Review: Crystal Xcelsius
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Published: 18 Jan 2006
Unedited - Community Contributed
Abstract
In this article, Eric reviews the Crystals BI dashboard presentation product geared toward end-users. He looks at the product from a developers perspective.
by Eric Landes
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Introduction

Business Intelligence products have always interested me. I've done most of my writing based on using BI in some manner.  Besides standard reporting tools like Crystal Reports and Reporting Services, lately, I have been implementing OLAP in a web environment and investigating utilizing digital dashboards in a SharePoint environment.  When I saw that Crystal Xcelsius had some of these features, especially the digital dashboard part, I was eager to look into what the product could do.

Product Definition

Crystal Xcelsius is a reporting tool that focuses on the presentation portion of the data analysis of your report.  You can create dashboards, email presentations, or deliver what-if analysis in many different manners.  Xcelsius appears to utilize combinations of flash and html to create digital dashboards that can be exported to a web page or emailed.   The main data source is from Microsoft Excel, although the Workgroup version offers the ability to source data from web services.  The Crystal Xcelsius UI is targeted toward the non-programmer. 

There is a Crystal XCelsius Standard edition, a Professional edition,  and an Xcelsius Workgroup package.  Both the Standard and Professional packages are intended for standalone workstations.  For this review, I downloaded the Xcelsius Workgroup software.  The workgroup software can source data from XML sources which the Standard/Professional class cannot do.

Xcelsius is advertised as one that doesn't need any programming experience.

This review will look at the strengths and weaknesses of this tool in the following areas: Creating Executive Dashboards (including data sourcing) and Implementing Xcelsius in an Enterprise.

System Requirements

Minimum Recommended Hardware Requirements:   

PC with Pentium 3 or equivalent processor and 128MB of RAM

Operating System:   

Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4 or Windows XP

Microsoft Office:  

Office 2000, Office XP, or Office 2003


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