Posts Tagged ‘Partners’

Antivia Adds Xcelsius on the iPad

January 16th, 2012 4 comments

Are you ready to move your Xcelsius (SAP Dashboards) to the iPad yet?

There’s nothing stopping you!

No, not even the fact that iOS doesn’t support flash.

Antivia’s new XWIS Anywhere bring a new product to their already popular suite of BusinessObjects extensions.

Antivia XWIS Anywhere

Antivia’s XWIS Anywhere is going to overcome a technology hurdle that SAP has been unable or unwilling to clear — Xcelsius (aka SAP Dashboards) on the iPad.

Antivia provided an in depth 55 minute presentation about Antivia XWIS Anywhere.  They are committed to:

  • Mobilizing Any Xcelsius Dashboard
  • Providing a Native iPad Experience
  • Full Catalog and Management inside SAP BusinessObjects
  • Additional iPad Security (for locally cached content)
  • Quick Deployment (hours instead of days or weeks)
  • Allow Offline Slideshows  (Screenshots of Xcelsius dashboards)
  • Access to WebIntelligence and Crystal Reports


It is important to note that because XWIS Anywhere is leveraging the SAP BusinessObjects repository, if the dashboard does not exist in the repository then it will not be available for the iPad.  A perfect example of this is the Xcelsius BICS connectivity for Netweaver.  These dashboards must be published to SAP BW and run from within the context of the Netweaver application server.  However, this is only a short term limitation.  SAP does plan to support BICS  connectivity for Dashboards saved into the SAP BusinessObjects repository with the next release, SAP BusinessObjects v4.0 SP3.

One glaring feature that seemed to be missing over the similar solution from Exxova is the zoom in/zoom out capability.  With Exxova, it works very much like the native iPad browser.  Users can use two fingers to zoom in and zoom out of their Dashboards.  This is great when viewing dashboards which might be hard to read – or helpful for executives who have difficulty with small print.

UPDATE:  XWIS Anywhere does support pinch and zoom (using native iPad gestures)

Here is a sample dashboard view:

Hospice Dashboard - Standard View

By placing two fingers on the screen and pulling them apart, Exxova allows you to zoom into a specific area of the dashboard and at the same time a small thumbnail (indicated by the red arrow) shows you a small red box indicating where you are on within the context of the dashboard:

Same Hospice Dashboard - Zoomed In

Future of SAP Dashboards

Donald MacCormick indicated during the webinar that Xcelsius/SAP Dashboards will be move to HTML5 in 2012.  That means he expects some subset of functionality available by the end of 2012.  What does that mean for you?   It means you can invest in Antivia today, move your dashboards to the iPad today, and when SAP eventually provides full Xcelsius HTML5 functionality (that could be some time), you can move ahead at your own convenience.

You will be prepared for change before it happens.  Because the XWIS Anywhere application is a native iPad application with a “screen emulation” technology in the middle, when HTML5 becomes available, Antivia will simply replace the existing “screen emulation” technology with the HTML5 SAP Dashboards output.

Keep your users happy.  Make dashboards available on the iPad today.

You won’t regret it…

«Good BI»


Cool Dashboards from ProMorphics

May 31st, 2010 No comments

Although I’ve worked in a number of different industry verticals, I’m currently focused on the Utilities vertical.  I’m always on the look out for great dashboards and I found some!  I want dashboards that combine the best features of Xcelsius together with amazing usability and depth of function.  My latest discovery is from ProMorphicsProMorphics is a services organization and they have been a member of the SAP Ecosystem for a number of years.   I recently got a chance to view the results of some of their compelling dashboards  and the results speak for themselves.

When I spoke with ProMorphics they talked about their commitment to listen to the customer and to go the extra mile.  They’ve been extremely successful at using Xcelsius as a prototyping/rapid development tool so that they can get feedback and turn the results around extremely quickly.

Their sample dashboards focus on these three areas:

  • Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S)
  • Field Operations
  • Sales and Financial Performance (Peek Performance)

If you work in a utility related industry, you may want to engage ProMorphics and leverage their expertise.  It’s not surprising that 70% of their business comes from repeat customers.

