Saturday, September 08, 2012

Excel 2013 Visualizations with SSRS 2012 Visualizations

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I see lot of data management and exploration giants busy in building bridges with big data territory driven by Hadoop. But once the mashed query results are out of heterogeneous data stores made up of relational as well as big data, humongous amount of data would be returned. Tabular or even pivotal form of data representation using grids goes almost out of question. Perfect data representation becomes even more important than ever.

In MS BI world, SSRS 2008 R2 came with a lot of visual enhancements in terms of enhancements in visualizations. But SSRS 2012 came with PowerView only in this area. I see improvements in the reporting area from a developer productivity standpoint as graphs and charts comes with granular fine tuning capabilities. But a reporting product should be mature enough to direct its users to build the right kind of reporting.

Generally a reporting team builds a reporting solution with unsuited types of visualizations for data sets. This builds perception of the user that the underlying tools / technology is incapable of delivering the intelligence in an easy manner what they need for their business. As I often say most report developers or even reporting teams don't know what graph is suitable for the kind of data they need to analyze. A component that analyzes data and suggests a visualization is almost inevitable for any reporting product to ensure that the product is getting used in correctly, which is one of the best means to increase adoption and popularity of the tool.

Excel 2013 comes with a "Chart Recommendations" functionality which is unfortunately missing in SSRS 2012. Combo Charts feature lets you combine any two combination of charts or graphs which can be very exciting. Image a Pie-chart with bar-chart in each pie !! Data labels can be as flexible as any autoshapes that you see in a word document. More about Excel 2013 Charting enhancements can be read from here.

SSRS reports can be rendered inside Excel worksheets too through a RS command call. Instead of exposing SSRS reports through reports manager, I would suggest exposing reports by wrapping it up inside Excel, where you could add more value to reports and add better UI, sometime even better than SSRS itself too.

If someone from Microsoft is reading this, I would suggest SSRS team should collaborate with DataViz team of Excel and port those newly developed charting capabilities into SSRS and release it as a cumulative update. SSRS is already bleeding enough due to its age-old parameter toolbar !


Kamakshi Suram said...

I agree with you. Charts in Excel looks good as comparing with SSRS. SSRS has many features but with lack of good visualizations.

Kamakshi Suram said...

I agree with You. Excel chars looks better as compared with SSRS. SSRS has many features with lack of Good Visualization.

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