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.
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
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?