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I work using Reporting Services 2008 and I'm constantly creating ad-hoc reports. We'd like to use PowerPivot on Sharepoint but we're stuck on Sharepoint 2007. Using easy reporting software like Tableau Server would be fantastic but we can't afford it SSRS Report Builder hasn't proved to be very helpful, unfortunately.

I've been trying to think of ways to leverage Excel / PowerPivot or any other (free or inexpensive) tool. We just need to be able to provide more data to users so they can analyze on their own. This is an area our IT team as a whole needs to improve.

We use SSRS 2008 and SQL Server 2008. We also don't have a data warehouse, it's in the works...

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Short answer: provide excel exports. – mike30 Feb 12 '13 at 16:48

We have deployed a simple BI system using Excel / PowerPivot as the front end allowing users to build there own reports.

We wrote a User Manual (including a data dictionary) and provided the users with training, we dedicated a few of the more technical users as power users that field questions from the user base , if a power user need help he\she comes to us.

It's really not that bad, it takes a while for it to Click, but when it does they do fine.

Just do it.

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+1 for training with details of the data. – mike30 Feb 12 '13 at 15:44 - is an open source on-the-fly reporting tool. Not sure whether you are looking for something similar, but please check the demo videos they have in the website.

More: The above tools enables to connect to multiple databases and write queries in a visual manner. The filters could be dragged and dropped and joins between tables could be visually edited. I think this will be a step in the direction of a solution in your above mentioned issue with too much ad-hoc reporting and more close to the dimensional model/ database level manipulations and querying ,than an excel alternative. Also more power to the end user at the expense of more technical exposure.

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would you mind explaining about this in more detail - how and why does it answer the question asked? "Link-only answers" are not quite welcome at Stack Exchange – gnat Feb 12 '13 at 11:56
sure, please find edits above. – dbza Feb 13 '13 at 15:17
BTW that was not a 'link-only' answer, I thought the user can find more from my comment about the existing demos rather than spending time explaining. – dbza Feb 13 '13 at 15:23

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