SAP Dashboards (Xcelsius) on iPad in HTML5, product enhancement or lollipop?
Yesterday, Steve Lucas (General Manager Business Analytics and Technology at SAP) published a blog post with the title “Putting Mobile First and the New Business Intelligence Priorities”.
His blog post contains a numerous of topics on mobile SAP BusinessObjects BI solutions including an overview slide of the strategy for 2012 which is displayed below.
Though, there is one specific message that stands out. Steve says that SAP Dashboards (Xcelsius) will be HTML5 enabled in 2012.
“The most important message is that we aren’t going to leave customers in a lurch and plan to deliver an HTML 5 version in 2012. This may not make life perfect, but it’ll provide a way to get the incredibly valuable content and assets available in SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards files, over to all mobile devices. More specific timeframes will be communicated in Q1 2012. So for all of our loyal dashboard customers out there - stay tuned and rest assured that we will deliver an insanely great experience for mobile dashboards.”
This means that in 2012, this year, SAP Dashboards will be available to all mobile devices, including iPhone and iPad.
Impact on functionality?
Well SAP, it’s about time.. Hopefully this brings a solid solution for running SAP Dashboards (Xcelsius) on mobile devices since customers have invested heavily in dashboards. I’m still convinced that there is a large market for (interactive) guided analysis dashboards with pixel perfect UX design. Not to be confused with the SAP BO Explorer, for more ad-hoc analysis.
Let’s wait and see what SAP will bring this year and if functionality is limited for HTML5 format. If you scan the online BI community you see that many thought leaders are afraid that Xcelsius HTML5 functionality will be limited.
Some random questions:
- What if strong features like, for example, dynamic visability won’t be supported?
- Or if there is a limit to the maximum number of objects?
- How will it perform?
- Is there a limited amount of visualizations available for HTML5?
- Will you need a separate HTML5 development file?
There rise many questions with this announcement where we would like to see some clear answers. Perhaps it’s only good news and all answers will be positive, we’ll just have to wait and find out.
How does Xcelsius / SAP Dashboards fit into the roadmap?
The front rows of the mobile product roadmap fashion show are booked for SAP BusinessObjects Mobile, SAP BusinessObjects Explorer and the Sybase Unwired Platform where you can build your own apps. It almost feels like Xcelsius is locked up in a toilet and receives a HTML5 lollipop to prevent it from starting to cry. This doesn’t feel good in some way. I’d also expect announcements on enhanced product features of Xcelsius itself. And if I talk about product enhancements, I’m not thinking about only technical stuff like supporting SAP BW hierarchies. And adding a waterfall chart type isn’t what we are expecting either. So yes, Feature Pack 3 will bring better support, but mainly on the technical axis. We also expect product enhancements on the design and user experience axis.
Make it easier and less time consuming to use features like Dynamic Visibility, which now often requires a large and complex MS Excel magic show. Make it also possible to dynamically switch between visualizations, like in Webi, without having to set al properties again so that perhaps users can select from a (by the developer) predefined set of chart types. Make it possible to add notes and comments to a certain snapshot of your data and share it with colleagues. I could continue for over an hour so there still is a lot of potential in this product.
In short, please give us a more flexible and efficient development environment where we can build dashboards in less time, without having to give up the strong visualization options so that we can continue to deliver an excellent end-user experience, because that still is where Xcelsius is the King of the SAP world, instead of a boy locked in the toilet with a lollipop. The visual glory of Xcelsius cannot be compared to the new announced SAP BusinessObjects Explorer feature called Exploration Views. Sure, it looks great but it isn’t a guided analysis tool. There will always be a demand for pixel perfect intuitive guided analysis dashboards, mobile or not, that shouldn’t matter.
Well, I think this is enough for now. I’m very curious to your opinion on the subject. Will Xcelsius disappear in the upcoming years and be replaced by SAP BO Explorer Exploration Views? Or will there be more product enhancements for Xcelsius on it’s way? I hope the latter, please let me know what you think..
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