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Report Models

A report model is a business description of an underlying database that is used for building ad hoc reports. A report model is an additional layer of information that maps database tables and views into concepts that are meaningful to business users. A well-designed report model should reflect the information that business users want to report on organized in a meaningful way.

Report models are created in Model Designer and then published to a report server. Report models are then used in Report Builder as the basis for collaborative ad hoc reporting. Different users who have permission to work on the same report can refine it over time by adding and modifying filters, formulas, or even the type of information that is included in the report.

A report model can have a different meaning depending on how you use it.

  • To a business user, a model is a container of things to report on. For example, a model designed for Sales reports might contain data descriptions for Products, Customer Orders, and Shipments.
  • To a model designer, a model is a collection of entities, attributes, and relationships that describe individual data points (such as Product ID), combined into larger logical groups (for example, a Products entity that includes Product ID, Product Name, and other product-related data items), and then related to other groups to reflect the real-world relationships between business functions and processes (for example, how Products relates to Inventory and Sales).

The purpose of a report model is to remove the need for specialized knowledge that prevents some business users from creating their own reports. Report models eliminate knowledge requirements for building query construction, data source connections and authentication, expressions, filters, and parameters. All of these aspects of report design can be built into the report model, allowing business users to focus on the data of interest.

Report models are not based on the Unified Modeling Language (UML) or other model specifications. Report models are not compatible with other modeling tools or languages. To create, publish, and use report models, you must use the authoring and deployment tools provided in Reporting Services.