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Bursting Xcelsius Dashboards

A company recently approached us with an interesting requirement concerning how to more efficiently distribute information about mobile phone usage to each of their hundreds of customers. The method they were currently using was manual and labor intensive as they were pulling information into Excel spreadsheets, creating graphs and then cutting and pasting into PowerPoint presentations that were emailed to their Account Managers who would present them to the various customers.

They had seen Xcelsius dashboards and were impressed by the dynamic visualization and felt this could make both an attractive and appealing way to present the information to their clients. However, they were faced with several challenges regarding automatically populating the dashboards initially and then automatically distributing them as standalone offline entities that could be used by both their Account Managers and clients without being connected back to the originating system.

They did not want to run separate jobs for each client to populate each dashboard. They wanted to run one job that would provide all the statistics for all customers and then split or burst that data by customer to feed each customer’s unique data into the same dashboard template. The amount of data that would be initially retrieved was large (many tens of thousands of rows) and even some of the individual customer dashboards had a fair amount of data (several thousand rows). Once the data had been burst for each customer it would need to be populated into the dashboard template, published as a shockwave file (SWF) and attached to an email that would need to be sent to the right group of people for each dashboard.

While this may seem like a tall order, the new InfoBurst solution was able to achieve all this relatively simply and quickly. InfoBurst is a scheduling, bursting and publishing solution for both Business Intelligence reports and dashboards . It has a built-in scheduler that can be either time or event based triggered. The event can be the result of a SQL statement which makes it very versatile for starting a job only when data has changed or other dependent events have occurred. InfoBurst can accept data from SQL, a Stored Procedure or a Business Intelligence query or report (Web Intelligence, Crystal, Desktop Intelligence, Microsoft Reporting Services etc.).

When handling Xcelsius dashboards, InfoBurst uses unique mechanisms for both ‘OFFLINE’ and ‘CONNECTED’ distribution requirements.

For a ‘CONNECTED’ scenario, the Cache can be accessed from the Xcelsius dashboard in a variety of ways so that only the data required for a particular component of the dashboard is retrieved when required. We provide a number of components that we collectively call ‘INTELLIGENT CACHE’. The CACHE QUERY mechanism in InfoBurst allows you to use the full power and capability of SQL to selectively retrieve, aggregate and sort the data required for your Xcelsius dashboard from the Cache. The CROSSTAB mechanism allows you to generate crosstab tables in advance or on-demand. The FLIP mechanism allows you to PIVOT an existing Crosstab, switching the X and Y axis data. These features save an enormous amount of time and effort over other methods of pulling data into an Xcelsius dashboard and it’s fast! For ultimate flexibility, it is possible to have multiple caches and to populate a cache with data from multiple data sources.

For an ‘OFFLINE’ scenario, InfoBurst is able to create and manage separate ranges within the Cache, and Burst these ranges to a common Dashboard, embedding the data inside of the SWF file and delivering the same Xcelsius dashboard with different data for each individual client.

InfoBurst also has intelligent distribution capabilities where it can read from an LDAP compliant address book, a database table or an Excel spreadsheet to select the relevant email addresses or target destinations for the dashboard or report. Since this customer required the offline dashboards to be sent via email , the information was read from a database table containing all the individual’s information and is able to determine the customer name and criteria and select just the email address for the relevant recipients.

This company is now using InfoBurst to distribute offline Xcelsius dashboards automatically , intelligently and swiftly to its customers and is saving a lot of time and money in the process.

For more information or a free demonstration and trial on InfoBurst visit www.infosol.com/infoburst

About Paul

Paul Grill, Co-Founder and CEO of Infosol Inc., is an information technology guru with more than 40 years’ experience in the IT industry. Recognized as an industry expert, Paul’s vision is to collaborate and develop long-term global relationships, resulting in the successful implementation of business intelligence solutions. Paul believes a company’s success with Business Intelligence is a combination of data and people’s insights and actions. He believes in the coexistence of technologies. With a strong portfolio of clients ranging from fortune 50 companies, start-ups, and middle market, Paul takes pride in his ability to deliver positive transformations impacting company’s productivity and profitability through the application of business intelligence. He is often heard saying that “data holds amazing nuggets that can be used to create limitless BI solutions that make a difference in people’s lives”. Throughout Paul’s career, he has been a speaker, lecturer, and writer sharing his passion for Information Technology and Business Intelligence. On a personal note, Paul is an avid runner, Tai Chi practitioner, and youth soccer coach. Paul’s curiosity for knowledge expands beyond technology with a passion for Ancient Egyptology and Gorillas.

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