Crystal Dashboard Design (Xcelsius 2008): Tips and Tricks ep4: Navigation using Label Based Menus and Push Buttons

There seems to be a theme with all the blog series that I have created over the past year and it is something that I would love to fix but really can’t control. I am not trying to make excuses but over the past month and a half I have been swamped with multiple projects and have not been able to add any more entries into our CDD Tips and Tricks series. But over the next 2 months, I am going to try and make a conscious effort to wrap up our first season of the CDD and move on towards a new one starting the spring of next year that will hopefully include some vlogs! If anyone has any ideas they would like to throw at me, feel free to reach out and I will look into getting it put on our list of tips for an upcoming episode. Lets get started on the topic at hand though and look at how to create custom navigation using label based menus and push buttons.

Xcelsius 2008 SP 3 Fix Pack 3 Now Available!

Over the weekend SAP BusinessObjects released the newest Fix Pack for Xcelsius 2008 aka Crystal Dashboard Design, SAP Dashboard Design or even SAP Dashboards. The help documentation is not out on help.sap.com as of yet but it was available in the info for the download so I will attach them to the bottom of the post. One of the big things that I noticed that was fixed but not really stated in the documentation was the Windows 7 export to enterprise issue. Every time you tried to export the dashboard out to InfoView, the save dialog box would be missing text box to name the file as well as the save and cancel buttons. The only way to push the dashboard out was to use a non Windows 7 machine. No longer do I have to fire up my laptop with XP on it to accomplish this feat. Hooray for efficiency! Check out all the fixes below!

Underwhelm Your Users with a Well-designed Dashboard

Dashboard and visualizations are a hot topic right now. You can’t go to an SAP BusinessObjects event or a user group meeting without seeing over half of the presentations focusing on dashboards and visualizations. And, like with any cutting-edge technology, it seems everyone is trying to get in on the action. While that’s a good thing, sometimes people lack the basic knowledge and skills to utilize those tools to deliver effective analysis.

SCN Winter Olympic Challenge

A little over a month on my Google Reader, I got an RSS Feed from the Business Object SAP Developer Network about an Xcelsius Challenge. The blog was put out by Jason Cao of SAP BusinessObjects and the challenge was to use community poll results in Xcelsius 2008 to showcase a developer’s skills. Not really interested, I marked it as read and moved along with my morning ritual of checking the happenings of the world. Later on in the day we had a company meeting to discuss upcoming projects and ideas for a new marketing campaign. One of the topics led us to chatting about creating some new demo dashboards for our website. This is when a light bulb went off in my head and I brought the challenge to the table. Long story short, the boss man thought it was a great idea and an easy way to get a demo dashboard done and put our name out on the SAP Community Network.

Making Your Measures Behave

Defining measures gets interesting because while they are tied to a high-level corporate goal, they also touch nearly every other aspect of the organization, making it a challenge sometimes to balance all of the competing interests. Plus, as soon as you start converting their behavior into numbers, people will simple adapt their behavior to have good numbers and may not deliver the overall results you had hoped.

In Search of Clarity

Our customers typically have mountains of data, spanning all areas of the organization. Some of their data spans decades. They look to us to help them make sense of it all, and utilize that information to drive better decision-making. It’s often a challenge not so much from a technology aspect, but from a human one. Sometimes when we ask an executive which metrics are most important to them, we get the reply “all of them”.