Which BI dashboard is it today?

07 Mar Which BI dashboard is it today?

Matt Christensen High Res Matt Christensen

Ever since SAP acquired BusinessObjects, it has been a challenge to choose the right client tool for each reporting application.  I had hoped things would be better seven years down the road, but there are still many overlapping choices.  The right answer isn’t always the same — it depends upon existing landscape, audience, and functionality requirements.

The obvious choice for a while was the tool named Dashboards (formerly Xcelsius).  It produces great outputs, but faces challenges with high data volumes and BW integration.  It’s primary output was an Adobe Flash, which has fallen out of favor due to lack of support at Apple.  This tool doesn’t appear to be strategic for SAP moving into the future.

Design Studio is the obvious successor.  Considering it is only at version 1.3, this is already a technically solid solution with good functionality.  A recent addition is the ability to make data entry to BW within the dashboard, which enables some interesting business processes.  Future versions will likely make formatting easier.  It is important to recognize some JavaScript knowledge is needed to ensure rich user interactivity.  Those of you with past experience in BEx Web Application Designer will find this tool refreshingly familiar.

Lumira is another exciting new entrant — particularly from a business self-service perspective.  My initial impression is that solutions can be built quickly on this platform, but the current chart options are somewhat limited.  As with all agile BI solutions, there is also a challenge to maintain reliable enterprise-level solutions.  For now it may be a great way to enable business users to build prototypes that are later implemented in another tool.

Finally, the stalwart Web Intelligence (WebI) tool is still a sound choice.  It offers a full set of chart options and detailed configurability.  WebI also offers the concept of a saved instance of the dashboard, which ensures fast response times.  Navigation within report results is possible, but not necessarily intuitive.  There is a special mobile service that can be deployed to ensure portability.

I’m sure there are other creative options I haven’t even considered here.  Hopefully this information provides a useful starting point into your dashboard considerations!


Matt Christensen is a Principal Consultant with Phoenix Endeavors. He has more than seventeen years of experience implementing a broad set of SAP solutions, including configuration and development in ERP and Business Intelligence. Matt holds an undergraduate degree in computer science and an MBA in finance.

No Comments

Post A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Become A Partner

If you have a strong SAP background and a
“Whatever it takes” attitude , submit your resume.