Sunday, February 25, 2018

SSRS vs PowerBI at SQL Saturday Tampa

I attended SQL Saturday Tampa on February 24, 2018. If you've never been to a SQL Saturday event, probably your first reaction is to think why would you give up your favorite day just for the sake of work? But it's not like that at all. It is a dynamic experience, and depending on where it is, it can be very rewarding.

My only recommendation (and that goes for any conference) is that you go early and get your registration figured out. When you go early, you can plan out your day and also have more opportunities to meet people, not to mention catch the earlier sessions. But this is something I learned the hard way.

One of the topics on my mind was about two Microsoft products that have a lot in common: SSRS and PowerBI. I wanted to learn about their differences, similarities, and if they were intended to get along with each other. There was a demo presentation about PowerBI and all the things that can be done with the tool.

After the presentation, I waited in line to talk to the speaker, and my question to him was if PowerBI had been created to be the SSRS killer. He mentioned that it wasn't, but rather PowerBI was made to be the Tableau killer.

During lunch I sat down with developers that use the BI stack, and talked about real world scenarios. They mentioned that some of their projects consisted of using PowerBI to replace SSRS, and in other projects they were asked to use PowerBI to make tabular reports, thinking this was not a great approach because PowerBI is made for visualizations. This confirms that PowerBI and SSRS are related products that do different things.

I also heard people mention MicroStrategy as a "legacy system", which was puzzling, since MicroStrategy is considered number one by Gartner in the category of Agile Centralized BI Provisioning. Link here:

I talked to a DBA that works in the the health industry; he surprised me by saying that Crystal Reports was making a comeback, now that it's part of SAP. This we will have to wait and see. SAP has been ranked as a Visionary for the last 3 years but it's not in the "leader" space according to Gartner.

All in all, SQL Saturdays are a great way to get a feel for trends and also to learn new things from other developers.

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