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Things That Sound Alike Are Not Always the Same

I was about to start my second presentation of the day at a joint ASUG/BusinessObjects User Group meeting this week, when one of the attendees beckoned me over. She told me that I sounded just like the actor Anthony Hopkins when I spoke. I explained that we both had similar English accents and styles, but that is where the similarity ended because we certainly do not look or behave alike (I think!).

The presentation was on the BusinessObjects Mobile BI Landscape and discussed and demonstrated the variety of offerings available. Not only does SAP have a bunch of different solutions, but there are many third party solutions that integrate nicely with BusinessObjects. The challenge I always run into when explaining the SAP offerings is that they are really quite different and there is no real synergy between them. When I show SAP BO Dashboards (Xcelsius) with generated HTML5 components deployed through the BusinessObjects Mobile BI application and then talk about Visual Design Studio which generates HTML5 dashboards, they certainly sound alike, but that is where the similarity ends.

These are two entirely different products and have as much in common as Anthony Hopkins and I.

SAP BO Dashboards (Xcelsius) is a mature and wildly popular BI Dashboard and application development tool that is used by BI developers worldwide to create visually compelling, BI solutions. Visual Design Studio is a newcomer to the BI scene that allows Web Programmers to develop HTML5 based BI solutions. It has a library of D3 based HTML5 components and uses a Java-like proprietary scripting language to create logic in the dashboards. There are very few production deployments of Visual Design Studio solutions and new release updates coming out at a very fast pace.

The idea that Visual Design Studio could replace SAP BO Dashboards (Xcelsius) makes absolutely no sense at this juncture in time. In the last six months, I have seen tens of SAP BusinessObjects customers start new dashboard initiatives for the first time and their tool of choice 100% of the time is SAP BO Dashboards (Xcelsius). I know tens more planning to start dashboard initiatives in the next 6 months and 100% of those will be using Xcelsius too.

Now when it comes to Mobile BI applications, the trend I see is that the majority of organizations want to create custom applications and are programming in HTML5 and JQuery. If they want to use a tool where they can produce a dazzling mobile BI application quickly, solutions like Roambi are often used. However, the landscape is about to change because what BI developers are looking for is a tool that is as versatile, powerful and easy-to-use (no programming required) as Xcelsius that natively produces HTML5 BI dashboards and can take advantage of the full HTML5 ecosystem, without being locked in to an expensive BI platform.

I am excited to say that such tools will be appearing on the BI scene in the coming months and will be featured at this year’s IBIS 2014 in June.

In the meantime, Xcelsius Dashboards rule and remain the first choice for BI dashboard applications -well at least the guy who sounds like Anthony Hopkins thinks so!

About Paul

Paul Grill started his career in Information Technology in the U.K. in 1978, as an Executive Data Processing Trainee for Honeywell. More than thirty years later, he still has a voracious appetite for learning as Information Technology continues to advance at an ever accelerating pace. He was first introduced to the world of Business Intelligence in 1991, in France, when he saw a demonstration of an early version of BusinessObjects on Windows 2.1. He returned to the U.S. to rave about this phenomenal product, but it was many years before BusinessObjects made it into the mainstream. Paul founded InfoSol in 1997, and made Business Intelligence one of the key solutions offered by the company. Today, InfoSol is a leading SAP BusinessObjects solutions partner, known for its expert consulting, education and innovative add-on solutions. Paul is well known within the SAP BusinessObjects community for his extensive knowledge of Business Intelligence, and he has lectured and written many articles on the subject. Paul enjoys writing, running and coaching kids soccer, and is passionate about Ancient Egyptology.

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