There are two major groups of customers that Reporting Services will benefit, according to IS Partners Mooney. The first is the type of customer who wants reports that contain predefined navigation. For example, a retail store executive wants to see a report that contains order numbers. Clicking on an order number will then allow him to see an invoice—i.e., a predefined navigational route.
Enterprises that require robust distribution will also benefit, Mooney said. Through the 90s, getting reports out to groups of hundreds or even thousands of users required Mooney to write code herself. In contrast, Reporting Services offers multiple means of caching, distribution, storage of report histories, scheduled report distribution, and data watches that can be programmed to deliver alerts when preset data events occur. Distribution routes include e-mail or simple messaging service on cell phones, for example.
For Ryan Jamieson, IS Partners technical director, one of the biggest appeals of Reporting Services is that much of the environment has been moved to Microsofts .Net framework. Thats important in terms of the ample .Net development skills now available in the labor market, from C++ to Java, he said. .Net also offers pre-created tools that allow developers to skip over manual coding. "If youre a traditional Visual Basic developer, youve seen a huge performance gain," he said. "Weve seen incredible performance in terms of the time it takes to get a solution to market. … In some cases, its half the time [with .Net]."
Editors note: This story has been changed since its original posting to reflect the fact that Reporting Services customers do not need to purchase per-user or per-device CALs (client-access licenses) to use the tool.