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SSRS vs BusinessObjects

We have been a BOE XI-R2 shop for the past 5-6 years.  We're currently at a fork in the road--pay up to renew support with BO--and upgrade to their latest stuff (Edge?)--or switch over to SSRS for "free".

We have quite a few reports in BO/WebI.  These would have to be redone.

But forgetting the whole cost-to-upgrade thing, do you guys happen to see any *current* comprehensive comparison between BOE/Edge and SSRS?

I know beans about SSRS.  Is it closing in on maturity?  How "self-serve" is it?  Can my unsophisticated users build their own reports?

What about user management in SSRS?  Everyone needs an AD account, I guess?

One of the things I hate about BOE XI-R2 is that its installation model is astraddle SQL Server and a bunch of cryptically-stored .WID files in that crazy hashed-folder-labyrinth in the InfoStore folder.  I just question our ability to recover from a catastrophic event on my BO server.  

Maybe BOE is now totally SQL-driven?  I'd like to know that restoring BO is as easy as restoring a SQL database.

Anyway, what I'd really like is a good run-down of the two suites -- what will I lose with SSRS?  Your anecdotal experience and advice is also welcome.

Thanks.
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bamapie
Asked:
bamapie
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5 Solutions
 
itcoupleCommented:
Hi

Just want to subscribe to the question :)

I use only SSRS so I cannot make comparison but here are main points I like about SSRS.
1) Rather easy to master and plenty of options available for building reports. (both T-SQL and MDX are easy to develop)
2) R2 has Maps and even easier to use row level graphs (sparklines etc)
3) Report Builder is used for Self-Service and I haven't used it much but it seems to be very intuitive and can be used it with OLAP cube straight away but also ReportModel can be developed using Relational Database.
4) Security seems to be flexible I think (This is not my strong point). I have used ReportViewer on my website and some .net code to do authentication and that worked fine.

Regards
Emil
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MIKESoftware Solutions ConsultantCommented:
BO XI has always had the upper hand in the past, but trust me when I say SQL Server has come along way in regard to Business Intelligence. It is now a FULL BI Solution. I would consider it a contender with BO and the other BI Competitors out there. SQL Server now has Integrated Services which is based on Visual Studio as it's development tool. Easy to use and master. Same with Reporting Services, all based on Visual Studio. Both have very good report delivery methods both being Web-based. Deployment is very easy in both.

One thing that BO has "over" SQL Server is their Universe Metadata Layer Technology. Second to none, in my opinion, but outside of that they can both do basically the same thing...and as was mentioned above....the major big difference is that SQL Server "can" be free but even if you have to pay for the software you won't spend over $1,500.

I'm a BI Consultant and I develop both softwares,...they are very very close competitors NOW. Much has changed....
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planoczCommented:

I have been converting CR to RDL for the past 9 mos. over 1500 reports.
There is such a big different in formats that we ended up just opening a CR and then create a RDL that matched the layout.
CR has a 30 yr jump on SSRS. So there is alot of adjusting and Code behind (VB.NET) to run like CR did.
Just call on EE we will do the best we can to help you.
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mlmccCommented:
There are alternatives to the Crystal tooset.

In particular look at Ripplestone.  It can do everything the BOE tools can at a fraction of the cost.
http://www.ripplestone.com/

mlmcc
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MIKESoftware Solutions ConsultantCommented:
Crystal Reports, Business Objects, Reporting Services are ALL totally different programs created along different lines and directions.

NONE of these programs are identical.

I'm not sure you can say one is "better" than the other either since each has its strong points and its deficiencies. Each company will have to research these and other products (ie. Microstrategy, Oracle 10g, etc..) to see which program will best fit their BI Reporting Goals and BUDGET.

In my opinion,BI industry reporting tools such as these 3 as an example have become really strong, intuitive tools all of which can basically handle any company's reporting requirements.
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bamapieAuthor Commented:
Well, to be more clear, we are BO users.  We already have an investment there...and some inertia built in to any move to another tool.

The only other option we're seriously considering would be SSRS.  That decision would be one made totally on (1) cost, and (2) possible better integration with our increasingly MS-centric environment.
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mlmccCommented:
I would say SSRS would be better integrated with MS products (though not necessarily true).

However the learning curve for SSRS can be rather steep and it is a much different method of developing reports.

mlmcc
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bamapieAuthor Commented:
I keep getting the common sentiment from opinion after opinion (here and elsewhere) the *SSRS IS NOT SELF-SERVE*.

I'm not saying that's accurate or inaccurate.  But I keep getting that vibe--that my less sophisticated users are really going to struggle as they try to build reports.  True?
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mlmccCommented:
I couldn't say for sure.  I tried on one porject (no training available) and couldn't get a report written.  It is (at least from what i saw) a much different process for building a report than Crystal.  

If you have some training to get them started they may find it easier to use.

mlmcc
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planoczCommented:
mlmcc is right with a little training you can go along way. If you have a base temple that you make as a starter report this will help the average user build reports faster.
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bischofb_CRNETCommented:
I've done some work with SSRS and a lot with Crystal. What I find frustrating is that the SRRS fans rave about how great it is adn easy to use. But things are always simple when you are doing a demo in front of a room with no real requirements. Start developing real-life complex reports and the learning curve goes up dramatically. Yes, SSRS has come a long way since it started, but it's totally different than Crystal and you need to put a solid training plan in your upgraded path.  Since you are looking at shifting 5-6 years of development to a completely new platform and reporting server, you should seriously get SSRS up and running and build some complex reports yourself. It's a pretty big decision to make based on some comments in a forum.
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bamapieAuthor Commented:
>t's a pretty big decision to make based on some comments in a forum.

NOT the only input going into this decision!

Thanks for your response.
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bischofb_CRNETCommented:
lol. Yeah, after I posted that I thought, "Well, he certainly can't base his opinion on this website." Didn't mean to offend.  :-)
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bamapieAuthor Commented:
No, not at all.  I just want to take a big "sniff" of what folks think about SSRS who have experienced both.

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planoczCommented:
If I had to choose one I would go ahead  and go to SSRS.
The overall cost of long term BO lic. is far higher in the long run than a short time of training which would be about one to two months max. with no lics. fees.
 
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mlmccCommented:
There are many alternatives to the BO enterprise toolset that come much cheaper.  Some of them are better than the BO tools.

mlmcc
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bamapieAuthor Commented:
Thanks everyone for your perspectives on the BOE/SSRS question.  Very much appreciated.
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jjozCommented:
ok, do we have to buy the SQL Server in order to use the SSRS feature to use with Oracle DB as the backend ?
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itcoupleCommented:
Hi

Yes you do but there is SQL Server Express (Free) which has SSRS (not SSIS/SSAS and limited DB Engine) but I'm not 100% sure if it can connec to Oracle (I would imagine so but maybe there are some connection limitations in express)

Regards
Emil
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jjozCommented:
ah, OK thanks man ! so glad that we don't have to buy the full version of SQL Server because it is expensive, by the way what's the limitation on Oracle database using that freeware ?

using Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Report Builder 3.0 from: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=d3173a87-7c0d-40cc-a408-3d1a43ae4e33&displaylang=en
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