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2013 is already over, and as all years, it has been a wonderful year, because of all the great people who has crossed my path.

I’ve learned a lot about BO tools and rolling those tools out (using SAP BW as a backend) , so as a way of ending this year, let me share some of the things I found interesting and useful:

  • – Dashboards (Former Xcelsius, and who knows what will be the name in the future)
    • When you are doing requirements gathering, don’t go empty handed. You can create working prototypes in 2 – 4 hours based on Excel, so go the first meeting with a working prototype with real data.
    • Always show that you will have a Phase II immediately after Phase I; remember the end users don’t know exactly what they want since they are not familiar with the tool, so give them the first set of dashboards, let them play; they know that soon (in 3 – 6 weeks) they will have the opportunity to fine tune their dashboards in phase II, so no frustration will be involved.
    • Standardization, Standardization,   Standardization, Standardization, Standardization
      • § Try to standardize everything you can: Colors (Target should be always color XXXX), type of chart (yearly charts will be always columns), etc.
    • In the Dashboard itself, put links to any of the other tools where you can see more detailed information (like WEBI). Remember there will be cases were the Dashboards users will need to see more detailed information, let’s make their life easier.
  • – Web intelligence
    • Let switch roles for 1 week.  Put your WebI developers to do BEx queries and vice versa. It’s very important for both teams to understand how the tools work, this will save you time in the future.
    • Finding the balance between one huge query and several queries is an art, every week check this topic with both teams BO and Bex.
    • Test the Webi functionality extensively specially input controls connected to hierarchies.

For both tools:

  • No more big bangs!
    • Try to use agile methodologies or concepts.  You can start with “long” springs (4 – 6 weeks) and then when the team is fine-tuned, you can shorten your springs.
  • If you will be rolling out in different languages, try the translation tools beforehand. Translate some real reports, and see how the process is so you can plan the resources for this. Remember some objects need to be translated in BW some in BO.

Read the books and material of the experts, usually each paragraph has something valuable, examples:

And any others you may prefer. 

With this I wish you all a very nice time ahead, and please share your experiences.

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2 Comments

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  1. Ryan Goodman

    This is a great article! As you have pointed out, dashboard and application design requires a sound process and these are very important tips. It sounds obvious, but I see every day customers who skipped the important steps, went directly into development, and paint themselves into a corner.

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