Squirrel - the Replacement for SAP Business Objects Dashboards
SAP Business Objects Dashboards, formerly known as Xcelsius, has provided many mining operations with the perfect tool to present their FMS, asset health and other critical operational data. However, as we’ve blogged about previously, this product will cease to function at the end of 2020 with the demise of Flash.
Finding a direct replacement has proved particularly difficult when taking into account the small architectural footprint and cost-effectiveness of SBOP Dashboards. Many other tools require dedicated servers and significant licenses, and with any new software, training is required. We’ve also wanted the replacement to be a springboard for new things.
There are many excellent data visualisation tools available. Tableau, Power BI, QlikView to name a few (as blogged about here) are all excellent analytical solutions for the mining industry. However, we work with many mines that use unattended dashboards to simply show operational statistics and key metrics. For these, Tableau etc. is potentially overkill.
Our search is now over. InfoSol, one of the world's leading providers of specialist BI solutions, has launched Squirrel.
MTS will be one of their early adopter customers.
What is Squirrel?
Squirrel is a like-for-like replacement for SBOP Dashboards and it has some particularly attractive selling points:
Conversion tool for easy migration of your existing SBOP Dashboards.
Can use existing data connections such as BIWS web services from your existing dashboards.
The same spreadsheet mapping functionality that has endeared so many to SBOP Dashboards over the years.
Squirrel dashboards can be hosted on your existing SBOP server and accessed via a web browser - no need for additional infrastructure or software.
MTS has been working closely with InfoSol throughout the initial testing phase:
“Squirrel’s slick, intuitive interface and range of component configuration options means that we can continue to build a range of high-quality dashboard visualisations with the speed and flexibility that our clients have become accustomed to - Alicia McCabe.”
What’s on the roadmap with Squirrel?
We are not simply picking Squirrel because it is a like-for-like replacement for SBOP Dashboards. What is of equal importance to us is InfoSol’s commitment to a roadmap and their outstanding level of support. In conversation with Paul Grill, InfoSol’s President he comments that:
“InfoSol first starting using Xcelsius in 2005 and, like many others, totally fell in love with it and believe it is still one of the best BI dashboard tools on the market. So many customers like MTS told us the same thing and both encouraged and supported us to create Squirrel which we believe will provide a natural evolution of Xcelsius for the next decade and beyond”.
InfoSol has been an SAP BO Partner for many years, building fantastic extensions for SAP Dashboards, amongst others. With Squirrel they are integrating many of these extensions into native functionality.
Mel Sheppard, Head of Service Delivery and Operations at InfoSol Ltd. said:
“Squirrel was designed from the outset to be familiar to SAP Dashboards users but it was equally important that we innovate both in terms of the technology and the UX. We focused on creating a product that is enjoyable to use as well as future proof.
The roadmap is chocked full of exciting new features designed to make building and maintaining dashboards quicker and easier. These include multi-device support, version control and a host of new charts and components.”
So what next?
Thanks to Squirrel’s in-built conversion tool, MTS will now be building all new unattended KPI dashboards at “Business Objects” sites in Squirrel. Having worked closely with the InfoSol development team, we have already executed conversions of a number of our existing dashboard solutions. The results are slick, effective (and importantly ensures no “cliff” in 2020 when Flash ends) dashboards.
We're also working with others who have Tableau, Power BI etc. to migrate their current detailed analytics SAP Dashboards/Explorer spaces to these tools.