Within the context of subscription-based
reporting, our designated report server uses information that we provide it to
schedule and deliver the report to designated individuals in the organization,
through the channels that we also specify. Subscriptions are established as "standing
orders" to Reporting Services to deliver reports in one of two ways:
subscriptions are based upon either an event or a schedule.
One of the obvious
benefits that subscriptions provide is the elimination of the need of the
designated information consumer(s) to perform any action to obtain an updated
report. This "push" capability can also be useful in establishing
reporting based upon data, and other, events, whereby a designated user can be
informed of the occurrence of the event with little additional effort, freeing
them to pursue other activities in the meantime. Regardless of the trigger
for report generation, subscriptions can provide highly useful, automated
delivery of updated information to intended consumers in a reliable manner.
There are two kinds of
subscriptions from which we can choose in Reporting Services, standard
subscriptions and data-driven subscriptions. Standard subscriptions
are usually established and maintained by the information consumers for whose
benefit they are created. Data-driven subscriptions, on the other hand,
generate their subscriber lists when they are executed, along with other
delivery options, and are typically created and maintained by Reporting
Services administrators and other operatives with familiarity in report creation
Let's take a look at
subscription basics in the following hands-on exercise steps. While our focus
in this exercise will be the definition and operation of a standard
subscription that delivers a single instance of an on-demand report, we
will delve into data-driven subscriptions, which are a bit more
involved, in a later article.
Let's say, for purposes
of illustration, that we have been tasked with establishing a subscription
whereby we will "push" the FoodMart Sales report to a designated
group of information consumers. (Up until our establishment of the
subscription, the report was regularly distributed manually to users, by
attaching the respective report file to individual e-mails, and mailing these,
once this was accomplished).
Ideally (according to
the information consumers), the report will be "parked" in a shared
folder that interested parties can access at will. The report would be most
useful, for various analysis purposes, as an MS Excel spreadsheet. The report
is parameterized, a fact that we will leverage in our exercise, because the
intended audience consists of managers who are concerned with how Non-Consumable
products are faring within the FoodMart chain, and have little interest in
members of the other product families.
Click the link
for the FoodMart Sales report, as shown in Illustration 7.
Illustration 7: Accessing
the FoodMart Sales Report (Partial Folder View)
report executes, as we have discussed earlier, when we click the link in Report
Manager's Folder view, and we again see the Report is being generated
message. The report then appears, defaulted to the Drink Product
Family in the parameter selector dropdown list appearing atop the report.
Let's set the parameter to the appropriate selection.
Select the Non-Consumable Product Family in the parameter selector dropdown list.
Click the View
Report button to refresh the report.
report regenerates to accommodate the new parameter we have supplied, and
appears as depicted in Illustration 8.
Illustration 8: The
FoodMart Sales Report, Filtered to Non-Consumables
purpose here is merely to get an idea of "where we want to go," and
to create a report against which we can compare our subscribed report, to
ascertain that it is selecting the parameter that has been designated by the
information consumers in the business requirement that we have received.
we begin the setup of a standard subscription in a report, we need to
ensure that the following conditions are in place. They are likely to be easily
accommodated for our ends, assuming that settings have not been altered in the
sample reports / environment, but it is never too early to be exposed to
- We must have access to / permission
to view the report;
- We must have capability
within the context of our role assignment to create subscriptions;
- The report must either require no
credentials to run, or have the necessary credentials stored within
NOTE: We will cover these topics from
numerous perspectives as we progress in the series.