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Power BI vs SSRS

27 June 2023

Power BI vs SSRS: A Comprehensive Comparison for Data-Driven Success

Data speaks volumes. But how do you decipher this trove of information? If you are on the lookout for reporting and data visualization tools, you’ve likely come across Power BI and SSRS. Which one should you choose? What makes one better than the other? In this article, we will plunge into the depths of Power BI and SSRS, unraveling their capabilities, costs, and much more. Are you ready for data-driven success? Take a look at our other Power BI comparisons.  Let’s dive in!

Understanding Power BI


A Brief History

Let’s embark on a journey to 2011, when Power BI was born. It started as an assortment of add-ons for Microsoft Excel but evolved into a standalone service in 2015. Today, Power BI stands tall as a robust business analytics tool.

Features: What Makes Power BI Shine?

With Power BI, you get interactive visualizations, dashboards, and a suite of business intelligence capabilities. What else does it bring to the table? Let's explore:

  • Data Connectivity: From SQL databases to Excel spreadsheets – Power BI connects with a plethora of data sources.
  • Intuitive Visualizations: Design eye-catching reports with its drag-and-drop functionality.
  • Data Modelling: Cleanse and transform data with Power Query.

Power BI in Action: What's It Good For?

Power BI excels at real-time analytics. Be it sales figures or customer trends; Power BI keeps you in the know. But where does it truly shine? Organizations with diverse data sources benefit immensely from Power BI's adaptability.

Power BI: A Silver Bullet?

Power BI is impressive, but it's not without limitations. For one, the learning curve can be steep. Moreover, complex reports may lead to sluggish performance.

Understanding SSRS


A Brief History

We turn the clock back even further to 2004 when SSRS, or SQL Server Reporting Services, made its debut. Rooted in the Microsoft SQL Server, SSRS was initially a solution for SQL-based data reporting.

Features: What Does SSRS Bring to the Party?

  • Report Creation: SSRS gives you the tools to create intricate, printable reports.
  • Data Sources: While more SQL-centric, SSRS supports various data sources.
  • Export Options: Reports are exportable in multiple formats, including PDF and Excel.

SSRS in Real-Life: Where Does It Fit?

If your business revolves around SQL databases and you need comprehensive reports, SSRS is your match. It’s particularly potent for businesses that require print-ready, static reports.

The Flip Side of SSRS

SSRS can be rigid, especially compared to Power BI. It’s less about real-time analytics and more about detailed reporting.

Power BI vs SSRS: Feature Comparison

Feature   Power BI      SSRS
Data Sources   Extensive variety       More SQL-centric
Data Visualisation      Interactive dashboards     Static, print-ready reports
Data Modelling Strong with Power Query     Basic
Collaboration Robust sharing options        Limited
Integration Excellent with Microsoft products    Good with SQL-based systems


Cost Comparison

Power BI operates on a subscription basis, whereas SSRS comes as part of the SQL Server license. For small to medium-sized businesses, Power BI might offer better value for money. However, for SQL-centered enterprises, SSRS could be more cost-effective.

Choosing Between Power BI and SSRS


What Should You Consider?

How do you make the choice between Power BI and SSRS?

Consider your business size, industry, and needs. Are you a data-diverse, collaboration-focused enterprise? Power BI could be your answer. Do you want in-depth, static reports primarily based on SQL data? SSRS might serve you better.

Case Studies


Power BI at Play

Let's look at a global manufacturing company that utilized Power BI to consolidate disparate data sources. The result? A unified view of the enterprise’s data, leading to enhanced decision-making.

SSRS: A Success Story

An e-commerce company, heavily reliant on SQL data, adopted SSRS. The outcome? Detailed, print-ready reports that drove data-driven growth.



Power BI and SSRS each have their merits. Your choice should hinge on your business requirements, budget, and the nature of your data. Make a data-driven decision for data-driven success! You can also consider Tableau as a SSRS alternative. Also take a look at our Power BI Vs Google Data Studio comparison article.



Q1: Is Power BI better than SSRS? Depends on your needs. Power BI is excellent for real-time analytics from diverse data sources. SSRS excels at detailed, SQL-centric reporting.

Q2: Does Power BI replace SSRS? No. They serve different purposes. Power BI is more about interactive dashboards and analytics, while SSRS focuses on print-ready, detailed reports.

Q3: Can Power BI and SSRS work together? Absolutely! You can integrate Power BI and SSRS to create a comprehensive reporting and analytics solution.


About the author: Craig Hartzel
Craig is a self-confessed geek who loves to play with and write about technology. Craig's especially interested in systems relating to e-commerce, automation, AI and Analytics.

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