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Report Builder is a Free Tool?!

At New Horizons, our instructors are often asked questions by their students pertaining to real-world scenarios. One of the many benefits of attending training is the learning that goes on within the classroom amongst the students. Someone may ask a question that you've had yourself, or it may be a question you might have in the future. 

We asked our instructor staff to share some of those questions, and the result is our new blog series, Direct from the Classroom. Here is Eric Brockway's story:

Eric Brockway, a New Horizons instructor since 2011, has been an educator and a technologist for 24 years.

Classroom Discovery: Report Builder is a Free Tool?!

I was sent from Connecticut out to the Great Lakes to teach for a client. They were licensing some expensive report writing software from a major vendor, and they wanted to start working with Report Builder, from Microsoft.

Many of our customers believe that in order to get the Report Builder app, they need to purchase SQL Server. The older version of the app was integrated directly into SQL, so a purchase was necessary to use Report Builder.  Now it's a free tool and most people - including this customer - didn't realize that. 

I was talking with them about the specific needs and answering their questions about how they could utilize Report Builder and whether or not it was the right choice. I was confident it was a good fit and thought we could adjust and improvise when needed.

What I didn't realize is that they were going to start migrating all of their reports off of this expensive system onto Report Builder. And I didn't find that out until we were in the classroom.

While speaking with those who were making the financial decisions, one of them said "Here's why this is going to be critical for us: We've been paying half a million dollars per year to license our current reporting tool. Now we've decided to switch, and the original software is about to expire."

The migration was a big deal to them for several reasons: First, it was happening very soon. Within a few short months they were risking losing their current reporting system, and all of the reports that went with it. Second, it  was going to save the company about a half a million dollars, as they were switching from a very expensive software tool to one that is free. 

The reporting tool they were using did a great job, and they were happy with it, but it came with a huge price tag. Often, customers will automatically choose the most well-known software package and assume that it will be the best fit without truly investigating their own needs. However, often a tool with less functionality is a better fit.

Don't look at how many checkboxes are checked on the feature list; make sure the right boxes are checked instead. 

For those who need basic to intermediate report writing, Report Builder is a terrific option. Especially when compared to an expensive alternativeYou can't beat free! When I started teaching the courses for Report Builder, I was thrilled to be able to show people the benefits of this tool for their businesses.

I chose to share this story because we've had other customers in similar situations. It's very important to do your research to fully understand the capabilities and limitations of every software tool making an impact on your network. 

Make sure to get the most out of the programs and tools you use daily. This customer is going to save millions of dollars over the next several years, and I was happy to point them in the right direction. 


Eric Brockway is a Technical Instructor and Consultant who joined New Horizons in 2011 and has been an educator and technologist for 24 years. An experienced technologist, he has worked in almost all areas of the computer field—from network administration, programming, web architectural design, support, and help desks. Through years of working as a consultant, as well as a trainer, Mr. Brockway brings the real world into the classroom to build upon textbook theory. He has worked directly with corporate business developers, and is as comfortable in the board room as he is in the data center or classroom.

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Eric Brockway, Technical InstructorDebra Novara

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