Microsoft Power BI vs SSRS: Detailed Comparison

Are you confused about what to choose as your business intelligence tool?

With various solutions, a company can meet all of your business objectives and demands. However, using numerous business intelligence products for your company is impossible.

So, when it comes to the greatest business intelligence solutions, SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) and Microsoft Power BI come to mind.

But, our main concern is which of the two is the better option.

So let’s take a closer look at Microsoft Power BI vs. SSRS, for a better understanding.

What is Power BI?

Microsoft Power BI is a business intelligence platform that offers a user-friendly tool for aggregating, analyzing, displaying, and sharing data with non-technical business users. Power BI’s user interface is pretty intuitive for users who are familiar with Excel, and its strong connections with other Microsoft products make it an extremely flexible self-service tool with little upfront training.

Small and medium-sized business owners can use a free version of the Power BI service; a professional version called Power BI Plus is accessible for a monthly subscription cost. Users can download Power BI Desktop, a Windows 10 program, as well as native mobile apps for Windows, Android, and iOS devices. Power BI Report Server is now available for businesses that need to keep their data and reports on-premises.

Microsoft Power BI is used to obtain an understanding of a company’s data. Power BI can help you merge diverse data sources, convert and clean the data into a data model, and visualize the data using graphs and charts. This information may be shared with other Power BI users in the company.

What is SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)?

Microsoft’s version of business reporting is called SSRS. SSRS stands for SQL Server Reporting Services, and it is a Microsoft-developed server-based report generating program. All of your company reporting needs may be met with SSRS, a single, server-based, extendable, and scalable platform.

It expands the scope of paper-based reporting to include interactive and web-based reporting content. This reporting content can be shared with many people via emails, file shares, and other methods for the greatest reach.

The SSRS tool integrates with Microsoft Visual Studio to help developers and SQL Database administrators link to and prepare SQL reports in various ways. The package also includes a Report Builder tool, useful for less skilled users who want to prepare SQL reports in standard formats.

5 Major Differences Between SSRS vs Power BI

We’ll look at the fundamental distinctions between these two BI tools in this part. We’ll also learn about Power BI and compare Power BI Reporting Server to SSRS in this table.

Parameters Power BI SSRS
Licensing The basic versions of Power BI and its reporting server are available for free. We must purchase a license to gain access to premium services such as collaboration, security, and gateway, among others. We will almost certainly need to obtain a SQL Server license if we wish to use SSRS.
Usage It is comparatively more user-friendly due to its drag-and-drop capability and rich GUI. SSRS is a less user-friendly tool because it focuses more on the programming and coding interface.
Technology It’s a business intelligence solution that helps us to handle data analysis and report production. It is a traditional server-based software used to analyze data and generate reports.
Accessibility This tool is easily accessible as a mobile or desktop application, as well as through online browsers. SSRS is only available on computers and the web.
Components It’s an open-source platform with HTML5 support and cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) for data analysis. It’s a server-based visualization and report-generating application commonly used in businesses.

Now, let’s look at the following eight points for a brief comparison of
Power BI and SSRS:

  1. Power BI is available for free, unlike SSRS. You must acquire a SQL Server license to use SSRS. However, in order to use Power BI, we must get a Power BI premium license.
  2. SSRS needs more time and effort to evaluate data and generate reports, whereas Power BI is more graphical and current.
  3. Power BI can be thought of as the more feature-rich version of SSRS.
  4. SSRS does not have this feature, although Power BI is connected with Cortana for an AI-based experience.
  5. In Power BI, Cortana has been incorporated for AI-based natural language, Q & A about your data and reports, which SSRS does not offer.
  6. You must obtain a license, specify requirements and scope, customize/create your software to meet the requirements, publish, generate reports in a coding interface, organize data refreshes, and so on in order to use SSRS.
  7. To create reports in Power BI, it includes a graphical interface with drag-and-drop functionality. Working with unstructured data, modern rendering, publishing, integrating, and collaborating across platforms.
  8. An SSRS Report RDL file is typically relatively tiny because it does not contain all the data from the data sources. On the contrary, even with the compression that Power BI PBIX files employ, the file size can quickly balloon when huge data sources are imported.

Microsoft Power BI vs SSRS: Which One to Choose?

Even though SSRS is more widely used, Power BI is often chosen. This is mostly because Power BI is more technologically advanced and offers more functions than SSRS.

User Experience is one of the main features of why Power BI is better than SSRS. SSRS enables more efficient data visualization and analytics, whereas Power BI provides a richer visual experience. Rather, SSRS requires more human work for report preparation and data analysis.

You don’t have adequate control over the display of parameters in reports because the SSRS interface is obsolete. Furthermore, you cannot create creative and stunning graphs and charts with SSRS, but you can do so with Power BI.

Data visualization technologies that are flexible and adaptable are more popular among businesses. SSRS is a very static software that adds to the learning curve. On the other hand, Power BI offers simple drag-and-drop functionality for quickly creating reports.

Now, which is a better tool? As you can see, both the tools have specific features and functions. So, it depends on what your requirements are and what solution you aim for from your business intelligence tool!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Power BI better than SSRS?

SSRS enables more efficient data visualization and analytics, whereas Power BI provides a richer visual experience. Rather, SSRS requires more human work for report preparation and data analysis.

What can I replace SSRS with?

Alternatives to SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)

  • Microsoft Power BI.
  • Tableau Desktop.
  • SAP BusinessObjects BI Suite.
  • Qlik Sense.
  • TIBCO Spotfire.
  • Looker.
  • Sisense Fusion Analytics.
  • Microstrategy.

Is SSRS a good reporting tool?

SSRS is a terrific tool to use if you need to obtain data out of your system or have fine-grained control over your reporting documents. Excel or Power BI is a better option if you want to generate interactive reporting or get started quickly.

Is SSRS difficult to learn?

The basic capabilities of SSRS, on the other hand, are quite simple to master, but more detailed reports must be created from scratch. On the plus side, you’ll better understand the process.

Should I learn SSRS or Power BI?

SSRS is the way to go if you only need to generate and use simple, paginated reports on-premise in an enterprise. In that regard, SSRS is also cost-effective. Power BI Report Server, on the other hand, should be your first choice if you need to create and use dynamic and analytical reports with rich graphics.

Gaurang Bhatt

Written by

Gaurang Bhatt

Gaurang has 15+ years of experience solving complex business problems and enabling businesses with data-driven decisions using data analysis and predictive modeling tools like Tableau, Power BI, Looker, and Google Data Studio. His expertise lies in data visualization, reporting, and creating ETL pipelines. In addition, he is passionate about exploring different technologies like machine learning and AI. He shares his knowledge and learnings on the LabsMedia platform.