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.
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
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