Archive for the ‘Dashboard Design (Xcelsius)’ Category

Dec
31

Recording: #AllAccessSAP Xcelsius SOD Update & 2013 SAP BI Roadmap & Stats!

Happy New Years!

We first want to say thanks for attending our final #AllAccessSAP webinar of 2012. Unlike our past webinars, we did something a bit different this time.  We issued a survey to our audience asking them ‘What’ they wanted to hear about and from ‘Who’.  We were astonished to receive over 2,200+ votes (see details below).

SURVEY: Pre-Webinar Results (2,200+ Votes) revealed…

  1. WHAT – 49% of you wanted to hear about the Xcelsius SOD Future,  SAP Tool Choices and Dashboard Mobility
  2. WHO – 78% of you wanted to hear it from Mico Yuk (myself), Ryan Goomdan, SAP Analytics Product Team


STATS: 4 Amazing Webinar Facts

  1. Registration soared to almost 500+ registrants! (20+ countries)
  2. 3 Superstar SAP Analytics Product Managers as panelist, namely Mani Srinivasan, Charles Gadalla and Ian Mayor who all did an AMAZING job answering questions!  Big thanks to them for participating and making this a success. :-) (special thanks to Mani and James Fisher for organizing)
  3. Great Blog ResponseRead an exciting recap from SAP Mentor Zimkitha Buwa
  4. In less than 2 hours  - 529 tweets on our twitter hashtag #AllAccessSAP  from over 71 contributors (special thanks to everyone that participated in making this webinar go viral!)


RECORDING: Xcelsius SOD Update + Clarity on Visual Intelligence & Predictive Analysis (60 mins of No BS)

NOTE: This webinar was 120 minutes long but due to issues with gotowebinar we only were able to post the first 60 minutes. This unfortunately chopped off the ending where we had BI Community members check in from over 5 different countries including the Middle East, South America, USA, Canada, and Australia.  What a great way to end the year! Sit back, relax and listen….

If you are having trouble viewing the video, please click the direct link: http://bit.ly/Uhalm2

What’s Next?

As we enter 2013 we are planning to do these webinars on a quarterly basis, and also rebrand it to be part of our new BI Community by Jan 31st 2013.  So stay tuned! We look forward to bringing you more good info!

Mico Yuk is a SAP Mentor Alumni and SAP BI Influencer, co-founder of Benchmarkers Business Intelligence and founder of the Xcelsius Gurus Network, the Everything Xcelsius blog. To learn more about her, please visit her about page.

Dec
13

ALERT: Must Attend #AllAccessSAP Xcelsius SOD Followup & SAP BI Roadmap

A few weeks ago we asked customers to let us know what they wanted to discuss and who they wanted to hear from as a part of our BI Dashboard Formula product ‘Get your BI Dashboard Project on Track in 2013’ campaign: http://bit.ly/TQYn1V

Receiving an astonishing 2K+ votes, we made this the last AllAccessSAP webinar of 2012! For the first time ever we’ve gathered all three of the SAP BI Product Managers in one place to have a NO BS discussion covering the most voted on topics from the survey.

SUPERSTAR CAST:

  • Webinar Hosts: Mico Yuk, Ryan Goodman
  • SAP BI Product Managers: Ian Mayor (SAP Dashboards, Design Studio), Mani Srinivas (Visual Intelligence, Explorer), and Charles Gadalla (Predictive Analysis)
  • Special Guests: Check in with SAP community members around the world on the state of their BI!

WEBINAR AGENDA (120 minutes):

  • 30 mins – Introductions and SAP BI Product Managers presentation answering your initial registration questions
  • 30 mins – Live questions from chat and twitter #AllAccessSAP hash tag
  • 30 mins – Open discussion led by hosts
  • 30 mins – Check in from special guests and global customers on their state of BI

MOST VOTED TOPICS:

  • Update on Xcelsius Statement of Direction (convergence with Design Studio)
  • Xcelsius HTML5 the right route?
  • Understand the Visual Intelligence/Explorer roadmap
  • Who should use Predictive Analysis

WEBINAR DETAILS:

  • Registration Link: http://bit.ly/TQYn1V
  • When: Friday, December 14, 2012
  • Time: 9am EST to 11am EST

END GOAL: Provide clear unbiased answers on these ‘touchy’ subjects so that you can enter 2013 with a clear roadmap on what is best for your organization.

