SharePoint 2016 and SQL 2016 Business Intelligence

SharePoint 2016 and SQL 2016 Business Intelligence

During the testing of early releases of SharePoint 2016, the core Business Intelligence features did not exist. Some of the basic components existed but things like Excel Services were removed from as a core component. In fact, Excel Services is now part of the new Office Web Apps Server called Office Online Server, you can get it back connected to SharePoint 2016 which is important if you use that now. However, there was a shift this version of SharePoint, back to SL Reporting Services for On-Premises users.

PowerPivot is also still available for SharePoint 2016, and will continue to be supported as part of the core Business Intelligence Stack for On-Premises Users. To enable this, you simply just install the new feature which is now baked into the standard installation mode of SQL Server Analysis Services for SQL 2016.

Outside of this, the Business Intelligence stack is based squarely in the SQL Server 2016 camp. These core features are:

These components will give any organization a great stack that can be connected to SharePoint. Of course not all of the components can be directly connected to SharePoint 2016, but consumed through core services. As expected the Business Intelligence features for SharePoint, now reside in other platforms such as SQL Server 2016, or even Office 365 if you are using the Cloud Services.

SQL 2016 Reporting Services has finally received some “love” this time around along with the new SQL Mobile Reporting solution which is Datazen finally wrapped into the core product. SQL reporting has long been the standard solution for reporting when using SQL server, even within previous versions of SharePoint too, albeit using the old tools. For quite some time we have been promised new features, and a better way of designing reports and using them. Now with the acquisition of Datazen a year or so ago which I discussed in a previous post, we can truly see great changes and enhancements that will benefit us all, whether we use SharePoint 2016 or not.

The core enhancements that should cause you to upgrade are the following:

  • Backend and Background Improvements
  • Better defined and thought out Tooling
  • New features
  • Clear Roadmap and Vision from Microsoft

Under the covers Microsoft has in reality gutted out a lot of the older components of Reporting Services and replaced them with the nice new features that came with Datazen. An example would be the great HTML5 rendering engine that now ensures reports can be used anywhere. With this brings new chart types and of course mobile reporting which was one of the strong points of Datazen.

Backend and Background Improvements

SQL Reporting Services now displays correctly across all modern browsers including Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Safari. The new HTML5 rendering engine no longer relies on quirks mode (used by a few older browsers). It now also supports the latest version of Microsoft .NET Framework. The report builder has now been rebuilt to be a more streamlined application that is easier to use. You are now also able to print easier, this is because the old Active-X experience has now been replaced with a modern, PDF-based capability that works across supported browsers.

Better Defined and thought out Tooling

Microsoft now supports multiple approaches to extract, transform, load, perform analytics and reporting within SQL Reporting 2016. 

New features

So with the new SQL reporting services we now get the following great new features:

New Reporting Services Web Portal (based on the Datazen Design)

Key Performance Indicators directly within the Web Portal

Mobile Reports, including a new Mobile Report Publisher

Consumption of SQL Server Mobile Reports into the Power BI Mobile Applications

Clear Roadmap and Vision from Microsoft

Gartner has now positioned Microsoft as a leader in the BI and Analytics space because of the enhancements and features it has not only created for On-Premises but also in the Office 365 Cloud Platform. The roadmap has been defined and in fact Microsoft have blogged about what comes next and where the vision is going to lead them, and where it will benefit us.

Taking the last graphic in this post really helps us to see what Microsoft is doing and how things will change going forward.

Notice the great power that is now coming, bringing the ability to consume On-Premises Data and Cloud Data together using the Power BI gateway components. 

If you are looking at SharePoint 2016, then you need to also look at SharePoint 2016, along with Office 365, to bring you the best connected and hybrid solution you can get for your end users and business.


If you want to learn more about installed SQL Reporting Services for SharePoint 2016 then you can review the following articles.

Supported Combinations of SharePoint and Reporting Services Server and Add-in (SQL Server 2016)

Where to find the Reporting Services add-in for SharePoint Products

Install Reporting Services SharePoint Mode



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