Author Archive

Apr
16

Saying Goodbye to EverythingXcelsius

Saying Good bye Ryan Goodman

I remember 7 years ago, getting a call from Mico with a vision to create a community around Xcelsius. From that one discussion EverythingXcelsius.com was born and we quickly learned one lesson.

“People make a Community, Not Technology.”

 

A group of passionate and highly intelligent professionals gravitated toward Xcelsius in 2004-2010 and the community that formed was something very special. Needless to say, riding the Xcelsius wave has been amazing. I’ve enjoyed meeting so many of you at various events around the world.

What I’m most excited about now is Mico’s vision for BI Brainz and the soon to be released new ‘Analytics on Fire‘ community.  Having once again and personally discussed with her over the last two years, it’s something that we feel will be very exciting.  As the market continues to rapidly evolve, the timing is perfect to take the existing Xcelsius community who are older, wiser and more diversified in technology knowledge into the next 7 years!

See you on the other side…. but first, since this my last EverythingXcelsius post, I put together my “Ultimate Top 3″ lists. Let’s go down memory lane!

My Top 3 EverythingXcelsius Posts

  1. My Take on Flash vs Few - The controversy around this post was just amazing
  2. Dashboards don’t kill Dashboard Projects, People Do!  - Ouch! Still holds true today.
  3. The Slow Death of a Gauge - This may be getting up there with pie charts.

 

My Top 3 Xcelsius Memories

  1. The look on customer’s faces when I could drag and drop a gauge or chart on a screen, wire it up to a simple slider and stick it in a power point within a couple minutes.
  2. Traveling the world in 2006-2007 evangelizing the possibilities of dashboard with Xcelsius and meeting hundreds of colleagues.
  3. The Xcelsius party that took over GBN conference in 2008 after SAP Acquired BusinessObjects

 

My Top 3 Areas of Focus Moving Forward

  1. Maps for Everyone - Through CMaps Analytics, I am focusing all of my energies to make geo-visualization and analytics available to everyone, everywhere in the enterprise.
  2. Indoor Analytics - With internet of things on the horizon, Indoor tracking is one of the next big data generators, so someone needs to figure out how to funnel this location data into useful information!
  3. Keeping up with the community - Though EverythingXcelsius as we know it is winding down, I am not going anywhere as BI Brainz picks up where EverythingXcelsius left off.

 

My Top 3 Dashboard/Visualization Tools for the Future

  1. Antivia DecisionPoint- I am seeing lots of Xcelsius users gravitate to DecisionPoint for Excel. These guys helped make Xcelsius enterprise ready with XWIS, and from my perspective built the successor to Xcelsius that SAP should have created.
  2. Tableau - In 2013 Tableau’s maturity as a visualization powerhouse took the BI industry by storm. It is not really a dashboard tool, but is best of breed for data exploration and what I use for my data exploration.
  3. D3 - This is more geeky and more about coding visualizations than rapid design, but D3JS.org is a visualization framework is very slick; it is also the foundation for several large software vendor visualization packages (including SAP).

Don’t forget to join us at the new Analytics on Fire community!

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 new Gurus 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.

Dec
6

Advanced Printing for Xcelsius is Here… Finally!

A few months ago, I received an email with a subject, “check out this print component” from Gabriel Braun at DataSavvy Tools. When I fired it up, I had a smile ear-to-ear because I was sitting in front of exactly what every customer has been asking me for the last 5 years… A robust print button capable of letting me choose what I want to print, control layout, and print to landscape or portrait. So I am happy to say that thanks to the Data Savvy Tools ingenuity, the community now has a fantastic option for printing: Dash Printer

While we try to keep promotions to a minimum on EverythingXcelsius.com, we could not resist posting about this new component because it is so heavily requested among customers. While some would argue that a basic function like printing should be taken care of by SAP, history has told us that they prefer to use the ecosystem to fill in certain gaps. Frankly, I don’t think that it could have been done any better than this.