The #AllAccessSAP webinars are famous for producing breaking news and having quite an engaging audience discussion. Join us!

Not able to attend the live session? No worries… Register to receive the recording!

Mico Yuk is a SAP Mentor Alumni and BI Influencer, co-founder of Benchmarkers Business Intelligence and founder of the Xcelsius Gurus Network, the Everything Xcelsius blog and BI Dashboard Formula. To learn more about her, please visit her about page.

Nov
14

Survey Results are in! Final 2012 #AllAccessSAP Xcelsius Webinar is a GO!

We just wanted to say a big ‘THANK YOU’ to everyone who completed the survey! The results are in, with over 2K votes and even more shocking than we expected.

View the complete report now!

Also, by popular demand, the discounted registration pricing for the BI Dashboard Formula 2.0 has been extended to November 23rd! Join us on this journey to getting your BI Dashboards on track for 2013!

Cheers!

Soo Tang Yuk (@sootangyuk) is the ‘Xcelsius Gurus Network” community manager and evangelist. To find out more, please visit her about me page.

Oct
29

Dynamic status update of Check Box components in Xcelsius: Part 4/4

Not all check boxes are created equal

This post continues an examination of the methods to achieve dynamic update of Xcelsius Check Box component’s statuses that started in the previous parts of this series: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

One of the interfaces that require this functionality is similar to the Row Selectability section on the Common tab of the Behavior ribbon in the Spreadsheet Table component properties. It is also used in Excel filters (“(Select All)” option) and in Tableau (“(All)” option), and in many other displays that include grouped check boxes.

This design consists of the multiple dependent check boxes that can be checked/unchecked selectively by a user, but also are governed by the so-called “master” check box. The status change of the master check box correspondingly affects the statuses of all of the other check boxes in the group.

To reproduce it in Xcelsius, I’ll use the model similar to the one used in the Part 3 with a line chart of traffic trends by geographic region and the check boxes representing these regions. Display status of each chart series depends on the checked/unchecked status of the corresponding check box. What the user sees as a check box is a push button component placed on top of two check box components. The push button has a transparent background. One of the checkboxes is set to be checked and the other one is unchecked. Their dynamic visibility is based on the status of selection (see details in Part 1 and Part 2). The challenging design difference in this model is that the component responsible for the Select All/None functionality (master control) is not a button as in Part 3, but a check box itself, at least in a visual capacity, and its functionality should create a corresponding user experience.

If the user unchecks any dependent check box, the master check box should be unchecked as well. If all of the check boxes are checked, the master check box should also become checked. We can’t get such functionality in Xcelsius models out of the box. But there is a workaround that I’m going to share with you.

On the figure below you can see the components included in the model.

To show what happens behind the screen at a run time I added a Spreadsheet Table component. It is based on the range C1:E6, which consists of the calculated statuses of selection and visibility. The next two figures show how the spreadsheet is set up.

Chart series are linked to the Calculated Data range (H2:K6). Formulae in that range use the REPT worksheet function that returns values from the Raw Data range (H8:K12) if corresponding display status in the range (D3:D6) is 1 and an empty string if it is 0.

Each click on any dependent checkbox (which is in fact on a transparent push button), copies the values (1 or 0) from the corresponding row in the range C3:C6 into the cell in the range D3:D6. Then, the formula in C3:C6 recalculates the inverted value in the preparation for the next click.

The Dynamic Visibility Status properties of the stacked check boxes representing the master check box are linked to the cell E2 (shaded in green on a spreadsheet).

The formula in the cell E2 ( =MIN($D$3:$D$6) ) calculates the lowest out of all dependent check boxes’ statuses.

