Skip to Content
Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas

Student Dashboarding Club Pilot: Saturday Bonus Session Wrap-up featuring XCelsius Tips & Tricks

Student Club


Kumar Subramanian did an outstanding job leading the bonus session for our Student Dashboarding club today.

First, Kumar reviewed some SAP-provided guidelines for dashboards:

1) Use colors, labels and borders to identify data types
2) Organize your data in a logical fashion to make it easier to understand
3) Place frequently used data and logic at the top of the Excel sheet; this will help make it easier to select desired data and minimize scrolling
4) Use multiple tabs – this will minimize scrolling as well
5) Design on paper to remove yourself from the data you want to visualize; Kumar suggested using Balsamiq Mockup and iPlotz for wireframing.
6) Start with an empty spreadsheet as Xcelsius does not support using spreadsheets with links other spreadsheets
7) Try to keep data and logic to a minimum as the more data and logic the spreadsheet has the larger the generated SWF is and the longer it will be to open
8) Add dynamic visibility logic to help reuse the real estate by hiding and showing Xcelsius components based on interactions

Kumar said that “dashboards are a summary view of the company’s state”.  He suggested to try not to use more than 500 rows and that most data is not hard-coded – but brought in dynamically.  He recommended that calculations be done at the data source and to only use calculations in Excel as a last resort.

Query As A Web Service Guidelines:
1) Remove your dummy data once the design is complete – when design, use dummy data to help visualize
2) Retrieve only the data needed for the display component
3) Retreive data needed at the level of aggregation needed
4) Parameterize the query in the model to reduce result set size

Component objects in the Object Browser have default names and are not self-explanatory so you will want to rename them:



Use Object Grouping to hide clutter and arrange objects

Use color coded legends to indicate what each color code indicates within  the spreadsheet.

Some useful links:

Then, Kumar demonstrated how he used dynamic visibility, color binding, a multiple toggle button, drilldowns using charts, images for backgrounds, and using HTML tags to build the following dashboard:
Sample Dashboard

Question & Answer:

Q: How to use what covered in the 2010 SAP Student Dashboarding Club Contest?
A: Kumar suggested using a background as an image.  See what was used in in Reportapalooza contest.  He also suggested using multiple toggle button for paging effect

Q: Is it possible to use a comparison using toggle buttons – 2 different sets of data? Quarter vs. quarter?
A: Kumar suggested using  two combo box buttons in the back and different sets of data.   Kumar said “limitation is your own creativity”.  

Q: How many entries can students turn in for the 2010 SAP Student Dashboarding Club Contest?
A: 2010 SAP Student Dashboarding Club Contest– turn in as many as you like, you are only eligible to win one.
Deadline is November 19th 5:00 pm Eastern

Good luck to all students.  Many thanks to Kumar for  a great session and thanks to Kirby Leong for hosting and leading all of the sessions.


Related Blogs:

SAP University Alliance: How I spent my Saturday

Student Dashboarding Club Saturday Session #2 – SAP University Alliance

XCelsius General Practices Guide



Assigned Tags

      You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Well done

      There is a good related post at the University Alliances Forum from Bjarne Berg.

      It includes a link to a supporting slideshow about dashboard options with SAP.

      Good luck

      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas
      Blog Post Author
      Paul - thank you for your comments, support and the link.

      We are at the stage of gathering lessons learned and I know Kirby wants to ask for your advice.

      Many thanks!

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      How many people are participating?