Any suggestions for business reporting software?

I’m looking to upgrade my company’s reporting tools and the task so far is a bit daunting. Currently we do everything in Crystal Reports, which is fine, but a bit static and not very flashy. I have recently been testing out Tableau’s report tools and I must say they blow Crystal out of the water with their ease of use as well as their built-in geocoding capabilities. However, if we were to host the reports on our own web server we’re looking at 1000 bucks a license for anyone that views them, and that is just out of the question.

So I look to you for advice. We are in a Visual Studio/SQL Server environment. I know some VB, and even less ASP/HTML/Web-In-General coding, but am a quick study. I’m willing to pay for ease of use, but buying a license for everyone viewing online is not gonna happen.



Stick with what you have. “Not very flashy” is a poor reason to spend money on so-called upgrades IMO, esp if money is really tight.

Hello Jeff,
[Disclaimer I work at Windward]
Windward reports does reporting a little differently to help cut down on time. You design the reports in Word, Excel or PowerPoint by using our Office add-in called AutoTag that places reporting tags inside of the document. Then we have a .net version of our engine that you can call from VB(or any .net language) to actually run the report on your web server, with minimal amounts of code. We have connectivity to all the major databases, MS SQL included. Also you don’t have to buy a license for everyone that looks at the reports.

We are not as flashy as Tableau but check us out if your looking for something easy to use.

Thanks, Matt

You might want to try m-Power. It’s a development tool that lets you develop web reports (or any other type of web application) without programming. You can check out m-Power’s demo site ( to get a feel for the types of reports you can create.

One nice thing about m-Power, is that it automatically generates smartphone and tablet versions of every application it builds. So, if you visit crazybikes from a smartphone or tablet, you’ll get a totally different experience that’s tailored to each device.

Also, there are no per-user, distribution, or run-time fees, so you won’t have to pay for everyone who views the apps.

Reported as spam.

You may want to check out Windward. We’ve gained a number of new customers who just tired of the battles with Crystal.

Any data source, almost any language, and platform agnostic. You can’t go wrong. Try the free demo, and tell the team Annette sent you.

Annette with Windward

You can look at NextReports ( Designer is free and you can play with it to see if it suites your needs. Server is cheap by comparing with others vendors and can be fully trialed for 60 days.

What version of SQL Server? Have you looked into SQL Server Analysis Services and SQL Server Reporting Services? (SSAS & SSRS) Their licensing has changed with SQL 2012, but I can tell you they have a pretty rich set of reporting tools.

I’m currently using 2008. I’ll look in to those tools. What sort of learning curve is there with them? And should I look into upgrading everything to 2012? Or are the 2008 tools usable as well?

What kind of business reporting are you doing?

If you’ve been handling everything with Crystal, concentrate on the Reporting Services.

Analysis Services is for BI reporting, data mining, etc. Unless you’re already doing that stuff, I’d skip it for now.

From what I’ve heard, there obviously is a learning curve with Reporting Services, but you’re working in Visual Studio, so you’ll already know that bit. And there’s lots of training info out there.

The SQL reporting & bi tools have been getting better and better with every new version since 2005, so you’ll want to think about the new version at some point. But for now you should be fine with what you’ve got.

I use FastReports in my software and am very happy with it!

They have both a .NET version (I use VCL) and a standalone report generator as two different products.

Check them out here.

Hope this helps!