When a user clicks on what is shown as the master check box and labeled as (All), he triggers an overlaid push button. It results in an insertion of values from the source range E3:E6 into the destination range D3:D6.

Formulae in E3:E6 range (1-$E$2) return inverted E2 value facilitating 1 and 0 toggling of dynamic visibility statuses of the all dependent check boxes and then, closing the loop, affects checked/unchecked status of the master check box.

This post concludes the series about dynamic status update of Check Box components in SAP BusinessObjects Dashboard (Xcelsius). With one of the next releases of the product, we might get the Check Box component’s behavior changed (at least as an option) to be similar to Excel’s Check Box control, and this series of posts will become obsolete. Until then, we can use the methods explained here to achieve the functionality, as of today, not supported in Xcelsius out of the box.

Leonid Koyfman is a BI professional with over 10 years of experience in a database design and development and in delivering reporting solutions using enterprise reporting technologies. He is a big Xcelsius enthusiast passionate about dashboard design and other kinds of data visualization. In his leisure time Leonid enjoys solving mental puzzles and hiking in the Bay Area with his family.

P.S. The BI Dashboard Formula is officially LIVE NOW! Read our Members’ Testimonials and see why we received a 98% approval rating! Register before November 7th and take 10% off with coupon code: MicoBuddy10.

Sep
24

Dynamic status update of Check Box components in Xcelsius: Part 3/4

Now you see it, Now you dont!

This post demonstrates how to apply the ideas presented in Dynamic status update of Check Box components: Part2 to the dynamic selection of chart series.

One of the features introduced in Xcelsius 2008 SP3 was a dynamic series selection in charts.This long awaited addition addresses an old request for the ability to hide/show a chart series at run-time.

Now, all we need to do to set it up is to go to Appearance section in the chart properties, enable legend on theLayout tab, check Enable Hide/Show chart Series at Run-Time check box and accept the default value of Check Box in the Interaction combo box. At run time, next to the corresponding labels in the chart legend, we’ll get the check boxes that govern the display status of the chart series as shown in the following example of charting traffic trends by geo region.


This approach is quick and intuitive. It’s a big step forward and in many cases will serve its purpose. But there is still room for improvement. One of the limitations is an inability to reset all check boxes (or all in a group) at once. So, the traditional solution for toggling a display of chart series based on Check Box components and Excel logic still takes its place and can be enhanced with the methods explained in details in (Dynamic status update of Check Box components: Part2). The following model shows how to apply such a technique to the previous Hide/Show chart Series example.

All custom push buttons shown above the chart use the Status range (cells H3:H6) as the destination. The raw data is in the range P3:U6.

The range J2:N6 is the data source for the chart. Formulae in the range J2:N6 calculate values for the chart series. When the values in the Status range are 0s, the formulae in the corresponding rows in the range J2:N6 return empty strings and series that are based on those rows are not displayed. And when the values in the Status range are 1s, the formulae in the range J2:N6 return the raw data values and the display status of the chart series gets toggled.

Custom push buttons are created as described in Customizing a Push Button component in Xcelsius.

The buttons support All, Invert and None types of selection. The buttons serve to select only series in the corresponding groups (USA and Canada in this example). The check boxes are also designed as custom push buttons and used for changing the display status of the chart series for individual regions (e.g. just Portland or Seattle and Portland).

Select None functionally is just one click less than a combination of All and Invert selections. So, depending on our intentions, we can save an extra click for the user by adding this button, or exclude it from the design to save some space on the canvas and deal with fewer components. Yet another option, as a compromise between two, is to stack the All and None buttons and toggle their dynamic visibility.

With such an implementation, after clicking the All button it will become invisible, and the None button will be displayed instead on the same spot. In turn, clicking the None button will hide it and make All button available for the next logical action. Using this option might need some integration with the Invert button functionality.

The example in this post demonstrates one of the practical applications of the dynamic check box status update in Xcelsius and can be extended to the designs that support more complex rules for simultaneous selections of logically grouped items.

