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On March 30th, I delivered a webinar titled “SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 2011 Jumpstart.” In this webinar, I re-introduce dashboard design from a dashboard developer, administrator and business perspective wrapped into a 40 minute presentation focused on the 4.0 release of SAP BusinessObjects.

You can click below and view the recording, and if you have any comments, questions, or feedback, feel free to share in the comments section.

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Q&A

With a large number of viewers, we collected the following questions from the question panel during the live webinar: If you have more questions, I will continue to answer them here:

 

Is there a way to connect a dashboards to a query built in ECC 6.O.  How that could be accomplished?

I had to do a little research myself on this question and apparently from this board discussion this is something that may work in 4.1 but today requires data federator in between ECC 6.0 and the universe that you construct. Once you have a universe, you can build dashboard content using the simple process I illustrated on my blog.

Can someone upgrade to xcelsius 4.0 without performing a BOE upgrade?
You can absolutely use the 4.0 version of Xcelsius IDE without upgrading BOE.

Elena: We are using SAP BW BEx queries as our main source. These queries contain prompts and hierachies which we would like to use in the dashboard. Is it possible to use hierachies from BEx query designer in the dashboard?
Unfortunately not at this time, because there is no hierarchical control available in Xcelsius. My team is currently investigating the possibilities of filling this gap through the SDK until SAP delivers a proper hierarchy component.

Is this version of xcelsius available to use with XI3.1?
I believe that the latest version should still work with 3.1 when it comes to Query as a Web Service and Live Office. I will do some testing and provide further comments once I confirm.

How large of a query can you use?
Though the direct binding does provide increased performance, the same general guidelines for data volume apply where you only want to return the data that is displayed to end users. So for instance, if you return 2000 rows of data to the dashboard, you need to decide how you will present that to an end user where it makes sense. For parsing and filtering data, you can always use the query browser filtering, but there is still not intermediate client side filtering and data modeling without using the spreadsheet binding.

Can I connect directly to an SQL database using the query browser?
The query browser is designed to leverage the metadata to abstract and simplify the connectivity process so unfortunately you will need to rely on web services to connect directly to SQL

 Do you get better performance when you bind directly to the query?
Absolutely. The reason is this direct binding alleviates some extra overhead and mapping between connections and the spreadsheet.

Behind the scenes, is the wsdl architecture and performance the same as QaaWS?
From my understanding, they have overhauled the previous Axis web service architecture to something much more efficient. At the end of the day, you are always using some kind of web service capabilities to communicate with SAP Dashboard Design. I know there was quite a bit of work done there and will be adding to this answer once I have the exact answer from product management.

Can you refer me BO book which I can refer
I am not aware of anything good from personal experience but I know that the SAP Press site has collected some pretty good authors to write for them: http://www.sap-press.com/

Can you customize the SQL when building your query?
Unfortunately the SQL behind the query is not exposed nor customizable.

Is this product currently available for use?
(as of April 1 2011) This product is currently in SAP’s roll-out to customers so it is not generally available quite yet.

Will custom component that use data have access to new data binding features or will they need to me modified in new SDK for access to these features.
The SDK was not upgraded to take advantage of direct binding provided through the query browser.

Can I upgrade from the latest version of Xcelsius I have to this Dashboard Design for free?
Unfortunately I can’t speak to licensing, upgrades, and pricing on the behalf of SAP. As someone who works for an SAP partner, we do not have any pricing or upgrade info quite yet.

Will I be able to connect directly to an SQL Server Database without using the BO Universe?
You are able to connect to SQL Server without a BO universe, but you will require a web service to transact data between SQL and the dashboard. One solution that some of our customers have used is Flynet http://www.flynetviewer.com/public/pages/default.aspx

What databases are compatible with this program???
Through the SAP BusinessObjects semantic layer you should be able to connect to just about any database vendor under the sun.

Can dashboards be scheduled in BI4.0?
Dashboard scheduling is not available in 4.0 though I have seen this in a roadmap for 4.1. For scheduled dashboard distribution you have very good options with solutions delivered by Antivia (http://www.antivia.com/index.html) and Infosol (http://infosol.com/)

Mel Paras: Is this available in the next version of BusinessObjects Edge?
Absolutely.

Are these Geographic visualization only available in 4.0 or are there other 3rd party maps for Xcelsius map in earlier versions?
The geographic visualization shown in the demonstration is available for earlier versions of Xcelsius. In the presentation, you  with Google Maps is GMaps Plugin: http://gmapsplugin.com

What’s the cost of 4.0 personal copy?
(as of April 1, 2011) Unfortunately this pricing information is not available quite yet that I have seen.

Where can I buy and SAP licence?
You will want to talk to your local sales rep for pricing and licensing

Is this version available with sourcing on demand suite?
I am not aware of availability for 4.0 functionality for on-demand. I am still looking into this one.

 (g) Anne Richter: is there a platform where I can post question about formatting dashboards?
The best platform for dashboard discussion is through SCN forums or the Xcelsius Linked-In group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1847619

Is there any way to export the dashboard to be viewd on mobiles iPad/iPhone
iPad and iPhone are not Flash compatible at this time so there is no export option for iOS at this time? I have been recently spending a lot of time writing on this subject on my personal blog: http://ryangoodman.net/blog and will soon be posting these articles to my SCN blog. I try to keep my skewed opinions to my personal blog so you know what you are getting on my blog vs. SCNJ.

When migrating the dashboard… What  are the aspects that i need to look into
If you are referring to migrating from development to production, as long as the universe is migrated, all you need to migrate for the dashboard is the DashboardDesign object saved to the repository. If you are talking about migrating from 3.0 / 3.1 to 4.0 I have not had a chance to migrate full blown production dashboards yet so the verdict is still out, but I do note that QaaWS does not port into the query browser that I demonstrate.

When is dashboard designer available?
Not quite yet. It is currently in a managed SAP roll out to customers.

Are there any instruction details on how to do this AIR packager to use the dashboard on iPad…?
I have not seen anything yet. The limited testing I have done with Ipad has had mixed success because Xcelsius controls are limited for use on the iPad.

Should we expect significantly improved query performance with dashboard bldr 4.0, similar to performance levels currently available with XWIS?
You will absolutely notice a performance boost with 4.0 compared to QaaWS. The net gain experienced with XWIS is their ability to dynamically filter and dill through data in its entirety without making round trips to the cache or database.

Isn’t ipad support coming in relase 4.1/2??
I have not seen anything yet publically released by SAP and don’t have any information on this so I am speculating like everyone else. My rule of thumb is to not make plans or decisions along these lines based on what a sales rep tells you, and instead wait for the beta.

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