A New Xcelsius that Integrates with BusinessObjects

Xcelsius Engage 2008 Book CoverWhile cleaning out the storage area at the InfoSol office recently, we came across a box of unopened Xcelsius Engage 2008 software packages. Yes, back in 2008, it was normal to deliver PC based software this way, putting it on CD’s and packaged in a nice-looking box with installation instructions and, sometimes, even a manual.

We used to sell a lot of Xcelsius Engage so it looks like we kept an inventory of them for a while.

Xcelsius was revolutionary and ahead of its time in both visualization and a no-code development approach. When it was deprecated by SAP at the same time as Adobe deprecated Flash, it was a sad day for many who had built entire SaaS businesses and enterprise applications using Xcelsius.

But all was not lost, as Xcelsius inspired the creation of a new no-code application development and visualization solution, Squirrel365, which used the same concepts of a backend spreadsheet model to create applications without writing any code.

So basically, anyone who knows how to use spreadsheets can develop applications, value calculators and dashboards for both desktop and mobile . Nowhere is this better shown than with Salesforce who is one of the largest users of Squirrel365. A couple of years ago, a Sales Director there, who had used Xcelsius in the past, picked up Squirrel365 and developed a Return on Investment value calculator for their global sales team to help them sell their cloud based products to new prospects.

They wanted to enter information while talking to the customer and immediately show them how much they would potentially save in one or more years. Squirrel365 was perfect for the task with its “What If” sliders and , when combined with InfoBurst, it’s write back capability to their enterprise database.

The solution was a huge success and completely created by that Sales Director who was not a programmer. It was built and deployed in a fraction of the time it would have taken a team of programmers to create the equivalent. Most importantly, it was built by someone in sales who knew the sales process, not by someone in IT.

It was so successful, that the Sales Director took it a step further and created self-service value calculators to show the ROI of their solutions on their web site which includes a downloadable PDF proposal showing your particular scenario. You can see this and try one of them out for yourself at https://www.salesforce.com/form/conf/slack-for-sales-calculator/

So Squirrel365 can be used to build both operational and BI applications, just like Xcelsius. The current version can write back to Excel or Google sheets and, when combined with InfoBurst, can write back to almost any database. The Squirrel365 applications can be deployed in the cloud, on a web site, hosted on a web server, embedded in PowerPoint , Tableau, PowerBI and BusinessObjects Web Intelligence. They can also be delivered offline.

The embedding in Web Intelligence uses the Webi Custom Elements feature so will work with both BI 4.2 and 4.3. The possibilities here are limitless and this adds a whole new dimension to Webi as you can now do ”what If?” scenarios with sliders and write back. There is a short 5-minute video example at https://plus.speakbo.com/posts/integrating-squirrel365-with-webi-to-add-what-if-and-write-back-capabilities

The best news of all for BusinessObjects/Squirrel 365 users is that there is no end-user license fee for viewing Squirrel365 applications. The product is licensed by the number of simultaneous live applications and each application has unlimited users.

Several BusinessObjects customers already use Squirrel365 where they feed data into the application from Webi through the InfoBurst in-memory data cache and have built some amazing operational and BI applications. Some have used it just to visualize their Excel or Google spreadsheets. Some have built their own Software as a Service solutions with it.

At this year’s IBIS 2024 event, there will be some customer case study presentations showing solutions combining Web Intelligence and Squirrel365.

Just like Xcelsius, Squirrel365 is poised to be a game-changer for BusinessObjects.

About pgrill

Paul Grill started his career in Information Technology in the U.K. in 1978, as an Executive Data Processing Trainee for Honeywell. More than thirty years later, he still has a voracious appetite for learning as Information Technology continues to advance at an ever accelerating pace. He was first introduced to the world of Business Intelligence in 1991, in France, when he saw a demonstration of an early version of BusinessObjects on Windows 2.1. He returned to the U.S. to rave about this phenomenal product, but it was many years before BusinessObjects made it into the mainstream. Paul founded InfoSol in 1997, and made Business Intelligence one of the key solutions offered by the company. Today, InfoSol is a leading SAP BusinessObjects solutions partner, known for its expert consulting, education and innovative add-on solutions. Paul is well known within the SAP BusinessObjects community for his extensive knowledge of Business Intelligence, and he has lectured and written many articles on the subject. Paul enjoys writing, running and coaching kids soccer, and is passionate about Ancient Egyptology.

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