After clicking on the print icon, you can click and drag to draw the area for which you will print. This way if you only want a portion of your dashboard printed, you can do so.


While still inside of your dashboard, you can instantly toggle the scale, margins, layout, and alignment of your image to print exactly what you want. This way every user is presented with the same visual print setup regardless of operating system.

So if you need an advanced print button for Xcelsius, you can now look to DataSavy Tools for a sound solution moving forward. Get the Dash Printer NOW!

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.

Aug
11

Understanding BI4 Dashboards and XWIS

If you’re using Xcelsius (now SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards) for your enterprise dashboard projects, by not looking beyond what comes “in the box,” you may well miss out on capabilities which could make a critical difference to your project; even with the advent of BI4.

What you get with SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards is one of the best dashboard design platforms because of its free-form design paradigm for rapid dashboard development. Another great thing about SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards is the community of experts and third party providers who fuel adoption, education, and innovation.

A great example of this is XWIS from Antivia. The folks at Antivia say “every connected Xcelsius project could deliver better, faster and at lower cost using XWIS” and I have to say there is good reason for this, having created many connected dashboards over the years. I have taken a stronger stance in the last year endorsing XWIS 2.5 and would agree that XWIS can deliver between 10 and 20 times productivity improvement to Xcelsius projects. “Production dashboards in days not weeks or months” can actually be achieved, which is why XWIS has become a tool of my dashboard design trade!

Having said that, over the last few months I have been asked a number of times if the value of XWIS diminishes now that BI 4 is about to go to GA. My short answer is “no” for XWIS 2.5 and “absolutely not” for the recently announced XWIS 3.0. To elaborate, I wanted to share both XWIS and BI4 capabilities so you can determine for yourself.

What do I get in the box with BI 4?

BI4 is a significant upgrade to the SAP BusinessObjects product suite, perhaps the largest in its history, and has customers eagerly awaiting the GA (some details of the new capabilities of BI 4 can be found at SCN in Pierre Leroux’s blog: “Innovations SAP BusinessObjects 4.0“).

Included in the upgrade are a number of enhancements specific to SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0, the most significant being:

Embedded Query Designer

The embedded query designer is a great new way of streamlining the existing Query as a Web Service (QaaWS) process. Now it is possible to design your queries using a standard BOBJ query panel inside the Xcelsius environment. No more needing to reach for the stand-alone QaaWS front end. It currently only works on the new “unx” universes but expect that to change in the future. So, for people who are using QaaWS today this represents a great step forward in terms of developer workflow and productivity.

Direct binding

For queries which are created with the new embedded query designer, it is now possible to bind the results directly to chart and selector components, without having to go through the spreadsheet. This is yet another important step forward for the maturity of this dashboard development platform, alleviating traditional workflow and performance implications of spreadsheet binding.

Parameter Selector Component

Working in tandem with the previous two features the parameter selector component makes it simpler to add query parameterization capabilities to your dashboard so that the end-user can see different slices of data by selecting a new parameter for the underlying query.

What are you missing by staying inside of the box?

There are many compelling reasons to use XWIS with both XI 3 and BI 4, including long standing XWIS features, such as:

Content re-use:

One of the strengths of XWIS is that is lets you reuse existing BI content (WebI reports, Crystal reports (on a universe or not), JBDC queries …). It is almost certain that you already have the data you need for your dashboard in an existing, managed price of content already governed under SLAs. XWIS allows you to re-use this content rather than having to create new queries.

Hierarchies and auto-drill:

XWIS natively supports hierarchies from your universe, but even better, it also provides an interface to edit and persist new hierarchy definitions, so you can re-use them on other dashboard projects. Furthermore, through its hierarchical data support, XWIS also supports auto- drill both within its own components and also in native Xcelsius components using its innovative Autowire feature (see below).

Cached Data Sources:

Because XWIS can leverage Crystal or WebI as a data source (in addition to JDBC), you can leverage BOE scheduling to offload complex number crunching, and then push scheduled data to your dashboard that you can drill and filter through.

