Power BI vs SSRS – Choose the best tool for fulfilling your requirements!

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Power BI vs SSRS

Power BI is a popular new age technology, it is often subjected to comparisons with other similar technologies. Comparisons are important as they allow us to see two potential technologies in an analytical light. We get to understand the real differences between them and choose the better one. Comparisons also help the creators to better their products.

Moving further in our Power BI Dataflair tutorial series, now, we are going to learn about the top differences in this Power BI vs SSRS article.

But before that let us take a quick glance of Power BI and SSRS.

What is Power BI?

Power BI is a data analysis and reporting software created by Microsoft. It is a modern-day business intelligence tool which is loaded with smart and user-friendly features. Power BI extends its services in the areas like data connectivity, data transformation, data preparation, data modeling, reporting and dashboarding. In addition to this, one can utilize Power BI’s advanced capabilities such as using DAX formulas, custom visuals, etc.

Before proceeding ahead, please complete the DAX in Power BI

What is SQL Server Reporting Service (SSRS)?

SQL Service Reporting Service (SSRS) is a server-based report generating platform. Much like Power BI but a little conventional in its use, SSRS is mainly used for enterprise visualization of data. It is used for generating, viewing and sharing reports. SSRS has a programming interface and an integrated set of processing components. SSRS demands greater manual effort because of its less graphical, drag and drop features and more programming-based tools for the report making. It is also a product by Microsoft and is a part of Microsoft’s SQL Server suite. It works in close association with tools like Visual Studio and SQL formatting tools.

Basic Differences between SSRS and Power BI

Here are some basic differences between Power BI and SSRS, listed below:

  • Power BI is free, SSRS requires SQL Server license. However, you require purchasing Power BI Premium license for PBIRS.
  • Power BI is cloud-based, SSRS is server-based.
  • Power BI is more modern and graphical. SSRS is conventional and involves manual effort and time to create reports and analysis.
  • Can use data from the cloud in Power BI. SSRS can only use on-premise data.
  • Power BI Report Server (PBIRS) is the successor of SSRS and has more features than SSRS. For one, it can use and render both interactive PBIX and analytical XLSX reports which SSRS cannot.
  • PBI now has Cortana integrated for AI-based natural language, Q&A about your data and reports in Power BI. SSRS does not have this feature.
  • In SSRS, you need to purchase a license, define requirements and scope, customize/develop your software according to the requirements, deploy, develop reports in a coding interface, schedule data refreshes, etc.
  • Power BI has a graphical interface with the drag-and-drop capability to create reports. You can work with unstructured data, use modern rendering, publish, integrate and collaborate easily across platforms.

Power BI vs SSRS

After the general comparison that we just had, let us dive deep and have a pointwise comparison between Power BI vs SSRS based on some important factors.

1. Technology

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Power BI: Microsoft Power BI is a new age business intelligence technology used for dealing with data and creating reports. It is user-friendly software with easy to use features for creating, publishing and sharing reports.

SSRS: SSRS is SQL Server Reporting Service which is also a Microsoft’s product. It is a conventional, server-based report generating and data analysis software.

You should definitely learn to apply Filter in Power BI Desktop

2. History

Power BI: It is a newer technology as compared to SSRS as the report server of Power BI known as Power BI Report Server was launched in 2017.

SSRS: The SQL Server Reporting Service was launched commercially in the year 2004.

3. Benefits

Power BI: User-friendly and easy-to-use tool for report creation and data analysis. It is rich in graphical capabilities.

SSRS: SSRS does not have much to offer in the area of graphics. Rather, it has a good drill-down capacity.

4. Implementation

Power BI: Power BI Report Server (PBIRS) is capable of generating, publishing and sharing reports and dashboards for cloud-based as well as server-based platforms.

SSRS: SSRS only generates and share only server-based reports.

5. Accessibility

Power BI: You can access Power BI software on three different kinds of platforms; web, mobile devices (apps) and desktop.

SSRS: You can use SSRS on the web and on the desktop.

6. Licensing

Power BI: The initial version of Power BI and Power BI Report Server is free of cost. Although, if you wish to go premium, you will have to purchase a license. The premium includes features like a gateway, security, collaboration, etc.

SSRS: To use SSRS, it is necessary for you to buy a SQL Server license.

Don’t forget to explore the Power BI Gateway Tutorial

7. Components

Power BI: Microsoft Power BI is a cloud-enabled SaaS. Also, it is an open-source HTML 5 enabled platform for data analysis.

SSRS: SSRS is a server-based enterprise report generation and visualization tool.

8. Usage

Power BI: More user-friendly due to its rich graphical user interface and drag-and-drop capabilities.

SSRS: Less user-friendly as it focuses more on a coding/programming interface.

9. Data dependency

Power BI: In Power BI, you can work with both structured and unstructured data.

SSRS: With SSRS, you can work with structured and semi-structured data but not unstructured data.

10. Occurrence

Power BI: Power BI is single-handedly dominating the BI market as of 2019. Microsoft’s Power BI Report Server is also preferred as the reporting server over SSRS.

SSRS: SSRS is a conventional tool using old technology. Although, it is still in use more than Power BI.

11. Training

Power BI: Power BI is easy to learn as it uses a graphically rich user interface with drag-and-drop features to create a report. You don’t really have to engage with the technical and coding part of the process which makes it a user-friendly tool that can be learned by a user of any skillset.

SSRS: You need to come from a technical background to learn SSRS. In SSRS, a developer generates reports through coding and designing them manually. This may not be as easy to learn and do as Power BI, but it gives you a better understanding of the process and things going on under the hood.


Here we come to the end of our tutorial on Power BI vs SSRS. Now that we have done a thorough analysis of both the software in question; Power BI Report Server and SQL Server Reporting Service. Deciding on which one is better is a little tough as it depends on the user’s requirement. If you require generating and using only simple, paginated reports on-premise in an enterprise, you must go for SSRS. SSRS is also cost-effective for that matter.

On the other hand, if you require creating and using interactive and analytical reports with rich graphics, Power BI Report Server should be your choice. Although, if your requirements fall somewhere between these two, the Power BI Report Server is a good choice as it has all the features that SSRS has.

Explore the Best Preparation Guide on Power BI Interview Questions

Hope you liked the Power BI vs SSRS tutorial.

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1 Response

  1. umakannan says:

    hi,what technical knowledge we should have to work in powerBI, and what programming languages we need to know

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