SAP Business Objects Dashboards - XCelsius
Crystal Xcelsius is the a software for visual analytics and business intelligence dashboards. It has been renamed to SAP Dashboard Design (formerly Crystal XCelsius Engage) and SAP Presentation Design (formerly known as Crystal Xcelsius Present).
Crystal Xcelsius provides interactive visual analytics to present data through PowerPoint, PDF, Outlook, and the web.
Crystal Xcelsius allows business users to:
- Turn ordinary Excel spreadsheets into interactive visual analytics, presentations, charts, and graphs
- Present data and complex calculations in a more insightful way
- Sophisticated, visual what-if analyses
Typical Business Uses of XCelsius applications
Some of the most common business uses of XCelsius:
- Executive dashboards and balanced score-cards
- Data visualization for best practice and quality initiatives - Six Sigma, ITIL, ISO,TQM
- Web-based IT governance dashboards
- Real-time management consoles
- What-if scenarios
- Dynamic charts and graphs
- Business reporting presentations
- Business and investment calculators
- Real time data analysis for Sarbanes Compliance (SOX)
- Budgeting and planning models
- GUI front-end for many types of software applications
- SLA/Helpdesk monitoring
- Interactive visual modeling - sliders, gauges, filters, numerical input tools and other visual components allow users to quickly and easily evaluate multiple what-if scenarios
- Ease of use - Xcelsius' intuitive interface, including pre-built components, skins, maps, charts, straightforward export features - make it easy for non-technical users to develop.
- Platform independence - custom graphics and interactivity allow users to develop and present financial models and business summaries for the Web, intranets, and portals. Crystal Xcelsius interactive visual can run on any PC, Mac, handheld or any other device supports Flash technology.
- Ease of development - no Flash, ActionScript or other programming knowledge is required. Ease of Excel at design-time and an available set of pre-built dashboard templates and skins.
- Low development cost and Rapid deployment
- XML/Web-services connectivity
- Bi-directional data flow (survey)
- Off-line analysis
Weaknesses of XCelsius
While Crystal XCelsius is an interesting tool, it also has its weaknesses:
- The area of dashboard scheduling and automated refresh of data. Custom workarounds are usually needed to create a fully automated, self-refreshing dashboard.
- While the model development is quick and easy, the support of the whole BI solution based on XCelsius might require significant administration efforts.
- It is 100% based on Microsoft Excel which brings up most of the issues naturally inherited from Excel.
- Although SAP BusinessObjects might claim so, this application in practice is not integrated with the whole SAP BI platform. It can't operate directly on BO Universes or BW Cubes. The refresh process includes the use of LiveOffice and the excel spreadsheet is the main data store for the dashboard.
- Limited possibility to drill down into details of the data. However, this is the nature of high-level dashboard applications.
- Performance and stability problems where big number of underlying data.