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.
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
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.
Minimum Recommended Hardware Requirements:
PC with Pentium 3 or equivalent processor and 128MB of RAM
Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4 or Windows XP
Office 2000, Office XP, or Office 2003