Dynamic Measures and Dimensions:

One of the really powerful features of XWIS is the possibility to change the dimensions and measures (and even the underlying report) dynamically at run-time depending on end-user actions. This is a game changing feature for developers; with a flick of a switch you can increase the sophistication of your dashboards to answer more end-user requirements more easily.

Design-Time Variables

If you require a custom variable in a dashboard, you don’t have to go back to the universe designer or bind your data to the spreadsheet, in XWIS, you can create custom variables right inside of the property sheet while maintaining its hierarchical relevance and drill path.

Autowire:

Bypasses the spreadsheet for charting components and allows XWIS components to directly connect to Xcelsius charts complete with support for hierarchies and auto-drill.

And now in XWIS 3.0, there is even more capability, including:

Live preview

The latest version of XWIS allows you to see your data immediately at design time, in tables, charts, and even GMaps Plugin. This is a huge timesaver and changes the whole dynamic of creating a dashboard by eliminating the need to continually go to preview mode to see how the dashboard will look to end users. This feature really does have to be seen to get a full appreciation of how radically it alters the design experience.

Data Sync:

Keeping a number of components in sync whilst navigating around a dashboard, is often a key requirement (and one that some niche dashboard providers have done a good job at), the new data component in XWIS 3.0 brings this capability to Xcelsius.

Data Merge:

With many organizations needing to combine BusinessObjects data with other sources (e.g.  SQL, OLAP, spreadsheet), XWIS allows you to merge data from multiple sources, within your dashboard, and then take advantage of all the XWIS capabilities (auto-drill, slice and dice, etc) using the combined dataset.

Where do you go from here?

When the rubber meets the road and stakeholders are accountable for delivering dashboards back to the business, developers need confidence to deliver a wide range of capabilities. This is where tools from partners within the SAP eco-system can make the difference to your XI3 and your BI4 projects.

When it comes to a complete dashboard lifecycle, I have always believed that Antivia approaches BusinessObjects connectivity and integration the way that it should have been done in the first place with Xcelsius. New BI4 enhancements illustrate that SAP is committed to improving enterprise integration and connectivity. If your company is already building dashboards with success using QaaWS for your enterprise initiative, SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 will certainly be a breath of fresh air. However, if you really want to get the most from your dashboard development investment, I suggest that you give XWIS a serious look.

Feel free to post questions and comments here, as I would love to get the community’s feedback on this topic.

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

Apr
6

Your ONE MUST HAVE Xcelsius feature…

I have seen several lists of features that individuals request over the years. Having designed hundreds of Xcelsius dashboards myself, I am so used to the technology that I have put a box around how I design applications. Now that I have been involved in designing applications outside of Xcelsius, coming back inside of the environment leaves me with several gripes. I don’t know about you, but there are just a few added features that would make a HUGE impact on my design decisions. For instance:

Dynamic selection property for table, scorecard, list view, and charts

All standard selectors (label menu, listbox, etc) allow you to bind the selection on the behavior tab, which is heavily used by many dashboard developers I know. For some reason, this property was omitted from the most popular selectors. This little feature has negatively impacted more than 70% of my dashboards, creating a less than optimal user experience. If SAP gave me this one property, my ability to build exactly what customers ask for would increase 10 fold. The order of importance for which components get this property starts at tables, then charts, then toggle selectors.

So, what is that ONE feature that you can no longer live without in Xcelisus?

If you could have ONE, and only ONE feature, added to Xcelsius that would provide the most impact to all of your dashboards, and never have another new feature again… what would it be?

Make sure SAP Hears You!

Once you have thought about this and shared it with the group here, I will make sure that all of the powers that be, view this post, but you also need to ensure that your request is officially put into the SAP request list. To do this, copy your request into the official SAP Idea page to ensure your voice is heard. The community really needs to ensure that we are asking for the right things to make Xcelsius an order of magnitude better than it is today. Thanks for your help.


