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Oh the Places You will go … with Xcelsius

From the cobblestone streets of The Netherlands, to the beaches of Australia, to the exotic sands of Oman, Xcelsius knows no borders, has no hidden political agenda, but offers innovative business solutions for a diverse range of customers around the world.  Little did I know when I started using Xcelsius 5 years ago that I would have the opportunity to travel around the world providing exciting dashboard solutions in such interesting locations.

My most recent opportunity was spending a month in the exciting country of Oman, which, despite the recent unrest in the Middle East, proved to be a welcoming, progressive and abundantly interesting country.  Apart from the opportunity to explore this part of the world, it also proved to be an exciting work project, as the dashboards I developed for my customer there included several innovative solutions.

Upon arrival, I found that the customer had 52 KPIs that were being tracked weekly & monthly in over 60 different Excel spreadsheets, maintained by dozens of people in various locations.  The solution we put together for the customer allowed them to begin maintaining all the KPIs in a database (as it should be), by using InfoBurst to write back values to a database table.  Using Xcelsius as a data entry tool, we created two different dashboards for entering metric values which, with the push of a button, ran update queries back to our database table, which immediately refreshed and presented the data in the main dashboard for the General Managers to view.  This solution provided a new precedence for accountability and consistency across the board.

There were two additional innovations to this solution which I am excited about.  Both of these involved automatically emailing a mini dashboard as an Event based Alert.  The first mini dashboard was emailed to the project team if a user modified one of the KPI targets.  Key users were allowed to change a target, but the team wanted to be aware when this happened.  Using InfoBurst, we created a query based event that checked every 30 minutes for a condition to be true (a target change).  Whenever that condition is true, InfoBurst initiates a burst of a mini dashboard (.swf file) to the project team, with the following information:

·         Which KPI target was changed

·         What is the new KPI target value

·         Who changed the target

·         What time did this change occur

The second innovative Alert notification mini dashboard involved the time sensitive nature of getting all the KPIs entered by given dates.  Schedules were created in InfoBurst to query for any KPI’s that had not been entered by noon on the first day of the week.  This initiated an email Alert burst of a mini dashboard to the appropriate person responsible for updating the missing KPIs.  A second schedule ran 4 hrs later and emailed the Alert mini dashboard to BOTH the responsible party AND their manager!  This process ensured accountability for getting these Key Performance Indicators entered in a timely fashion for all the General Managers to be able to review in their meetings the following days.

I foresee exciting possibilities that this solution opens up for other customers as well.  Imagine being able to automatically email a dashboard to the VP of Finance when Sales Revenue  falls below a certain level, or ….  Think of the possibilities!

It’s not just that Xcelsius is going places globally but wherever it goes, it is creating new Business Intelligence applications that are slowly but surely changing the world.  

About Roxanne

Roxanne Pittman is a Senior Business Intelligence Technical Consultant for InfoSol, providing consulting and training for BusinessObjects. She is a certified Business Objects Instructor for Business Objects, specializing in Web Intelligence, Desktop Intelligence, Dashboard Manager, Universe Design, Xcelsius Dashboards, Xcelsius Data Connectivity, and Knowledge Accelerator Customization. Roxanne has specialized in Xcelsius connected models, with extensive experience in using XML, Web Services, Live Office and InfoBurst-XDS and XDM to create dynamic dashboards. In addition to being a multi-certified instructor, Roxanne has experience working with Fortune 500 companies as a consultant in the deployment of business intelligence solutions.

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One comment

  1. Using xcelsius as input is normal, but I like the way you deal with alert and dashboard distribution. It’s good.