In 2004, Microsoft® acquired a company by the name of ActiveViews, Inc. The asset that Microsoft was after was ActiveViews’ ” . . . ad hoc reporting system takes advantage of the power of Microsoft .NET and SQL Server TM Reporting Services to allow users to easily unlock and explore data stored in a myriad of systems.” In fact, this system is the progenitor of Report Builder for SQL Server, which has presently matured into Report Builder 3.0.
It may be useful to take a brief look back at what was so compelling about the ActiveViews system. Especially if we are trying to drill down to the benefits that the Report Builder 3.0 tool set delivers to line of business (LOB) organizations. While we were unable to find a formal definition of the term “ad hoc reporting system” on Microsoft dot com, we did find a short phrase that we think goes a long way towards informing an otherwise unfamiliar business user with the true meaning of this concept. This phrase is used in an Article, Building Ad-hoc Reporting Solutions with SQL Server 2005 Report Builder and Analysis Services OLAP. To quote the article: “With Report Builder, business users can create their own reports without having to understand the underlying database schema, Transact-SQL or MDX query syntax, or developer tools such as Microsoft Visual Studio.” We think it is safe to extrapolate from this detail that “ad hoc reporting systems” permit users to create highly customized reports without knowing anything about programming or software coding.
It is useful to reflect that in 2004, when Microsoft made its acquisition of ActiveViews®, it was likely that the majority of comparable applications in the market, meaning competitive tools, which business users, otherwise unfamiliar with software coding, could avail of to build custom reports, as required, were subordinate to the database systems for which they were designed. In other words, these “report writers” did not avail of workflow to bolt together standalone applications. Rather, they were highly proprietary components of a set of applications that often did not conform to the underlying computing platform for the LOB organizations that requested them.
Therefore, Microsoft has now come a very long way forward from 2004 to the present, when workflow is the preeminent method of “bolting” together these components. Of course, SharePoint Designer 2010 constitutes a highly valuable method of bolting together Report Builder 3.0 with targeted data residing in SQL Server 2008 R2 databases in highly customized workflows. The required component is Reporting Services for SharePoint 2010, Enterprise Edition.
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved
on behalf of Rehmani Consulting, Inc.