Click Here to Submit your Idea to SAP!

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.

Mar
22

Webinar Alert: Introducing SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 2011 (Xcelsius)

This week I am extremely excited to help introduce through SCN, the latest version of SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 2011, on Wednesday, March 30, 2011, at 10:00 am PST, 1:00 pm EST.

For our Xcelsius Gurus network members who have stayed on top of the BI4.0 launch, you may have already seen some of the features in previous webinars. With this webinar, I am going to take a slightly different approach to introduce Xcelsius based on my previous experiences using the tool and highlight its newest strengths. Following the webinar, I would love to congregate to gain your feedback.

SIGN UP NOW!

See below for the for the official SCN Announcement:

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

Mar
2

Where to get SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (Xcelsius) Add-Ons

For those of you who have looked to the “Get More Add-Ons” link inside of Xcelsius, you may have noticed that there are no longer add-ons available. Over the last year, it looks like SAP has been slowly de-commissioning the On-Demand community site to emphasize other communities. While we are sad to see it go, I assume that this link will soon point to another location; hopefully somewhere like Ecohub.

There are some realities when it comes to the Xcelsius marketplace and the SDK. The original vision to foster a marketplace for developers to contribute components never took off for many good reasons. The iStore model only works when there is a critical mass around a platform, a marketplace large enough to support commerce, and a dedicated effort to support and evolve the SDK. Instead, we have small but dedicated group of individuals and software solution providers who currently offer powerful complimentary solutions for SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards and Xcelsius. I have been fortunate to see many of them in action over the years and believe that the On-Demand store did not provide visibility to these great solutions.

So where do we go now for SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards and Xcelsius add-on solutions?

SAP ECOHUB

If your organization is deploying enterprise dashboards inside of BusinessObiects using SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards, the first place you can look is SAP Ecohub . This website features certified solutions not only for SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards and Xcelsius, but also other SAP enterprise applications.

VENDOR WEBSITES

The second place, and probably most important are vendor web sites and blogs that provide the level of detail and support that you would require to ultimately make a decision to use or purchase an third party solution.

EVERYTHINGXCELSIUS.COM

A third place to find information about add on solutions for Xcelsius is at EverythingXcelsius.comResources” page. I invite anyone who creates a plugin or complimentary software solutions specifically designed for SAP BusinessObejcts Dashboards or Xcelsius to comment on this post. Perhaps from this, we can generate a permanent list of vendors and products here on EverythingXcelsius.

Hopefully this move will give customers access to certified solutions, and a good venue to host a more complete list of add-ons here to give everyone out there visibility to what is available.

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

Sep
10

The Slow Death of a Gauge

When I started educating customers on business intelligence dashboards in the early 2000s, we used a term “eye candy for executives.” This term was coined thanks to the flashy graphics and over the top shiny look and feel for Xcelsius. This emotional effect that Xcelsius has on customers is amazing and to this day I truly enjoy sharing the technology with new customers. This emotional effect that Xcelsius had on businesses helped propel the Xcelsius forward because it simply looked better. The gauge visual control was certainly the most exciting item that every customer wanted. I am guilty as charged for using these controls over the years, but can’t remember the last time I used one in a customer project… and there is a very good reason.

Dashboards provide an appealing user experience to dive into business information. The customers and professionals who deploy dashboards are collectively more educated, thanks to the specialists who have provided guidance on effective methods for communicating quantitative information. When web 2.0 and business intelligence collided there were only a few places consumers could go to for education on visualization for business intelligence. Now there are large communities focused on this topic, just like EverythingXcelsiusDashboard Insight is my favorite. Though gauges are extremely effective in gaining your attention, it only slows down an you ability to digest the information. Gauges also take up valuable real estate, even when you cut them in half!

So what is the alternative to a gauge? You have a few options:

1. Use a text value- If you create a gauge and can’t figure out what the min and max values should be, delete the gauge immediately. You are best served placing a value or text control on the screen to display the value(s).

