Microsoft has made a series of changes in the last half year that is increasing its ability to serve a broad swath of businesses in the area of business intelligence. Every organization needs access to robust reporting tools, and up until recently, many have relied on paginated reports generated with the help of SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). While Microsoft had developed a version of paginated reports for Power BI, it had reserved this for Power Premium users until the end of last year, when they decided to offer it at the Pro level. This shift meant that small to medium sized businesses could get access to the robust reporting features offered by Power BI without getting rid of their existing paginated reports.
On February 16th, 2023, Microsoft announced that it was going a step further in making Power BI accessible to more businesses by announcing a new utility available to Microsoft Partners to help streamline the migration of existing paginated reports in SSRS to Power BI servers.
Why Do Paginated Reports Matter?
Paginated reports generated using SSRS have been the gold standard of reporting for years. They provide a structured, static report that can automatically update according to new data inputs and have been what many businesses use to derive insights from the data they’ve collected. Additionally, many businesses continue using them because they can be scheduled and automatically deployed and formatted as PDFs, Excel documents, and other file types.
However, SSRS-based reports don’t offer the same dynamic reporting available on more modern systems like Microsoft Power BI. They frequently rely on data stored on the business premises and may not be set up to clearly show trends over time. They can be especially cumbersome as more business functions are shifted onto a cloud-based server, requiring organizations to manually input data from existing paginated reports into the cloud server for it to be useful.
Power BI Paginated Reports Become Accessible to More Businesses
Power BI has had a paginated reports option since before 2020, but it was exclusively available to the Premium tier of Microsoft’s Power Platform licensing. The $5,000 per month cost of such a license made it far too expensive for organizations in the small to medium sized space.
However, at the end of last year, Microsoft made the decision to open up Power BI Paginated Reports to the Power BI Pro membership tier. At this level, anyone who’s invested in a business license for Power BI can access the tools Microsoft provides in its Power BI platform to organize its reports and centralize its data.
If I Have Access to Power BI Paginated Reports, Why Should I Care About the Latest Announcement?
While Microsoft has expanded access to Power BI Paginated Reports to a wider audience base, the recent announcement of a migration utility means that more businesses can have a streamlined migration of existing paginated reports to the cloud-based Power BI system.
The expanded access offered at the end of last year was incredibly helpful for organizations, but it still meant that existing paginated reports would need to be manually entered into the system to take advantage of it. The recent announcement of a migration utility means that Microsoft Partners can upload existing paginated reports to the Power BI system using .rdl files. This process can be quite technically demanding, but is far more streamlined than previous solutions which relied on more customized options for importing the paginated reports to Power BI.
Taken together, Microsoft’s changes means that organizations of all sizes are able to create one place where they can access all their data without investing resources in manually entering their information.
Microsoft’s Power BI provides a suite of reporting tools that every business can benefit significantly from, but due to past limitations, many organizations have been forced to rely on paginated reports that they’ve needed to store on their business’s premises and manually manage if they wanted to derive any insights from the information. Hammer Dev has worked with a number of clients who have stored hundreds, if not thousands of these reports as a way of keeping track of their business’s data.
With the advent of Microsoft’s migration utility and the expanded access to Microsoft Power BI Paginated reports, our clients and all businesses looking to centralize their data and optimize their reporting procedures are able to do it quickly and efficiently.
If you’re looking for help with a paginated reports migration to Power BI, you should visit the Contact Us page so we can set up a time to review your needs. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we have access to the tools and knowledge needed to make migrations like these as quick and efficient as possible.