support of hierarchies.

    I hope some PerformancePoint features (filters / page split) go to SSRS at next release with plenty of new improvements as I think SSRS can be much better. For the time being I’m moving to PowerPivot & Powerview ;)

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