Posts Tagged ‘Crystal Solutions’

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.

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.

Jul
18

New Video: Mico’s Dashboard Planning Webcast Recording

Last week Tuesday, Mico and our friends at BusinessObjects Expert co-hosted a webinar on Planning and why it’s the most overlooked step in dashboard development. This webinar served as a preview to Module 1 of Mico’s live online training series, BI Dashboard Formula.

To gain access to the webinar recording follow these 2 simple steps:

  1. Download the Free Planning Guide to follow along
  2. Click here to see why 500+ people registered (hear the LIVE  FAQ’s and download the slides)
  3. Reminder: We ONLY have 9 playbooks left and the $500 discounted registration ends July 31st. Click here to register now.

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

Oct
25

Operational Reporting: Leveraging Crystal Reports as a Model for Embedded BI

As I attempt to describe in the below figure, there are a few types of BI that are currently available from BI vendors. Historically, most BI deployments began with pure reporting that delivered information to those who needed it for making decisions. Those reports were either printed or delivered electronically via email or a portal. From that basic reporting arose a requirement to either see more high-level, graphical information (e.g., dashboards) or a requirement to have more interactive reporting. Over time, the deployment eventually builds up to where the implementation and the users are mature enough to need analysis capabilities. Of course, today, users are more mature with regards to locating information, manipulating that information, and telling a story with it. As such, more and more BI deployments are starting with analysis.

All of these different types of BI can either be accessed in a standalone mode or embedded. With SAP BusinessObjects, standalone can mean either via a desktop application, BI LaunchPad, or one of the various mobile applications that exist. From an embedded standpoint, you could imagine information being delivered via an internal portal (e.g., SharePoint) or within another vendor’s application (e.g., Sage CRM). For SAP Crystal Reports, and other reporting tools, this has been a cornerstone for engaging partners and proliferating BI content.

Operational Reports

When you think of reporting, you would typically envision something like operational reports. These are reports that contain specific details about an entity and are directly responsible for supporting business processes. For example, if you were a support representative and were helping a customer on the phone, you might want to see a list of all orders that the customer has placed over the past 12 months. An operational report, such as the one below, would be one way to display this information.

In addition, operational reports are usually embedded directly within other applications. In the above example, the reports for support representatives could be embedded directly within a CRM application. This would allow the individual on the phone with the customer to click a button or a link and quickly bring up the information that they need to reference. In this scenario, the data is either contained within a database behind the CRM application or is generated by the application. In either case, the data is then pushed into the embedded report while the application is running so that the support representative can get what they need in real time.

The figure below shows an example of an application, Sage SalesLogix, which currently embeds Crystal Reports content.

In this workflow, a user has searched or browsed a list of available reports in order to find the one that is relevant for them.

In any case, the important bit is that Sage did not need to develop a report component on their own. They were able to take something, Crystal Reports, which was already built and embed it. The benefit to their customers is that they have a well known reporting solution built in, they can create their own reports using Crystal Reports, and can more easily upgrade their reporting solution by leveraging the SAP BusinessObjects suite to deliver other types of BI content.

Leveraging Embedded Reporting as a Model for Embedded BI

The widespread embedding of Crystal Reports, and other reporting solutions, into other software begs the question of how we (as a general BI ecosystem) can leverage all of this experience of embedding reporting so that we can make it easier to embed BI as a whole. There are examples out there today where interactive BI content and analytics are being embedded; however, this is an area of growth for BI.

What examples do you know of where this is being done today? How can BI software vendors make this easier?

Coy Yonce is a Principal Technical Architect at EV Technologies and has worked in Business Intelligence for over 10 years. Before joining EV Technologies, Coy was a Crystal Reports Product Owner at SAP for many years. His main focus is leading conversations and being active in the BI community. Connect with him directly via:

Twitter – SDN – Zerply – Scribd – Slideshare – LinkedIn – Google+

Oct
18

Enterprise Reporting: How does Crystal Reports fit in and where is it going?

