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Integrating Xcelsius with BW: various approaches with their comparison

Xcelsius is the flagship product for dashboard reporting. With the introduction of SAP BusinessObjects applications as a part of BI product portfolio, many people have the volition to combine SAP BusinessObjects offerings with SAP NetWeaverBW. Xcelsius is the preffered product when it comes to get the “big” picture i.e., a clear vision of the business performance with summarized data and KPI’s.

Ever since the merger of BusinessObjects and SAP various options have evolved for integrating Xcelsius with SAP BW data. It is a difficult task to identify and select the best option as no option fit all requirements/needs and each option may be relevant depending on customer’s requirement. 

There are currently 4 different implementation options available for Xcelsius dashboards with SAP BW: QaaWS, Live Office, BICS and BIWS.

 A brief introduction on each of the 4 disparate options is as follows:

 Live Office (LO)  is a SAP Business Objects tool that is installed as an add-on to Microsoft Office Excel. This allows you to connect the Excel spreadsheet within your dashboard to a WebI or Crystal report, which in turn connects to your data source.

Query as a Web Service (QaaWS) is a SAP Business Objects client tool that creates a web service, based on a query that connects directly to a universe.

BI Web Service (BIWS) creates a web service from a report block in a WebI report, which in turn connects to your data source.

BI Consumer Services (BICS) directly connects your Dashboard with your BEx Query.

Now let us compare each option from various perspectives:

1) Prerequisites

Live Office:

BusinessObjects XI3.1 and above

SAP NetWeaver BW 7.0 and above

Live Office XI3.1

Microsoft Office 2003 and above


BusinessObjects XI3.1 and above

SAP NetWeaver BW 7.0 and above


Xcelsius 2008 SP2 and above

BEx Frontend Patch 901 and above

SAP NetWeaver BW 7.01 SP Stack 5 and above

SAP NetWeaver BI ABAP & BI Java and above


BusinessObjects XI3.1 SP2.5 and above

SAP NetWeaver BW 7.0 and above


2) Setup Time

Live Office takes the longest to set up as it requires Live Office software to be installed which is not a part of BusinessObjects client tool package.

BI Web Service would require you to create WebI report on top of your BI Universe

QaaWS need you to create a Universe on top of BEx Query/Infocube

BI Consumer Services directly connects your BEx Query to your dashboard.


3) Response Time

QAAWS and BICS both connect live to a data source. The response time will be slow if the data source is large.

But with BICS we can have OLAP cache being used to minimize this response time. Also OLAP universes (QaaWS) are using the OLAP BAPI interface which is known to less perform than BICS

Live Office and BIWS both connect to scheduled instances of WebI Report. This means that it doesn’t matter how big the data source is. It only matters how much data is there in the report block. However Live Office is supporting Publications, which BI Web Services doesn’t. Publications allows to schedule a report for several people in a single go, like bursting

So out of BIWS and LO the former is faster.


4) Flexibility towards complexity of data

QAAWS and BICS are limited in the complexity of data that it can return.

Both Live Office and BIWS connect to WebI Report and you have full suite of WebI Analysis Functions at your fingertips.


5) Authentication

With BICS end to end SSO with SAP credentials is implemented.

With QAAWS, LO and BIWS extra configuration within BusinessObjects Enterprise is also required for SSO.


6) Portal Integration

All options are web service based so can be integrated with any portal with URL linking with some customizations.

QAAWS, LO and BIWS have native SSO to BusinessObjects Infoview and BICS have SSO with SAP NetWeaver portal.

Any other combination for SSO between portal and backend will require additional configurations.


7) Sharing

Getting the dashboard data exported to Microsoft Office documents like PPT, Outlook, Word and Adobe PDF is not possible by BICS option.

With QAAWS, LO and BIWS this option is readily available.


8) Implementation Cost

All options other than BICS option require BOE in place. LO requires additional Live Office software to be procured. Hence the implementation cost has to be estimated depending on the requirement of BusinessObjects Enterprise or not.


9) Life Cycle Management

BICS leverage transports on ABAP backend just like any other BW object. QaaWS, LO and BIWS rely on BusinessObjects Enterprise Life Cycle Management.


10) Data Source

For non BW data we will need BusinessObjects Enterprise in place with QaaWS, LO or BIWS as BICS with Xcelsius supports only BEx Query data.

All options support BEx query with BICS being the best option as QaaWS and BIWS rely on OLAP Universe and its limitations for integrating with BEx query. LO relies on OLAP Universe or Crystal Report.

For having BW Infocube as the data source for the dashboard we need a Universe and hence BusinessObjects Enterprise and so QaaWS, LO or BIWS is required.

With Crystal Reports providing data to the dashboard we can use only LO with Xcelsius.

My Recommendation:

  • For pure SAP legacy customer with no BusinessObjects Enterprise, BICS is the only option. If BusinessObjects Enterprise environment is there or planned then all options can be considered.
  • If data is coming from other data sources along with BW then all options other than BICS are to be considered.
  • If live data is absolutely required, the BICS option performs better than other options.
  • Out of QaaWS, LO and BIWS, BIWS seems to be the approach.
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  • Source data display:
    When I use BICS connection,i see no data in the embedded excel sheet and we have to design the dashboard using the blank excel report( assigning cells to various components of dashboard object) and the result of which i can only view after execution.

    Preview:Dashboard preview is not possible using BICS,we need to execute the report to view the result .

    I am curious to know how these features work for other approaches.


    • Only with Live Office you are able to see the data in excel while designing the dashborad. With all other options no data is embedded in excel and we have to design the dashboard using blank cells.

      Dashboard preview is not possible with BICS. With all other options it is possible.