There is an old saying that owning paint and brushes does not make you a painter. This is the same case for building dashboards. I often see resumes of individuals who credit themselves as experts in Xcelsius and unfortunately customers mistake technology expertise for proficiency in dashboard design; which is two different things. Xcelsius is a free-form development environment requiring skills above and beyond technical aptitude to create meaningful content. A dashboard designer who uses Xcelsius should understand basic business performance management concepts and then know how to visually organize this information for an end user to consume. Dashboard development borrows concepts from multiple facets of design including but not limited to software architecture, user interface, and data visualization. An individual who arranges Xcelsius components on a canvas without strong grasp of these concepts is the equivalent of a painter trying to create a piece while blindfolded. Unfortunately there are customers who have paid a significant amount of money for Xcelsius dashboards created by individuals who recently added Xcelsius to their resume.
There is certainly a learning curve for Xcelsius just like any software application but new users require education in design techniques much more than technology. I have been designing dashboard applications for years and I still learn from experts like Stephen Few and others who write and share experiences, and from customers who share their performance management standards through various projects. The good news for any new Xcelsius developers who want to refine their design approach is there is a ton of reading available on web sites and blogs like Dashboard Insight. For customers who are searching for dashboard developers, you should definitely educate yourselves on these same web sites so you can ask the right questions and ensure that the person building content for your business users and executives is not the equivalent to a blind painter.
I work with many excellent independent designers or companies, who specialize in dashboard design, so if you are in the category, feel free to comment and provide a link to your organization. If you have any questions about any of the companies who provide their information below, feel free to contact me directly.