Leonid Koyfman is a BI professional with over 10 years of experience in a database design and development and in delivering reporting solutions using enterprise reporting technologies. He is a big Xcelsius enthusiast passionate about dashboard design and other kinds of data visualization. In his leisure time Leonid enjoys solving mental puzzles and hiking in the Bay Area with his family.

Sep
19

Free XWIS test-drive coming to a city near You!

During my keynote at the recent “Mastering SAP BusinessObjects” conference in Melbourne, Australia I said “in order to make Xcelsius or SAP Dashboards enterprise ready you need XWIS from Antivia.” I said this because Antivia’s XWIS closes five key gaps in Xcelsius / SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards functionality which are fundamental to enterprise dashboard success:

  1. Reduced complexity
  2. Design productivity
  3. Dashboard performance
  4. End-user functionality
  5. Mobile delivery

Just as WebIntelligence makes it easy to manage multi-dimensional data with its micro-cube, so XWIS brings similar in-dashboard OLAP capabilities to Xcelsius development. This reduces dashboard complexity by avoiding the need to create multiple connections to the server for different slices of data and by eliminating the formulas required to knit these slices of data together in the spreadsheet. Less complexity means you’ll achieve a significant increase in design productivity (meaning more dashboards, developed more quickly) and at the same time you’ll see a dramatic improvement in dashboard performance (both initial load and click-to-click). XWIS also enables the out-of-the-box addition of key end-user functionality such as drill-down, drill-across and “slice and dice”. And to top it off, all this is available both off-line and on tablet devices. But, I want you to see this for yourself … so, I’d encourage you to get along to one of the hands-on XWIS test-drives that Antivia is planning, this fall. By taking a test-drive, you will see all of these capabilities in action as you build your own interactive, connected dashboard, from scratch, against a significant dataset, within minutes, using XWIS.

Antivia is running test-drives in Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia and New York during the first week of October.  My good friend Donald MacCormick (a key-player in the acquisition of Xcelsius by Business Objects and one of the guest speakers I hand-picked for my BI Dashboard Formula) is hosting each test-drive. Given the interactive nature of these events, space is limited, so I would urge you to register for an XWIS test-drive today.

Mico Yuk is a SAP Mentor and BI Influencer, co-founder of Benchmarkers Business Intelligence and founder of the Xcelsius Gurus Network, the Everything Xcelsius blog. To learn more about her, please visit her about page.

Sep
5

Live Dashboard Training with Mico Yuk in Zurich at BOAK 2012

I’m sure many of you have heard about Mico’s online training series, the BI Dashboard Formula, that starts on the 6th of September. Well Mico is now taking this training on the road to Zurich, Switzerland, for our ONLY live event on September 19th, as part of the BOAK 2012 Conference.

Mico will be teaching the entire 7-steps of the BI Dashboard Formula live for the first time! See below for details:

  • Step 1. Planning – The Most Important but Overlooked Step
  • Step 2. Scoping – The Art of Gathering Requirements
  • Step 3. Prototyping – Developing the ‘Perfect’ Dashboard
  • Step 4. Validating the Data – Before making False Promises
  • Step 5. Connecting the Data – The Moment of Truth!
  • Step 6. UAT (aka User Attack Testing) – How to get Thru Quickly
  • Step 7. Go Live – Living Through Dashboard Armageddon
  • Step 8. Knowledge Transfer – The key to Job Security
  • Click here to read the full details of each training module on the BIDF homepage!

Registration closes on September 17th, and we have 6 spots left as of this blog post!

  • Where: Zurich, Switzerland
  • When: September 19th, 2012
  • What time: 9am – 4:30pm CEST
  • How to Register: http://bit.ly/PWhvx4
  • What to expect: We’ve been told that being stuck with Mico in a room all day discussing BI is career changing literally. Lots of fun and lots of learning!

Soo Tang Yuk (@sootangyuk) is the ‘Xcelsius Gurus Network” community manager and evangelist. To find out more, please visit her about me page.

Aug
27

Recording, Slides & Blueprint Template available for Mico’s Dashboard Scoping webinar

Last week Tuesday, Mico gave a sneak peek webinar of the BI Dashboard Formula -Module 2: Scoping. Although the webinar only lasted 30 minutes, it was a power session packed with lots of good content.

