DashApps – the Next Big Thing?

Well IBIS 2024, the BusinessObjects event of the year, was just brilliant. The sessions were outstanding, the keynotes inspiring, the interactions compelling and the BI 2025 test drives exciting. It really was the best IBIS ever!

Once again, my favorite part was the compelling customer case studies, and this year was exceptional. One, in particular, that really stood out for me was from a nationwide healthcare organization that has developed a whole collection of both operational and Business Intelligence applications using BusinessObjects to drive the data input and InfoBurst Squirrel365 to drive the data output.

These applications cover all aspects of the organization – finance, operations and clinical.

They have a Data Warehouse on Google Cloud Platform and some other Cloud based applications and they use BusinessObjects universes on top of these data sources to bring trusted, curated data sets into Web Intelligence reports, PowerBI dashboards and InfoBurst Squirrel365 no-code applications.

The Web Intelligence reports are scheduled through InfoBurst and sent to either their own in-house portal for BI reporting or emailed. They are also pushed into PowerBI semantic models for BI dashboards using InfoBurst PowerBI. But, most interesting of all, they are pushed into no-code Squirrel applications for both desktop and mobile which can also write back to the data sources.

The presenter referred to these applications as “DashApps” which is an excellent way to describe them.

It is not a new phenomenon to use no-code BI tools for rapid application development of operational apps. I remember seeing this done some 15 years ago with Xcelsius and InfoBurst. However, a lot has changed in 15 years with cloud and mobile coming into the mainstream.

While many organizations still build custom applications using a variety of development tools and platforms, it still remains expensive and time-consuming for the most part. This has driven many towards off-the-shelf applications, but these have steadily got more expensive, especially with cloud-based subscriptions and customizations and add-ons are still required.

Using a no-code development tool to create operational applications, not only saves time and cost but can result in huge savings in user licensing fees. Squirrel365 has an incredibly cost-effective licensing model based on number of live applications with each application having unlimited users.

When the healthcare customer showed their latest InfoBurst Squirrel365 application, it was a full CRM (Customer Relationship Management) application built for mobile to replace their existing off-the-shelf CRM. The application was based 100% on requirements from their Sales team to provide them with exactly what they needed and seamlessly interface with their Microsoft Exchange in the cloud to automatically send out calendar invites and emails.  The source and target data was on a SQL Server database in their Google Cloud and their response times on the phone were near instant. They also integrated with PowerBI to show analytics dashboards with the data flows coming from BusinessObjects.

The application was built in just weeks by 1 or 2 people.

This was just one of several applications they showcased for the case study. There was a financial one for collecting/recording payments at their hundreds of facilities which was previously being done using Excel spreadsheets.

One attendee posed the question as to how much they expected to save from implementing this financial application and the presenter said he did not know exactly, but at least $1 million annually in software license fees, based on bids they had previously received! And that was for just one of the several “DashApps” they showed. The cost savings for this organization are mind-blowing and it is no wonder they are being inundated with requests to build more.

So could these new “DashApps” be the next big thing? Well they certainly are for this healthcare organization and I have a feeling that many others will take this path and we will see a lot more “DashApps” at IBIS 2025!

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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