Power BI

Power BI Vs. SSRS

The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has to lead to lock-down in most countries worldwide. Even schools and colleges have declared “no-classes till further notice.” If you ever wanted to up-skill yourself, this is the best time. With ample time at your disposal, you might be confused to decide which skill to learn.

A famous saying goes this way, “If you can’t communicate, your findings won’t have any hears!”. By this statement, you must have guessed it. Yes, we are talking about “Visualization / Reporting / Dashboard.” An organization can call it by any name from the above 3, but there’s no doubt that they are actively using it. Hence, they are also looking for candidates with these skills.

So, if you are looking for a decent paying job with some future-proofing, you should learn it. Today, many tools and platforms make “Visualization / Reporting / Dashboard” tasks very easy and convenient. Two of the most popular ones are Power BI and SSRS. There are many popular online power bi training courses as well to get you started.

In this post, we’ll go through Power BI and SSRS’s key differences to help you decide which one is best suited for you. So, let’s get started.

Primary Usage and Owner:

Both Power BI and SSRS are products of Microsoft. The full form of Power BI is Power Business Intelligence. Power BI is used for analysis work and generating reports from servers as well as could services. The complete structure of SSRS is SQL Server for Reporting Services. It is also used for analysis work but generates reports only on server-based data.

Hence, if your data resides on the server and the cloud, Power BI must be your go-to choice.


SSRS is a legacy system and was introduced in 2004. Power BI is a modern system and was introduced in 2017. Are you planning to learn something new and relevant? Then, Power BI is your option. However, there are still a few organizations that are still dependent on SSRS.

Service Integration:

SSRS being a legacy system is limited to integration with server-based services. But being a legacy system has its perks, it’s fully enterprise-ready, tried, and tested. Also, you can add third-party plugins and tools to extend the functionalities further.

Power BI being modern, has a vast arsenal in this section. The cloud integration itself opens unlimited options. It’s also widely used in enterprises and has overtaken SSRS in popularity.


Both come with their advantages:

  • Power BI has a rich GUI, which makes it easy to use and operate. This is what makes Power BI accessible, and that is why power bi training is relatively straightforward. SSRS has a comparatively traditional UI and is not easy to work with. But it being SQL based, has an excellent drill-down capability.

  • Power BI provides you drag and drop functionality but hides its internal processing. This complexity abstraction is a good thing, but sometimes a developer needs to know what is happening under the hood. SSRS developers have to code and design their reports by themselves. Thus, they have a better idea of the process.

  • Power BI can be used through mobile apps along with Web and Desktop. SSRS can be accessed only by Web and Desktop.

  • Power BI can deal with both structured and unstructured data. It makes Power BI ideal for new data sources since most of them are informal. SSRS, on the other hand, can work with structured and semi-structured data. Lack of unstructured data support makes SSRS less appealing for new data sources.

License and Pricing:

SSRS is a paid tool. Also, most of the third-party plugins and tools for SSRS are not free.

Power BI, on the other hand, provides various pricing plans. The basic ideas start with a free option. Yes, you read it correctly. You can use Power BI for free (but only for a single user). However, you’ll get to use its analysis and cloud-based business intelligence services. A tempting offer, isn’t it.

If you want to use Power BI Pro and Power BI premium services, they are available as paid options.

Also, the most third-party plugins and tools for Power BI being open source, are available for free to use. So long story short, in terms of pricing, Power BI bags the round.

Market Presence:

SSRS is a legacy system and available in part since 2004, obviously has a significant market share. Especially legacy systems and projects still use them to date. With the active development of third party tools for SSRS, its market share is still substantial.

Power BI, on the other hand, is gaining a lot of momentum and popularity. It’s emerging as a prerequisite skill and technology, especially in the IT and Data Science markets. Also, it has lots of third-party plugins and tools to be integrated with. The cloud support and support for unstructured data are bonuses. Also, its free, and various paid options go hand in hand with the features Power BI offers to its users. This enter package comes with the additional USP of the tool being owned and backed by a tech giant like Microsoft.

These factors, along with readily available online and offline power bi training courses; and a gentle learning curve has made Power BI very popular, such that it has started replacing SSRS in many organizations. The existing SSRS projects are being updated with Power BI, and new projects are being planned with Power BI and other modern tools in mind.

Finally, we can say that SSRS has market presence, but Power BI has overtaken SSRS in popularity and user base. Therefore, from a future-proofing standpoint, Power BI is your best bet.


With all the above-discussed points, if you are starting fresh in visualization, reporting, dashboard, and analysis domain, or you are a lateral looking for a skill upgrade. We would recommend you to learn Power BI.

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