Crystal Reports began in 1988 under the name of Quik Reports DOS. It was created out of necessity, as the original developers needed a better tool for generating views of the data contained within their accounting application.  Through the years, the product has been integrated into many applications and development environments, but has remained a product focused on creating and distributing quality formatted reports that can be created on top of almost any data source.  With the latest mainstream version of SAP Crystal Reports 2008, this remains true.

SAP Crystal Reports Timeline

The product itself is commonly identified as a Business Intelligence tool; however, it is also referred to as a product for Enterprise Reporting, Operational Reporting, or Business Intelligence Reporting. Regardless of the classification, many market analysts consider reporting to be a key component of any Business Intelligence product suite. At SAP, it is classified under the Business Analytics suite of products.

SAP High Level Product Portfolio

Who are some of the key competitors for Crystal Reports?

  • Microsoft SQL Reporting Services
  • IBM Cognos Business Intelligence Reporting
  • Information Builders
  • Telerik Reporting
  • JasperReports
  • Pentaho Report Designer
  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Oracle Reports
  • ActiveReports
  • Stonefield Query
  • QlikTech
  • Tableau

With all of these competitors, plus many others that I have not mentioned, the struggle is to differentiate while maintaining true to the vision of creating strongly typed, interactive reports on top of any data source and allowing those reports to be distributed to users in their own environment.  We don’t want to create an analysis tool. We don’t want to create a tool for the average user to start creating reports. SAP BusinessObjects provides other tools for that purpose. We want to be the tool used to create beautiful reports on top of the amalgamation of any data sources you can throw at it.

Through the years, we have found ways to create interest around the product. We’ve been an embedded report designer in many development environments: Visual Basic, Visual Studio, Eclipse, Borland, and Rational. We’ve created features that allow for accessing newer data sources like XML and web services. We’ve provided ways to embed more engaging visualizations via the embedding of Flash objects. We’ve also provided more interactive features for the report consumer – without stepping too far into the realm of creating a pure analysis tool.

We have our fans and we have our haters. Most people like our ability to create strongly typed reports, the fact that we connect to many different types of data, and the interactive features that we provide for report consumers. Some people struggle with using an outdated report design UI and with embedding reports into their own applications via our APIs. We have a plan for addressing those concerns and delighting our already ecstatic users.

Starting with SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0, we introduced a new report design tool that is currently called SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise. Over the next few years, you will see this become the primary report design tool that customers use; however, this will take some time. Not only do we need to close gaps between the mainstream version of crystal and the new version, but we also need to get customers onto the BI 4.0 platform before they can start using the product.

While closing gaps is a definitely a priority for creating interest in the new designer, we also want to introduce new features that will delight users when they find them. Some examples are our new REST and JavaScript APIs, new visualizations capabilities, a focus on best practices in information design, enhanced viewer workflows, and an online library of report templates. I will write posts about those topics later on both Everything Xcelsius and the SAP Community Network.

For now, I’d like to share with you a quick summary of the posts you will see over the next few weeks.

Types of Reports

I plan to write a four part series that will focus on the types of reports that typically created with products like SAP Crystal Reports and how you can go about creating them. The four types of reports that will be covered are: Operational Reports, Short-Term Strategic Reports, Long-Term Strategic Reports, and Forms. Each of these has their place and purpose in a Business Intelligence deployment.

Coy Yonce is a Principal Technical Architect at EV Technologies and has worked in Business Intelligence for over 10 years. Before joining EV Technologies, Coy was a Crystal Reports Product Owner at SAP for many years. His main focus is leading conversations and being active in the BI community. Connect with him directly via:

TwitterSDNZerplyScribdSlideshareLinkedInGoogle+

Sep
20

Interested in Reporting? New SAP Crystal Reports Content Coming Soon

Welcome to the first of many posts on Everything Xcelsius that will cover Crystal Reports. The goal for this post is to introduce myself and explain the series of posts that you will be seeing over the coming months. So let’s get straight to the first of these topics.