During the webinar, Mico discussed 3 key elements of requirements:

  1. DATA requirements – Capture all the details about the KPI’s and metrics such as the definition, how to calculate, the data sourc(s), any business rules and much more
  2. FUNCTIONAL requirements – Learn how your business user expects to ‘use’ the dashboard
  3. DESIGN requirements – Define the look and feel of the dashboard

To gain access to the webinar recording, please click here to visit the BusinessObjects Experts website, which includes the slides and Blueprint Template or copy and paste this link into your browser: http://bit.ly/QahZR9.

**Note: The BI Dashboard Formula officially CLOSES on Friday, August, 31st, to get ready for classes on Sept 6th! To get instant access to the Members Area for a limited time, please visit the home page, then click on the **FREE TRIAL** link in the top menu!**

Soo Tang Yuk (@sootangyuk) is the ‘Xcelsius Gurus Network” community manager and evangelist. To find out more, please visit her about me page.

Aug
3

Dashboards don’t kill dashboard projects, People do!

Recently, I had the chance to think about past dashboard projects that I helped save, or complaints I have recently heard about “at-risk” dashboard projects. I offered the following as advice to colleagues and wanted to share my thoughts with you… I offer these three things to consider as your organization looks to improve your dashboard project success rate:

TIP 1: Know who you are designing for and what they need

“Dashboards” are tools to help business people assimilate information, but different roles, lines of business, and management levels need the right information at the right time.

Strategic Dashboards- Management / Executives

Strategic dashboards should present top level KPIs and performance monitoring metrics for management or executives. Sometimes these managers want everything including the kitchen sink, or believe that one dashboard project (expense) can serve the needs of management and lower levels. One dashboard should not typically serve the needs of multiple roles, and as I have found, it is typically easier to build two dashboards than try to build the security and logic.

Analytical Dashboards- Analysts

Analysts typically end up wanting the raw data so they can play with it in Excel. We have great new tools from SAP like Visual Intelligence and newer versions of Explorer that can begin to approach the needs of an analyst. Dashboards do make a great entry point for analysts, but generally lack the horsepower required out of the box. I have seen WebI or the addition of Antivia XWIS remedy the data volume, adhoc, and data export requirements that often come up with analytical dashboards.

Operational Dashboards- Operations

Operations generally means instant, real-time information. Call centers, dispatch, and emergency management users are typical consumers and if they don’t have a fast, super simple user experience, they will trash your dashboard. The connectivity needs to be very fast, especially in an operations center where someone is physically reviewing the dashboard throughout the day. Typically a bottle neck is real-time data availability unless the customer has experience building real-time applications. As such I recommend you flushing out this before dragging a single component onto the canvas.

Informational Dashboards- Everyone else

Informational dashboards are typically geared toward a broader audience of business users. As such, your dashboard needs to be built to win over this audience. The best way to do so is ensure the first phase of your project is delivered quickly, looks amazing, and must be functional.

TIP 2: Set expectations from day 1

A dashboard design solution like Xcelsius has always been our BI Army Swiss knife for applications, but it is not magic. It has its own set of technical limitations that should be understood and communicated. A dashboard developer or project manager should set expectations for what is possible out of the box, what extendable using third party software is, and that if you wait for SAP to deliver the fix or feature, it could be a long wait.

I have walked into countless engagements where the business defined requirements and was told those requirements were possible with Xcelsius, yet no one ever pushed back to set expectations that it would require 40 queries and take 5 minutes to refresh. This is not good!

TIP 3: Find a business champion

Many dashboard projects may be pushed from the top down to end users who may have existing tools and processes for doing things. You have one shot to make an impressions with a new application and if you don’t have someone on your side who is respected by end users you could run into trouble even if you build the best dashboard. A business champion can provide gut checks along the way to make sure the dashboard will be generally adopted, and help evangelize the excitement of a new dashboard so upon delivery, you don’t face an angry mob who will block adoption of the new dashboard.

