Before discussing performance of report execution and draw a comparison between Docentric, SSRS and CBD (Configurable Business Documents aka Electronic Reporting Business Documents) reporting solutions, let’s first briefly explain their architecture and how they relate to each other.
SSRS, CBD and Docentric execution pipeline
Docentric sits on top of SSRS reports, replacing SSRS report designs with Docentric templates and distributing generated reports via improved Docentric print destinations. Docentric templates are designed in MS Word and can be published without deployments. Report menu items and security are inherited from SSRS. It is seamlessly integrated with Print management and business processes that result in posting and printing documents.
Additionally, any SSRS report can be printed using improved Docentric print destinations, which is basically the essence of Docentric Free Edition.
Similarly, CBD sit on top of SSRS reports and cannot be printed outside the SSRS report execution pipeline, since SSRS is responsible for preparing the report data. Note that CBD are integrated only with Print management SSRS reports, because their execution is triggered by selecting an ER Format as the target Report format in Print management setup. However, instead of using Print management destinations, for printing ER Formats are always used ER destinations.
Finally, Docentric utilizes the best part of CBD, which is using ER Data models as report data sources. This way end-users and functional consultants can add additional data to reports, without help of developers. Reports are still designed with Docentric Designer and distributed via improved Docentric print destinations.
With knowing all of that, we can now compare the performance of all three reporting solutions.
SSRS, CBD and Docentric execution performance
There is some, but not significant performance improvement one can expect with Docentric. This is due to the fact that Docentric runs on the top of SSRS/ER and reuses their datasources. We will explain it on the example of a most common situation: posting and printing a sales invoice.
The whole process can be split into the following steps:
1. Posting: done by standard D365FO.
2. Report datasource fetching: done by standard D365FO, can be:
- SSRS, or
- ER (Electronic Reporting), CBDs being just an ER subset for print management reports.
3. Report document generation, can be one of the following:
- SSRS: done on the external SSRS server, can have poor performance. You can notice a green circle in the top left corner of the screen, rotating while the document is being generated.
- ER: done in the context of D365FO. There is an overhead in calling the Office cloud conversion service for printing to PDF.
- Docentric: the fastest among these three options, done in the context for D365FO via our proprietary engine.
4. Document distribution: duration depends on the selected print destination and its options. As you know, Docentric offers much more features for every print destination, so if you select for example PDF signing and saving to SharePoint with metadata through Docentric File print destination, that may last a bit longer than printing to some of the plain SSRS or ER print destinations, but the difference isn’t significant.
Steps 1 and 2 are responsible for the majority of the whole duration, and they are common to all 3 report types.
As a conclusion, even though a better performance is guaranteed, we don’t think that it alone justifies the migration to Docentric. It is rather a bonus coming on the top of all other great features of Docentric 😊.