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BI Tips and Tricks with SQL Server Reporting Services Adam Aspin SQL Bits XII, 19th July 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "BI Tips and Tricks with SQL Server Reporting Services Adam Aspin SQL Bits XII, 19th July 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 BI Tips and Tricks with SQL Server Reporting Services Adam Aspin SQL Bits XII, 19th July 2014

2 What we are here to see… Solutions to: – Impress the boss – Stun your colleagues – Save time and money By: – More fully exploiting the potential of existing technology – Leveraging current skills – Avoiding costly and time-consuming alternatives

3 What we are discussing Corporate BI – using SQL Server Reporting Services “Canned Reports”: – Regular delivery / Agreed, predefined metrics – Limited interactivity Add a “BI” flavour to SSRS: – Scorecards – KPIS – Dashboards SSRS as a Corporate BI delivery platform – Basic parameter-driven interactivity – No attempt at interactive development

4 KPI and Scorecard basics Key Performance Indicators – Value – Goal – Status – Trend See what a result is, how it maps to target and where it is going ( Context, Threshold, Evolution ) Anything that can be measured of strategic or tactical importance

5 Dashboard Basics Many possible overviews of multiple aspects of a business Can include targets and objectives Composed of multiple elements “Widgets” – Scorecards – Tables – Charts – Gauges – Sparklines – Maps – Etc…

6 How do we Apply SSRS? Design element – Appreciation of the diverse elements which can make up a dashboard and/or a scorecard – Understand which type of presentation element gets the information across best Technology aspect – essentially applied to the Interface – Parameters – Expressions – Datasets

7 Design Elements Presentation Choices – Tabular, text-based, graphical – or hybrid. – Effective – and different - Charts and Gauges Design Choices – Backgrounds, borders, images and text – Colours to alert and display thresholds Figures or chart/gauge? – Tooltips to display data

8 Presentation – Classic Scorecard Indicators (Status and Trend) Standard tabular format Background Image

9 Presentation - “Graphic” Scorecard Pointers for Actuals and Target Colour for Threshold Trend as Indicator

10 Presentation – Text-based Scorecard Allows for multiple KPIs Sparkline for Trend analysis

11 Design Tricks: Gauges Vary Pointer Types – Needle for single elements – Bar for one or two elements – Marker for multiple elements – Mix pointer types to hierarchize Mix Pointer Types Group Gauges Rarer Gauge Types – Thermometer – Multi-Scale / Multi-Gauge Gauge Enhancements – Overlay Data as text – Multiple Ranges – colour sensitive to thresholds – Add Legends

12 Design Tricks: Charts Appropriate Chart Types – Read the classics (Few, Tufte) Add Markers Less Traditional Charts – Radar – Pyramid – Bubble – Waterfall Remember less used, but “Out of the Box” techniques: – Order chart elements – Striplines – Vary Category Colours – Add markers – Order charts in a table

13 Design Tricks - Images Images as backgrounds – Tablix – Textbox – Chart – Gauge Images as borders – 8 images to make an extensible border (BackgroundRepeat) Text as Image – Vertical or Diagonal Swap images for effect: – Selection (Slicer and Highlight) – Visual Alert

14 Design Tricks: Maps First find your (geographical) data! –.Shp (Shape) files (Ex: BoundaryLine – Ordnance Survey) – Shape2SQL – convert shape file data to SQL Server geographical data types Store in database not Report for speed of rendering Cache reports containing Maps

15 Layout Tricks Force vertical alignment of charts and gauges using tables Nested tables “Dummy” tables for images Invisible lines and rectangles to force vertical alignment across a page

16 Putting It All Together – One Example

17 Putting It All Together – Another Example

18 Interface Tweaks Revamping the user interface – Replace the tired UI for parameter selection – Define limited recordsets for efficient paging Enhance Interactivity (well – to some extent) through more modern interface techniques: – Slicers – Tiles – Highlighting – Recordset Paging

19 Technology I - Hidden Parameters “Passback” – an attempt at viewstate Have to be applied everywhere there is interactivity! Uses: – Replace the parameter ribbon – Replace the toolbar – Example: Slicers Selection Menus

20 Technology II - Expressions Clunky - but the key method of enhancing BI reports Possible with nearly every object and Property A few simple elements do all the work: – IIF – Lookup – Choose – Lookup/Lookupset/Multilookup Can test on data and parameters! Some uses: – Apply Colours – Add Images – Show/Hide elements – Example – printer-friendly output

21 Mobile BI using SSRS Only from 2012SP1 onwards Report Server not Report Manager URL Manage reduced screen space: – Consider revamping the report access interface – Fewer elements - drillthrough-based

22 Technology II - Data Tricks Use a single dataset to calculate and return maximum values for gauges Link datasets (Lookup function) Share Datasets Cache datasets Linked SSAS server to return data to T-SQL complex queries (target data for instance) Paged data sets (2012)

23 To Finish Much, much more that could be shown, for instance: – Optimisation techniques – Standardisation approaches (templates, styles etc) Any questions? Happy BI Development with SSRS.

24 Adam Aspin IT consultant and Contractor Over 30 years experience 25 years in databases and reporting (now “Business Intelligence”) Author: – SQL Server 2012 Data Integration Recipes – High Impact Data Visualization with Power View, Power Map and Power BI – Many articles for SQLServerCentral.Com


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