Ryan Goodman is the Founder of Centigon Solutions, an SAP® software solution partner, that is strategically focused on developing add-on products for use with Xcelsius®. To learn more about him, please visit our Gurus page.

Jul
26

Dynamic status update of Check Box components in Xcelsius: Part 2/4

Select All or Select None

The ability to update the status of multiple logically related Check Box components with one click is a common request when using SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (Xcelsius).

Another frequently requested feature is the “Invert Selection” functionality, when on “one click” a user can deselect (uncheck) all of the currently selected items and select (check) those, which were not in the original selection.

The benefits of having these features might not be obvious while dealing with just 3-4 check boxes. However, when we have more of them and try to check only the few that we are interested in, such functionality becomes highly desirable.

The challenge here is making the Check Box component be checked or unchecked dynamically. In Part 1 of this series I demonstrated how to accomplish a dynamic status update (e.g. Reset) of a single Check Box component. This post is about applying that approach to multiple Check Box components.

Let’s build a model with multiple check boxes that represent geographical regions.

We want to support a selective update of individual check boxes and also a simultaneous update of all of them or just those that belong to a predefined group.

1. Set up a spreadsheet as shown in the figure below. For this example, the region “East” is associated with the group 2 and the other ones with the group 1 (see column H). These group names have no special meaning and could be replaced with other identifiers, if it’s also reflected in the dependent formulae.

2. Add to a canvas four sets of components, each of which represents the region to be selected at run time and consists of two check boxes (checked and unchecked), a label and a push button, as shown in a figure above.

3. Link Label components to the cells with the region names in the range I2:I5.

4. Bind the push buttons’ Source Data properties to the cells in column A and the Destination properties to the cells in the column G in the same row.

5. Make the push buttons transparent as explained in my Custom Push Buttons post.

6. Set the Item property of one of the check boxes in each set as a Checked and the other one as Unchecked. The Item property is located on the Common tab of the Behavior section.

7. Configure Dynamic Visibility for each check box in a set by linking their Status properties to the cells in the Status range G2:G5 (shaded in yellow). Set the Key property for the checked check boxes to 1 and to 0 for the unchecked ones.

8. Stack check boxes in each set and place the corresponding transparent push buttons on top.

9. Resize and align Label components with the check boxes.

10. Add to the model five new push buttons and label them as All, None, Invert, Group1 and Group2.

11. All push buttons will use the cells in the Status range (G2:G5) as a Destination property.

The Push Button component fires only on a click and stays neutral upon dashboard load. It allows us to use multiple push buttons pointing to the same destination. The ordinal positions of the components in the Object Browser do not impact the result.

12. Button All uses as a Data Source the range B2:B5 with values 1 in all cells.

Data Source property of the button None is bound to the range C2:C5 with values 0 in all cells.

Invert button points Data Source property to the range A2: A5 with the formula =1-G2 in the cell A2 copied down in other cells in the range.

Buttons Group1 and Group2 illustrate the selection that is based on a custom logic. They use as the Data Sources the ranges D2:D5 and E2:E5 correspondingly. The formula in D2 is =SIGN(H2=1) and the formula in E2 is =SIGN(H2=2). They are copied down the ranges and flagging regions in the Group1 and Group2.

13. For the visualization of underlying run time changes, add a Spreadsheet Table component and bind its Display Data property to the spreadsheet range shown in the figure above.

14. Open a Preview. As depicted in the following figures, we can flip the values in the cells in the Status range by selectively checking/unchecking check boxes and also can simultaneously check/uncheck check boxes in the various logical groups using the push buttons.

One of the practical applications of this functionality is a toggling of the display of a chart series based on the statuses of the corresponding check boxes. I will show how it can be implemented in one of the next posts.

Leonid Koyfman is a BI professional with over 10 years of experience in a database design and development and in delivering reporting solutions using enterprise reporting technologies. He is a big Xcelsius enthusiast passionate about dashboard design and other kinds of data visualization. In his leisure time Leonid enjoys solving mental puzzles and hiking in the Bay Area with his family.