My name is Coy Yonce and I’m one of the Product Owners who work on the Crystal Reports product. If you are not familiar with the agile approach to product development, then you may not be familiar with the role of a Product Owner. In essence, I’m a Product Manager and I help create the backlog of features that the development will be building from one release to the next. My role as  Product Owner is a bit different from the role of the other Product Owners on the Crystal Reports team. In all, there are seven of us. The other six work directly with a team of developers and guide those developers during the building of features. My role is that of an outbound Product Owner. I focus on leading conversations with customers and partners so that we have an understanding of what they want to see us include in upcoming versions of the product. As such, I am fairly active on Twitter, blog every so often, conduct surveys, co-host influence council meetings, write articles, interact on forum posts, and monitor ideas on SAP IdeaPlace. I’m sure that there are a few other things as well, but that’s most of it.

Over the next few months, you will see several posts from me. They will be organized into a series of posts on somewhat tactical topics. I have provided an brief overview of the series below. I have listed them in the order that I plan to write; however, I may get a bit sidetracked as I encounter an interesting topic or discussion.

Introduction to SAP Crystal Reports and Enterprise Reporting
This will likely be a single post and will provide an overview of Enterprise Reporting, the market, and how Crystal Reports fits in.

Types of Reports
More than likely, this will be delivered over four posts with each covering a major category of report types that are typically created using Crystal Reports.

Major Features
Again, probably a series of numerous posts with each discussing a category of features that are used together for creating reports in Crystal Reports.

Design Considerations
This series will focus on designing effective reports. Specifically, it will demonstrate how to create reports that follow information design best practices.

Connecting to Data
Crystal Reports currently has over 50 available connections available. This series will focus on not only the types of data available for creating reports, but specific considerations for building reports against some of those data sources.

Sharing Reports
Once you’ve created your reports, you need to distribute them. This series will focus on the methods available for delivering your reports.

Embedding Reports
Crystal Reports has a very large ecosystem of developers from OEM partners and ISVs. Much of what they do is embed pre-built reports into their applications or generate reports at runtime based on data from their applications. This series will focus on how to embed Crystal Reports and leverage your application data.

As you can see the topics are quite broad and will encompass a significant number of posts. As mentioned above, I will attempt to cover these topics in order; however, I may need to skip around a bit to cover a set of related topics properly. In any case, I look forward to blogging on Everything Xcelsius and would like to thank Mico and Soo for the opportunity to interact with such a diverse audience.

Thanks for reading.

Coy Yonce is a Crystal Reports Product Owner at SAP and has worked in Business Intelligence for over 10 years. His  main focus is leading conversations with customers and partners and is very active in the BI community. You may reach out to him directly via email at coy.yonce@sap.com or follow him on twitter: @coyyonce.

Jun
13

NEWS ALERT! Xcelsius 2008 Service Pack 4 (SP4) is now available to everyone!

Hi Everyone,

Last week on Twitter we saw an annoucment that Xcelsius 2008 Service Pack 4 (SP4) with support for Windows 7 and Office 2010 (32-bit) was available from the Service Marketplace. Today we were notified that SAP has officially announced its availability on the general download site (see the official announcement from Matt Lloyd).

This Service Pack is a cumulative patch, so it incorporates all the patches to-date and delivers new fixes and features. All files must be extracted and downloaded from the zip file and ran directly from your hard drive. After Service Pack 4 (SP4) is installed, the version number in the about box will change to: 5.4.0.0.

As noted by Mico on twitter last week, here are a few noted additions to start:

  • Waterfall charts
  • Combination charts can have alerts for multiple series
  • Added alerts into the spreadsheet components

The documentation will  be available shortly on the SAP Help Portal and include the following:

  • What’s Fixed in Xcelsius 2008 Service Pack 4
  • What’s New in Xcelsius 2008 Service Pack 4
  • Xcelsius 2008 Service Pack 4 Release Notes
  • Xcelsius 2008 SP4 Supported Platforms

Once the document is officially released, we will make another announcement, so be sure to keep updated by following us on:

Soo Tang Yuk is the ‘Xcelsius Gurus Network” community manager and evangelist. To find out more about her, please visit the About Us page.

