Microsoft outlines its reporting roadmap

With SQL Server 2016 in the wings, Microsoft's goal is to serve more than one billion users with its business-intelligence platform. Here's how the reporting pieces fit in.

With its growing emphasis on business-intelligence and analytics, Microsoft has a lot of different reporting options. It wasn't until I read a SQL Server blog post last week that I understood how the various Microsoft reporting options hang together.


Microsoft's goal is to "serve over a billion users with the Microsoft business intelligence (BI) platform," according to the October 29 "Microsoft Business Intelligence - our reporting roadmap" post.

To reach that goal, Microsoft is working to standardize its reporting-content types across Microsoft's on-premises, cloud and hybrid systems. Moving forward, Microsoft plans to focus on four report types:

  • Paginated reports: Built with SQL Server Report Builder or SQL Server Data Tools
  • Interactive reports: Built with Power BI Desktop
  • Mobile reports: Built on Datazen technology
  • Analytical reports and charts: Built on Excel

Microsoft calls SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) its "on-premises solution for BI report delivery." With SQL Server 2016 -- due out some time in calendar 2016, and available currently in Community Technology Preview (CTP) 3 form -- Microsoft plans to add support for mobile reports with SSRS.

Microsoft's cloud solution for BI reports is Power BI. Microsoft also intends to add Power BI Desktop report delivery "in the future" for SQL Server 2016.

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Whether users are working with SSRS on-premises, Power BI in the cloud, or some combination of the two, the company intends to deliver a single mobile application for Windows, iOS and Android for all report types, according to the blog post.

Overall, Microsoft's goal is to align its tools across all parts of its BI platform, officials said.

Microsoft's reporting roadmap was only one of a number of announcements the company made last week at the SQL PASS conference.

Microsoft also announced availability of SQL Server 2016 CTP3 with built-in SQL Server R Services, as well as the kick-off of the promised Azure Data Lake Store and Analytics previews. Microsoft also made available the public preview of In-Memory OLTP and real-time Operational Analytics in Azure SQL Database