At the tail end of last week there was a bit of dooms-day chatter on Twitter around Xcelsius, and this week I saw two posts from Steve Lucas on Flash Demise and Mobile-First. This activity sparked a lot of buzz and debate on the web. So how could I resist chiming in?
In the next few years, customers will have more choices than ever for how they will approach dashboards and visualization, but they will have to prioritize based on needs and budget. Once again, it will come down to choosing the right tools for the job..
1. Xcelsius with some kind of HTML5 ported option yet to be announced, which we have to assume will be a subset of Xcelsius functionality.
2. SAP mobile enabled solutions like Explorer / Exploration views and BI Mobile (webi mobilized)
3. Xcelsius coupled with a third party offering like Antivia XWIS Anywhere and Exxova MyBI Mobile,
4. Third party mobile visualization products like Roambi.
This list will be prioritized based on the following questions that every customer will need to ask themselves for an entire BI initiative and for specific projects:
- Is the end users primarily a mobile user or desktop user?
- How important is mobility for the dashboard? Must have, should have, nice to have?
- Will the technology(s) in question provide the results required by the end users?
I will likely do a full write-up to compare and contrast these approaches once BI4 release pack 3 hits the market this quarter.
So what about Xcelsius?
The reality is that Xcelsius, like any other technology, will have to evolve or be replaced. The “Xcelsius” as we know it, which is a Flash and Excel powered technology wrapped up in an desktop development environment, has a shelf life. SAP is NOT killing off a product, because it is hardly a move that we would expect for a highly successful and profitable technology. The SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards prooduct has a large customer base, thriving community, and a great ecosystem of partners who are continuously innovating platform. What ever the fate of Xcelsius is, SAP’s “Mobile First” is a clear strategy shift that will not happen over night.
Is the future clear or cloudy?
While SAP has sat on Xcelsius, the company’s focus has shifted towards growth opportunities like Big Data, Cloud, Social, and Mobility…it is baked into our brains as SAP customers and partners. There is a common thread here that is critical to the success to all of these initiatives: “End user experiences.”. Most of these strategic growth areas for SAP, have integration back to the core Business Analytics product lines. So the question we all have is what exactly will SAP’s next-generation “mobile first” dashboard solution look like? Will SAP truly innovate in this area? Or will the huge ecosystem of software vendors beat them to the punch?
Let me know what you guys think.