DataWarehouse / Business Intelligence Reporting tool needs

I mentioned in a quick note earlier this week that I had been absent from blogging for a while.  In a previous blog post I mentioned that I accepted a new role at the beginning of the year (post), besides the new management duties I’ve taken on I’ve also taken on a role of getting a DW/BI project up and running.  I’ve been very focused on this project trying to meet some key deadlines for April; the project along with a very successful Utah Code Camp has kept me very busy (more posts on that in the future).

Since my focus has been on BI/DW right now I thought I would start off some of the key things we are looking for in a BI tool.  Hopefully this will help others get started with their own lists.  This is not meant to be every single possible need and it’s not meant for every environment, this was the key elements for our business.  Most likely you will have differing needs.

We are looking for a front end reporting suite that gives our end users the ability to answer questions about data on their own without help from the DW team.  The tool(s) that we choose will be primarily reporting off of a SQL Server 2008 database.  It needs to work across multiple browsers (Safari, Firefox, IE, and Chrome).  Here are the high level requirements we are looking for.

1.       Ability to do Ad-Hoc Analysis of data

2.       Ability to report off Both Cube/OLAP data

3.       Ability to report off OLTP Detail data (Create detail reports).

4.       Scheduled reports ability. Ability to refresh data on a schedule for reports.

5.       Report Delivery. Ability to push reports out via Email (We later removed this need but I leave it here since many still want this ability).

6.       Works in a browser.

a.       Safari

b.      Firefox

c.       IE

d.      Chrome

7.       Website for centralized report management

8.       Mobile Client/Mobile capability available.

I would love to hear if you have additional items you think are required/necessary in a tool.




3 responses to “DataWarehouse / Business Intelligence Reporting tool needs

  1. I’m becoming a fan of Pentaho. it doesn’t cost that much, easy to setup, reliable. I’m using it for most of the stuff your looking. Good luck with your search.


  2. I don’t understand.. Why not reporting services for canned and office web components for Olap? That’s the only combination I’ve found that I like..

  3. Aaron, I’m not against SSRS and web components for Olap. My goal for the post was simply to give you a list of things to look for and to measure all tools against. I would measure SSRS and Web components using this same criteria as all other products. The job I referenced here we did choose to leave the MS stack for the reporting needs because of some specific business needs at this company relating to open source. I always try and find the right tool for the job and if that’s the MS stack for reporting great if not then i’ll seek out other tools. 🙂


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