ProMorphics Operations Dashboard with Custom Xcelsius Controls

Interactive Demos

Although ProMorphics does not allow you to download their .xlf files, you can view the dashboards via the following website:

Here is a 10 minute video walk-through of their Peak Performance dashboard with Kasia Szewczyk


It’s always good to see partners who exploit all the features within a solution.  In the screenshot above, you can see how they have built Google Map integration as well as a custom calendar control.  These are examples of custom Xcelsius controls written in Flex.  I saw example after example of custom controls, developed to make sure they gave the customer exactly what they wanted.  If you engage ProMorphics in a project, they will also make these custom Xcelsius controls available to you.  Some partners like Centigon Solutions do allow you to buy their Xcelsius controls separately but ProMorphics currently does not.

«Good BI»

Categories: Dashboards, Partners Tags: , ,

RapidDecision Provides Rapid JD Edwards Expertise

February 11th, 2010 No comments

If you are using JD Edwards, there is only ONE NAME to know in Business Intelligence. That name is RapidDecision.

RapidDecision does an amazing job helping organizations unlock the information in their JD Edwards systems.  RapidDecision has done it over and over again.  They are true experts, helping organizations bring their delivery dates forward instead of pushing them back.  They have helped over 200 customers bring a BI Solutions to market.

So what’s their secret?

The Secret to RapidDecision

The secret is really no secret at all.  They know exactly what it takes to bring organizations a successful BI solutions; that’s why they’ve managed to build a unique and comprehensive solution over many years.  Their solution is make up of three key components:

  • Data Model
  • Application Mappings
  • BI Content

RapidDecision Workflow

In my case, I’ve been lucky enough to work with RapidDecision first hand.  They are professional and have great products and services.  Although SAP BusinessObjects has prepackaged datamarts, similar to the solution from JD Edwards, I rarely sold them. I always recommended RapidDecision.  Their datamarts are comprehensive and complete.  At last count there were 18 datamarts covering everything from Accounts Receivable & Asset-LifeCycle Management to Work Order… and because the datamarts use a database best practice called conformed dimensions, the datamarts work together instead of in silos!

RapidDecision has enhanced their datamarts regularly over many years to meet changing needs and after the years of success they have enjoyed, I can say that leveraging their data model against JD Edwards, Lawson or PeopleSoft is a best practice.

Time to Value

So how long before you start seeing value?  As soon as the your datamart is loaded, RapidDecision provides a suite of pre-built subject-specific reports and queries as a starting point.  Just as they have perfected their data mart over time, they are now delivering additional analytic applications based on customer demand.  Why try and build your own data warehouse when RapidDecision has already done the work for you?  I remember my college CS professor saying:

If you can buy an application that meets your needs, it’s always cheaper than building it yourself.

If you have a look at RapidDecision, you will find that they can and will meet your BI reporting needs.

… and if you aren’t using SAP BusinessObjects BI tools?  No problem.  They support a number of BI tools on the market today.

For More Information

For more information about RapidDecision (aka Andrews Consulting), I recommend their website.  There you can see customer testimonials from customers like Johnson Diversey.

There are also some excellent whitepapers here:

For customers using JD Edwards, Lawson and PeopleSoft, RapidDecision is one partner you can put your trust in.

«Good BI»

APOS: Providing the Missing Piece

June 17th, 2008 No comments

Puzzle PieceWhen I was growing up I always enjoyed putting puzzles together. I loved the challenge of putting all those pieces together so that I could see the whole picture. Sometimes I would borrow a puzzle from a friend and as I was close to finishing the puzzle, I would discover 1 or 2 puzzle pieces were missing. The puzzle was incomplete.

From a BI perspective, APOS has been a long partner of BusinessObjects. My first opportunity to work with APOS came while I was working at Crystal Decisions. Our next generation Crystal Enterprise product was new and although it provided a great framework for the future, there were a few pieces missing from our complete BI picture. Thankfully, APOS developed a number of powerful solutions to fill those gaps so that our customers didn’t have to wait until tomorrow’s release for the functionality they needed today.

Do you feel you are missing a piece from BusinessObjects XI 3.0?APOS Logo

Business Objects has many great partners, but probably non-better than APOS. In January of this year, APOS was awarded the Business Objects Technology Partner of the Year Award for 2007. They have used the BusinessObjects SDK more extensively than any other BusinessObjects partner. They don’t just one solution. Their tools provide dozens of potential missing pieces that might fit your BI puzzle.

