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Business Objects Unveils Excel-Based BI Dashboard

Xcelsius Engage 2008 uses Microsoft Excel as its data modeling foundation, so technical and non-technical workers can create interactive data visualizations.
Business Objects has introduced a data presentation and dashboard tool that the company says can be used by anyone familiar with a spreadsheet.

Xcelsius Engage 2008 uses Microsoft Excel as its data modeling foundation, so technical and non-technical workers can create interactive data visualizations, the company said. The software lets users mash up data from multiple Web services or internal business applications without coding.

The presentations and dashboards can be embedded within Microsoft PowerPoint, internal and external Web applications or Adobe PDF. As a result, performance data can be used in any business setting, from the boardroom to widely distributed content, the company said.

Features of the new product include a pre-built component called a "tab set container" that allows users to create multi-tab dashboards without writing code. There's also a built-in function called a "trend analyzer" that helps in discovering trends and patterns in data by automatically inserting statistical calculations in visualizations at load time, Business Objects said.

Finally, the software has a comprehensive library of country maps for various geographical areas of the world.

Excelsius Engage has been integrated with Business Objects' Crystal Reports, enabling authors to deliver interactive reports that contain what-if analyses. In addition, the presentation tool has connectivity with Adobe LiveCycle Data Services for viewing transactional data in dashboards.

The new software also includes a software development kit and supports Adobe Flex for customizing visualizations.

Business Objects, which is owned by business software maker SAP, launched Xcelsius Engage 2008 and Xcelsius Engage Server 2008 on Wednesday. Enterprise-class editions are available for BusinessObjects XI 3.0. Further details are available through the company's Web site.