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Xcelsius for the iPad – Today!

If you’re like the other thousands of SAP BusinessObjects customers, you would love to move your Xcelsius dashboards to the iPad.  Right?

The problem is flash.  Steve Jobs hates flash and steadfastly refuses to support flash on the iPad.  Even on tablet devices that do support flash such as the Samsung Galaxy, some people complain that flash applications are too sluggish.

So What’s the Solution?

I discovered a very special app on iTunes called iSwifter .  iSwifter allows flash to run on the iPad… so to speak.  Actually flash does not run on the device at all but it is streamed to the tablet.  I have visions of thousands of computers with Internet Explorer sessions running.

Within a few minutes and $4.99 later, I was up and running.  I was able to connect to an instance of SAP BusinessObjects that was accessible over the Internet.  There are however multiple problems with this app.  I found that iSwifter:

  • Only connects to publicly available websites.  The URL you are connecting to must be a publicly accessible site
  • Requires a WiFi connection
  • Isn’t completely secure.  Your connection with the iSwifter server doesn’t appear to be secure.

Apparently there is a large demand for this type of technology because the company recently reported revenue to exceed $10M and they have moved from a one-time fee to a monthly subscription service.

Enter Exxova

Exxova is a subsidiary of Bartronics India Ltd.  Their US Headquarters is located in Alpharetta, GA and Mark Hillam, who used to work at BusinessObjects, is the president of their BI practice.  I saw Mark at Sapphire after his team made quite a splash showing Xcelsius dashboards on the iPad using their app MyBI.  More recently Mark invited me to their offices to spend more time with the solution and I was very impressed.  Although it is still relatively early days for this solution, it holds a lot of promise.
Today with Exxova,  you can deploy ALL your existing BI content to the iPad without any modifications.

For more videos click go here:  http://www.youtube.com/user/ExxovaWorldwideCorp

I recommend that you download it and play around with it.  It’s free.

There are several really nice features.   I found that MyBI:

  • Can be implemented within your corporate firewall.
  • Does NOT requires a WiFi connection (although 3G is pretty slow).
  • Provides special gestures to simulate right-click, scroll, pan, zoom in and out.

Here are some screenshots from MyBI

Exxova Help Screen

Exxova Home Screen

Xcelsius Dashboard

WebIntelligence on the iPad

What Approach Will Your Company Take?

We seem to be at one of those paradigm shifts where organizations need to make a decision.  There is no doubt that companies are adopting the iPad device in ever growing numbers.  The $million$ dollar question is:

Do we create custom interfaces for the iPad or simply make our existing content available there?

Are you prepared to invest heavily in the iPad and build your own apps or purchase additional apps that require additional development and redesign efforts  or are you going to wait and see how the tablet market plays out.  The iPad is the predominate player today, but who’s to say that this dominance will remain?  And besides, the iOS platform only supports Apple devices.  Oh what I would give for a crystal ball.

The choice is yours, but today, I see MyBI from Exxova as a good alternative to redevelopment.  (and just in case you are curious — no, I did not get paid to write this article nor have I ever received any compensation from Exxova, but I’ve seen the solution, played with it and think that it’s worth considering.)

I am curious to hear from you.  What do you think?  Is a custom iPad interface worth the redevelopment?

«Good BI»

  1. September 21st, 2011 at 09:47 | #1

    It’s an interesting idea, but it solves the “how to bring Xcelsius to the iPad” problem rather than the “how to bring business intelligence to the iPad” problem. So regardless of its usefulness (and it does sound cool), it seems like a temporary solution. Plus, I work with a lot of organizations that are reluctant to try 3rd party solutions like RoamBI, even though there are 3rd party products with good reputations and dedicated followings.

    SAP has said publicly that they are looking at bringing Xcelsius (now called Dashboards in BI 4.0) to the iPad, but are otherwise tight-lipped about what they are doing. My hunch is that the Xcelsius development team laughed and told senior execs that it would be easier to build a new dashboard product from scratch than retool Xcelsius to generate iOS-capable output. SAP’s current messaging is “look how pretty Web Intelligence and Explorer look on the iPad”. And it _is_ pretty, but it _isn’t_ Xcelsius… Explorer on the iPad is interesting because the web version is 100% Adobe Flash, even the login screen. So clearly it’s possible to provide a Flash-like interface on iOS w/o Flash. Even Microsoft seems to be walking away from plug-ins like Adobe Flash and even their own Silverlight for the upcoming Windows 8/Internet Explorer 10 on mobile devices. And tablet OS’s that currently support Adobe Flash still aren’t supporting it _well_.

    My prediction is that in 2012 we’ll see an all-new dashboard application from SAP, currently being developed with Apple-like secrecy, that fully supports tablets. It will be dramatically pulled out of a magician’s hat at next spring’s SAPPHIRE conference and available later in the year. It will be built with their recently acquired Sybase mobile technology so it’s available for multiple tablet OS’s simultaneously. But I could be wrong…

  2. September 21st, 2011 at 20:18 | #2

    I still feel like this space is changing SO QUICKLY that it seems crazy to throw all your eggs in the iOS/iPhone/iPad basket. On my flight back from the SAP Utilities conference in San Antonio. As we boarded I asked the young lady ahead of me about her Sprint HTC device. Next thing I know the two people ahead of her were telling me how much they love the device. They were ALL ex-iPhone users and are saying it’s better than iPhone. Wow. Didn’t expect to hear that. That same lady was a student at U of Florida and she says that in a campus survey, Android beat the iPhone as best device.

    How can a company justify spending money moving content to iPhone with so much uncertainty? (especially if it requires redevelopment a la RoamBI, or does provide full 100% support for all WebI docs a la MoBI).

  3. Duong Ngo Hoang Nguyen
    October 13th, 2011 at 07:58 | #3

    Dear,
    I’d like to run my Xcelsius file in the Exxova app. What must I do???
    Pls help me the method!
    In the case of buying a license, how much is it???
    Nguyen

    • November 30th, 2011 at 10:11 | #4

      You need to contact Exxova. They can provide the software which enables your Xcelsius contact to be available on the iPad.

  4. April 30th, 2014 at 13:29 | #5

    Hi David,

    Really interesting and informative article about the former Exxova MyBI solution. Did you ever look at the next generation iNovar MyBI2Go solution that is “stepping into the shoes” of MyBI as was? If so, what did you think of it?

    Cheers.
    Julian.

  1. January 16th, 2012 at 09:02 | #1