A few days ago I was chatting with a small group on Facebook about Xcelsius, WebI, and mobility and wanted to share my comments with my readership to take this to a larger audience:
” BI vendors are rated on their ability to deliver dashboards, reports, interactive visualization/discovery, ad-hoc, and other information delivery and analysis capabilities under a unified platform. All of the industry analysts break them out into distinct features for a BI stack. SAP has taken a stance in delivering the “right tool for the job” rather than one tool that fills many jobs, so that is what we have come to expect. I do agree that it is a mistake that SAP has not moved faster to mature their visualization and user interaction capabilities across reporting and dashboard tools. WebI could benefit from some enhanced visualization and user experience controls to make them more dashboard-like, and Xcelsius could benefit for a more robust data modeling, adhoc, and drill down controller. Today, SAP has two fronts they have to go after for mobile…
1. Those who have made large investments in WebI / Xcelsius / Explorer and want them to work on the iPad and iPhone…
2. Then you have customers who want the next generation of technology that will enhance mobile access to business intelligence.
Which brings us back to the original post… SAP will show shiny cool technology that we can plan for the future because that is what customers, analysts, shareholders, etc have come to expect at a conference like Sapphire.
Only customers who are well vested in Xcelsius would be excited about an announcement of mobile capabilities for an existing tool. Personally, I think that SAP should be able to deliver both to market at the same time. What do you guys think?”
Then later in the thread, I responded to a statement about Webi maturing over the last 5 years and Xcelsius not moving forward far from where it started as a BusinessObjects acquired technology.
“… you guys are spot on for what has happened (or not happened) the last 5-7 years… At this point, it would be significantly easier to make Webi a mobile designer than Xcelsius primarily because it does not rely on Flash. I think the problem is many customers and SAP use Xcelsius as an army swiss knife when Webi / CR does not provide the user experience requested by customers, and that army swiss knife is built on a platform that will not work on iPad. To compound that, I think that everyone on thread has frustration that nothing seems to be getting done to make it better for us out in the field trying to guide customers what to do..”
As a side note, when I say that Xcelsius will not work on an iPad, I mean that the output SWF will not run out of the box on an iPad. And as of today, Adobe announced that they will no longer work on mobile Flash Player.
Our friends at Antivia were showcasing their iPad solution at ASUG last month and our friends at LaunchWorks actually announced their mobility solution yesterday so there is an approach to make Xcelsius work on iPad but out of the box rendering of SWFs on mobile will be out of the question.
I would love to hear your feedback and comments and those of you who are in Madrid at Sapphire I am sorry I couldn’t be there!