Use a bullet chart- If your value has an associated target, the bullet chart is your best bet, especially if you have multiple values that you would like to display with un-like measures or scales.

Use a bar / combo chart- If you have more than 3 gauges with the same measure and scale, you should replace them with a single bar chart or combination chart. With Xcelsius you also have an interesting vertical bullet chart capable of showing actual/target.

Hopefully if your are researching using gauges for your dashboard this article will help steer you clear of dis-servicing your end user. I would love to hear your opinions on this long lasting Gauge debate.

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

Jan
21

Salesforce.com Integration for Xcelsius 2008

Software as-a-service applications like Salesforce.com and Google Maps Premier enable organizations of all sizes to offload operational and infrastructure costs associated with on-premise software. Organizations that have made significant investments in on-premise business intelligence are now mashing up data from web-based solutions thanks to powerful APIs. In the last year, Salesforce.com and Google Maps integrations for Xcelsius have popped up making it easier than ever to integrate these technologies without any coding. Third party software solution providers like Centigon Solutions and Moss Solutions are bridging the gaps between these powerful web-based platforms and Xcelsius.

For Salesforce.com users, you now have the perfect solution to easily load and analyze data within Xcelsius dashboards. Last year, I was introduced to David Moss of Moss Solutions, who developed the Force.com Integration for Xcelsius. As a technologist I was obviously interested to see how he designed the solution, but as a Salesforce.com customer I was even more excited to see how I could use the integration for my own business. The Force.com Integration for Xcelsius connects directly to Salesforce.com reports, even if your organization uses custom SFDC fields, objects, and report types.  The integration leverages all of the filtering, summarization, layout, etc. defined within the Salesforce.com reports, making the integration extremely simple to implement and manage for the user of the component.

As an Xcelsius developer, you can use either a SFDC Connector within the Xcelsius data manager, or an interactive table component which provides inline drilling, grouping, ad-hoc filtering, and navigation of Salesforce.com report data. This tabular component is rich in functionality providing a simple way to drill through large volumes of data with extremely fast performance. A full list of features is available here at Moss Solutions.

Real-World ROI

David and I collaborated last year on a demonstration that I shared at the BusinessObjects user conference. The story behind the dashboard is a real customer use case to understand campaign effectiveness. Our customer’s campaigns invited targeted members to attend one in a series of local trade shows across the US. With lead information and conversion data captured at the tradeshows, the customer wanted to visually analyze who attended the trade show and to what extent the lead interacted with our customer. With a simple Salesforce.com report we could easily view the regional campaigns and view the leads. The report resulted in pages of data, which provided no insight to performance.

As a first time user of the Force.com Integration for Xcelsius, I was drilling through lead data from each campaign down to its campaign members within no time, but still desired a way to visually digest all of the valuable data. I next added the GMaps Plugin for Xcelsius to the dashboard, and setup the Force.com grid component so that drills and selections on the Salesforce.com data would be output to the Xcelsius model, and drive changes within the map. This allowed all of the leads and campaigns to be shown on the map, with the leads color-coded based on their status. The resulting spatial analysis provided tremendous insight based on lead proximity from the campaigns. From this analysis, the customer can not only measure the relative success of the campaigns that have already taken place, but can also quickly assess other locations for future campaigns. (See .swf below)

Using out of the box Xcelsius functionality, we were able to plug in the campaign costs and dynamically calculate financial ratios related to ROI. Using some more advanced calculations we could actually calculate effectiveness of a campaign based on the lead’s proximity from the event. This is the real value that customers want to uncover from dashboard applications and we are on the right path to make this analysis much easier to create.

If you are a Salesforce.com customer who is seeking a way to extract valuable analysis outside of the web-based tools out there, I highly suggest you take a look at the Force.com Integration for Xcelsius from Moss Solutions. You may sign-up for a trial at http://david-moss.com/registration .  Feel free to ping me with any questions about my experiences with the technology and how I am going to implement it within my own organization.