May
12

Mico’s #SAPPHIRENOW / #ASUG2011 Schedule

Hi Everyone,

With less than 3 days left for the SAPPHIRENOW / ASUG2011 Conference in Orlando, FL,  I just wanted to do a quick check-in. Before I get to my schedule, I wanted to share my interview from 2 weeks ago with Liz Brenner: “Follow the Leader: Living Her Dream- the Brave Mico Yuk“, for those of who that want to find out more about me. I also want to thank Liz for such an awesome job!

Now to the matter at hand! Below is a list of events where you can find me, along with my role in CAPS (this reflects about 1/4 of my schedule, so I really hope to meet with as many of you as I can).

Monday, May 16th

  • SPEAKER: SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (formerly Xcelsius) Gurus- FAQ session | Time: 3:00 to 4:00 pm | Location: Broadcast Center 2 (ASUG booth on the show floor)
    • How to leverage SAP BusinesObjects dashboards in your organization
    • Why SAP BusinessObjects dashboard is the best tool for your organization
    • How and when to integrate it with the other tools in the SAP BusinessObjects Suite of software
    • How and when to use the most popular connectivity options
  • JUDGE/JUROR: SAP HANA InnoJam Final | Time: 6:00 to 11:00pm |  Location:  Hilton Hotel (next to convention center)

Tuesday, May 17th

  • MODERATOR: ASUG’s 1st Women’s Leadership Breakfast Panel | Time: 7:00 to 9:00 am | Location: Dux Room at the Peabody Hotel
  • SPEAKER: Xcelsius Gurus Dashboard Methodology 101- 7 Proven Steps to successfully developing your SAP BusinessObjects Dashboard (Xcelsius) with Ryan Goodman | Time: 3:00 to 4:00 pm | Location: S322- Benchmarking Sessions
    • Step 1: Scoping- Gathering Requirements
    • Step 2: Mock up Design (Excel Data Policy)
    • Step 3: Universe Creation (Data Validation)
    • Step 4: Data Connectivity (Ex: QaaWS, Live Office, Cross Domain Policy)
    • Step 5: User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
    • Step 6: Production (Dashboard Launch)
    • Step 7: Change Management (Training & Knowledge Transfer)

Wednesday, May18th

  • INTERVIEWER: Live Interview with Bridgette Chambers (CEO, America’s SAP User’ Group) | Time: 4:30 to 5:00 pm | Location: ASUG Studio

I also want to thank all the folks at SAP and ASUG that have been working with me over the last couple of weeks to make this all possible! Look forward to seeing everyone there!

Mico Yuk is a 2010 SAP Mentor and the founder of the Xcelsius Guru Network, the Everything Xcelsius blog, and co-founder of Benchmarkers Business Intelligence. To learn more about her, please visit our About Us 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

Feb
15

Will you be at our Xcelsius Training? (April 19-20, 2011)

Hey Folks,

We’re doing it again in April!  I’d like to formally announce open registration for our highly successful Xcelsius Advanced Developer Workshop (aka Training) that will take place in Miami, FL on April 19-20, 2011. Conducted by Mike Alexander (author, Crystal Xcelsius for Dummies) and myself, this 2-day event is jammed packed with content and always sold out within a few weeks of announcing.

Last year (see pics below) the training sold out (we even had a waiting list, see how packed it was by viewing our album here!), so we encourage everyone to Register before March 31st , to secure your seat and receive the early bird special SAVINGS OF $200.

On the 1st day, the training will cover Basic Data Connectivity Techniques, including, Advanced Dashboarding Techniques. On the 2nd day, we will cover Advanced Data Connectivity Techniques and much more! We will be also be covering SAP Crystal Dashboard Design. To view the entire agenda go to http://xcelsiustraining.com.

Follow us on Twitter or FaceBook for special announcements, as we will be giving away a free seat again this year. Don’t forget the early bird special ends on March 31st, so register today and save $200.

We look forward to seeing everyone there!!  Email us at gurus at everythingxcelsius.com with any questions.

Mico Yuk is a 2010 SAP Mentor and the founder of the Xcelsius Guru Network, the Everything Xcelsius blog, and co-founder of Benchmarkers Business Intelligence. To learn more about her, please visit our About Us page.