Moving from Crystal Reports and SSRS to Power BI

Power BI

We have been asked by many clients about moving their existing business intelligence solutions to the modern Microsoft Power BI platform, and most of those inquiries involve some combination of Crystal Reports and SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) reports.  One question we are often asked in those discussions is, “how do we migrate our existing Crystal Reports to SSRS, or to Power BI?”

Power BIIn short, although there are automated online solutions to port Crystal Reports to SSRS, a manual approach to reviewing and porting those reports is often a better investment, as it allows your internal subject matter experts to offer their thoughts on the efficacy and usefulness of the Crystal solutions.  If there are any changes to the reports that would be required, it actually makes more sense to manually design those reports to leverage Power BI as paginated reports than it does to do a strict lateral move to SSRS.  Besides, unless there is a truly compelling reason to move off of Crystal Reports, it is best to let the existing reports remain as Crystal solution, work on manual porting of the reports to Power BI, and to sunset Crystal on your timetable.

Below is Crestwood’s recommended roadmap for moving from Crystal/SSRS to Power BI.

How to Move to Power BI

  1. Crystal Reports will remain static. There is no easy, cost-effective manner to migrate Crystal Reports to SSRS, so these should remain as they are.  We can recommend online migration services, but the investment would most likely be better utilized by manually porting the Crystal reports to Power BI paginated reports (see #2 below).
  2. Existing SSRS reports will be migrated to paginated Power BI reports. This requires Power BI Premium and the “Paginated Reports” workload to be enabled.  These reports can be created from existing RDL (SSRS) files via Power BI Report Builder and published through the Power BI Report Server, either online or on-premise.  If all data is behind a corporate firewall, installing and using the on-premise version of Power BI Report Server is recommended, though strict one-page dashboards with real-time slicing and filtering of data will not be possible.  However, the reporting will be moved to a more modern platform and if dashboards or slicing/filtering are required, cloud-based Power BI workspaces with an on-premise gateway can be used.
  3. New reports will be created with Power BI. Whether these are paginated reports or dashboards, the Premium Power BI platform will allow for current and future reporting needs to be met, allowing Crystal Reports to sunset without any new report development.  Further, once all of the SSRS reports have been moved into Power BI paginated reports, the SSRS solution can also be deprecated.

Those steps will bring your reporting protocols into 2021 and beyond.

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