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 new Gurus page

Dec
15

Top 10 Xcelsius 2008 SP3 Enhancements!

BusinessObjects’ release of Xcelsius 2008 SP3 is a great step forward for customers to benefit from new charting, performance enhancements, and other capabilities that make dashboard development easier. For fellow Xcelsius customers and developers who have been patiently waiting for new functionality, this release is the one we have been waiting for.

Here are my top 10 features to help you jumpstart your exploration of new Xcelsius SP3 enhancements:

  1. Performance

    With a commitment to improve performance, there is a new option to optimize Excel performance in addition to promises of improvements to other previous performance concerns both inside of the Xcelsius design environment and runtime SWF files.

  2. Bullet charts

    A Steven Few inspired component set, the Bullet chart provides a new visualization tool for Xcelsius developers who want to maximize screen real estate while communicating more data.Bullet Chart

  3. Sparklines

    Sparklines are the second new charting edition to Xcelsius that also provide significant value for organizations who want to leverage the popular data visualization control within Xcelsius. Previously only attained with add-on components, this functionality comes packaged with Xcelsius.sparkline

  4. Selector Enhancements

    In Xcelsius, staging data for visualization has long contributed to the learning curve required for building excellent dashboards. As a step forward to make selector configuration easier, the Xcelsius team has exposed new global properties for selectors. Hopefully this is only the first step to seeing significant improvements to selectors since this is the most powerful yet difficult concept to learn in Xcelsius.

    • No selection- Sometimes a developer does not want a selector to trigger until it is clicked on. While this request is simple in concept, this functionality was not available until now. For the casual Xcelsius developer this is not a major feature until it becomes a requirement, but those fellow developers who have experienced this limitation will appreciate this feature.
    • Multi-selection- Another developer-centric feature, multi-selection capabilities will enable a dashboard to trigger multiple events which was previously accomplished with workarounds (Excel logic and hidden selectors). The first time you open a standard selector, developers will noticed a revised property sheet UI that is extremely easy to pick up using previous Xcelsius experience.
  5. Chart Enhancements

    Chart Enhancements

    • Sorting- The chart sorting requirements traditionally fulfilled with Excel logic or add-on components are now fulfilled for charts using a new sort behavior. Accessible in the chart behavior tab during design time, this functionality is extremely valuable when data is not loaded into a dashboard pre-sorted.
    • Labeling- As one of the most commonly requested features for Xcelsius, visible chart labels is now available simply by checking a box in the chart appearance tab under labels. Enable value and series label functionality and format them according to your design specifications.
  6. Chart slider

    To fill in IMT time slider capabilities previously available in BusinessObjects performance manager, developers can extend flexibility for end users to focus on a specific range within a time series using a dual slider. Built directly into the Xcelsius chart components, you can easily enable this functionality in the behavior tab.
    Chart Slider

  7. Bindable Colors

    As one of my personal favorites, you can now bind any color to the spreadsheet using a simple color binding option.
    Bind Colors

  8. Scorecard

    For any existing Xcelsius developers who have struggled aligning icons or hidden selectors, a real scorecard component will be a breath of fresh air, making it a relatively simple process  for configuring alert indicators within a vertical table. I can instantly see a lot of opportunities to expand on this component, so I am interested to hear the community use cases for this new component.
    scorecard

  9. Canvas Container Component

    This is a nice component for new Xcelsius developers who want to group components without learning dynamic visibility. This component is available with the other container components.

  10. New Gauge properties

    Gauges have long been criticized for consuming a large volume of screen real estate without displaying enough information within the control. For customers who insist on using these controls, Xcelsius offers additional capabilities previously available in BusinessObjects performance manager. Bind multiple values to a single gauge and track them as marker indicators or additional needles. From the second you open the gauge property sheet, you can easily take advantage of these new features using the same paradigm you have always used.

    Dial and Container

Please download SP3 directly from SAP Software Download Site.

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 new Gurus page