My Favorite APOS Tools

So what’s so great about APOS? Well, here are my top 3 list favorite solutions:

  1. InfoScheduler – mass scheduling – dead simple. Scheduling has always been one of those areas were BusinessObjects added a few new features with ever release. Unfortunately however it’s not an area that tends to get a lot of attention. It was only in XI 3.0 that we introduced native bursting within the platform. InfoScheduler provides an Excel-based report scheduling tool that allows mass scheduling of reports from an Excel spreadsheet. How easy is that? Can you say zero training? Users can copy paste, import, export data into Excel to provide scheduling for 10, 100 or 1,000s of reports.
  2. Object Manager – Although the CMC is a comprehensive administration console, administrators of large reporting environment often struggle with managing this volume of information. In XI 3.0, BusinessObjects introduced a number of new enhancements which made working with multiple objects much easier; however Object Manager takes it to the next level. You can manage users, groups, reports, security and even the report life cycle process. Object Manager provides power, ease-of-use and flexibility.
  3. KPI – One of the most common requests I hear from customers is the ability to do reporting off their CMS. BusinessObjects XI provides an auditing database to allow customers to report off of user activity, but how do administrators report off the objects within the CMS? With KPI, APOS allows you to extract all the XML metadata that is stored within the CMS to an external relational database. Now you can create reports that allow you to:
  • Analyze Business View and Universe configuration information
  • Examine Crystal and Desktop Intelligence report structure
  • See How many reports use the database field profit
  • Show CMS Statistics
  • Discover how many reports are scheduled to run tomorrow.

You can even set an automatic schedule to refresh the external metadata database on a regular basis. It’s your own mini-datamart for reporting off your BI system. You have to see it to believe it.

Southwest is using all three of these tools and several more!

Can’t Find Your Missing Piece?

If you’ve look through the APOS website and you can’t find the type of functionality that you feel is missing from BusinessObjects, call APOS anyway. Necessity is the mother of invention. Each of the solutions that APOS provides today was developed from the real-world needs of customers just like you. APOS would love to talk to you about extending BusinessObjects in a way that they may not have thought of.

Puzzle Complete

As a kid I was rarely able to find the missing puzzle piece, but in the area of extending BusinessObjects, APOS continues to deliver. Their depth of experience means they understand how BusinessObjects works today and how to make it work better for you tomorrow.

Teleran – Your Database Nanny!

March 19th, 2008 No comments

Teleran LogoOkay – so the auditing and query management that comes with SAP BusinessObjects doesn’t do it for you? Need more umph? Do you want more real-time information about your BusinessObjects system? Are you experiencing query and database performance problems? Need to identify long running queries and kill them?

Every once and a while you hear about a partner technology that makes you say, Wow! And that is what I said when I saw a demonstration of the solution from Teleran.

These guys are amazing and have a great solution for customers that are running Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle or DB2 (no Teradata yet). They have created specialized listeners in their iSight tool that watches the traffic and logs the activity in real-time. They even have a universe and reports already built using SAP BusinessObjects so that you can get up and going quickly. If you find a particular query is taking to long, perhaps you need to tune the universe and tweek the database. Teleran can show you the problem.

Teleran Manages Query Performance

If you are having problems with user generating bad SQL, out-of-compliance queries, or if you simply want to add additional governs around the system they also have a tool called iGuard. iGuard is integrated directly into tools like WebIntelligence, so instead of a user getting a message like, “Query Error ODBC – Unable to Connect”, then can get a message like, “The product server is currently down for maintenance. Please try again in 25 minutes”. Now THAT is user friendliness.

Because Teleran understands how SAP BusinessObjects works, even if you are using a single user id such as “report_user” at the database level, Teleran can read the user, universe and connection, etc. information and let you easily audit who is doing what at the database level. Don’t worry about turning on database logging and slowing down your production database. You can offload the work to Teleran.

The Greatest Part of All

The greatest part of Teleran is not that it’s a great solution for SAP BusinessObjects managers and administrators, it’s great for the entire EDW. Why? Because Teleran runs between the database and the query tool and is NOT SAP BusinessObjects dependent. You see, it can monitor ALL queries – not just queries from BusinessObjects. This means that if you have users access the database via TOAD, you can turn it off. You can turn off access to any unauthorized reporting/SQL generating tool.

To me, this seems like a must have solution for organizations who are struggling to get a handle on their data warehouse and need to make sure they are delivering a robust and high performing environment.

Check it out! You’ll be glad you did.