This year, the Xcelsius community has experienced rapid growth in the number of developers and vendors who create add-on solutions for Xcelsius. One of the most important innovations that will ultimately hold Xcelsius in place as a leading enterprise dashboard tool is Antivia XWIS (Xcelsius Web Intelligence Integration Suite). With thought leadership both in the BusinessObjects Enterprise and Xcelsius technologies, Antivia took a step back to recognize some of the fundamental problems that developers face with the existing enterprise integration, and then designed a solution that provides functionality that customers have always asked for.
While Live Office and Query as a Web Service (QaaWS) both provide data connectivity to Xcelsius using BusinessObjects Enterprise, customers have long grappled with performance, navigation/drill down, and true ad-hoc capabilities.
Not only does XWIS streamline connectivity to BOE, but it also integrates new Xcelsius controls for presenting and navigating data in a way that has never been possible with Xcelsius. The result is true point and click integration between BusinessObjects Enterprise and Xcelsius without fancy SQL statements or crazy Xcelsius black magic:
- Re-use existing reports: When implementing Live Office enabled dashboards, customers regularly write reports that are formatted and optimized specifically for Xcelsius. Because XWIS manages the connectivity and data delivery to Xcelsius, you no longer need to create “Xcelsius friendly” reports. This allows traditional WebI report designers to speed up the development process previously hampered by un-necessary focus on report formatting and data volume that could create performance implications to Xcelsius.
- Performance: Many Xcelsius dashboards benefit from scheduled WebI reports as a data source for Xcelsius dashboards. To this day, I still believe this to be a perfect marriage of technology, because a scheduled report serves as a virtual data repository that offloads the heavy processing so dashboard users can access data quickly. XWIS builds upon this concept while providing a significant performance boost because XWIS communicates directly with BOE, bypassing the Live Office/QaaWS services.
- Data Volume: A common design consideration for Xcelsius is data volume. Developers are inclined to load large volumes of data into a SWF which can impact performance. XWIS takes full advantage of the Xcelsius SDK by loading data directly from the XWIS platform into XWIS components, by-passing Excel data volume limitation. This communication coupled with Antivia’s innovative Xcelsius add-on components create an interface for end users to analyze large data sets better than ever, while still benefiting from standard Xcelsius visualization.
If you are using WebI in your organization, Antivia’ XWIS is a solution that you should consider before tackling dashboard development with Xcelsius. I have been using XWIS since version 1.0 so if you have any questions about my experiences, I am more than happy to share them. Next week, I will review the XWIS add-on component suite for Xcelsius that enables: Ad hoc analysis, Drill Down and hierarchies, and Collaboration.