Zen, Xcelsius and the Art of XWIS

Since the “#AllAccessSAP” Webinar a few weeks ago (which I wrote about here) many people have asked me what I think about “project Zen” and what Antivia’s strategy is in relation to it.

From what I have seen so far, Zen looks like it will be a great, new dashboard design/development tool, but for me, the most important aspect of Zen is that IMO it sets exactly the right tone for the future of dashboarding. I guess that is only to be expected given that, the more I see of Zen, the more similarity I see between it and our XWIS Advantage product, albeit in targeted at different environments (Zen is targeted at HTML5/JavaScript and XWIS Advantage is targeted at Xcelsius/SAP Dashboards).

The core similarity between Zen and XWIS Advantage is that they are both based on an OLAP foundation and OLAP is key to enabling the new style of dashboards (or BI Applications) which we are seeing emerge in the market (for more on BI Apps see my recent blog post here , SCN Article here and on-demand Webinar here).

The reason that OLAP makes BI Apps easier is it simplifies the implementation of essential features like drill-down, drill-across, cross-component synchronization, ad-hoc “slice and dice”, and many others. Putting these features inside a design environment like Xcelsius suddenly opens up a new way of delivering information, in a dramatic evolution from static “at-a-glance” dashboards to interactive BI Apps.

In practical terms, this means that XWIS customers can implement Zen-like capabilities in Xcelsius today, allowing them to deliver the BI Applications their users are demanding. Additionally, due to the OLAP similarities between between the products, should they wish to reuse their XWIS/Xcelsius content in Zen at some point in the future, they should have a considerably easier time doing so than they would with non-XWIS dashboards.

Ultimately, this should be a big win-win-win for Antivia, for SAP and for our joint customers. And once again, it is vindication of the Xcelsius SDK and the SAP partner ecosystem ethos.

The Zen SDK will also play a part, in the future, allowing us to bring XWIS features into the Zen environment to make sure that whichever BI App/Dashboard tool SAP customers use, they can benefit from the unique capabilities of XWIS.

So the short answers to the questions I posed at the start are:

1) We are excited about Zen and in particular the vision for dashboarding which it embodies

2) Over the coming months and years we will continue to innovate with XWIS to help Xcelsius customers deliver better dashboards today and increase their interoperability with Zen in the future, and with the Zen SDK we will add our unique capabilities into the Zen environment as well.

For more detail on these topics visit our Zen Today, Zen Tomorrow microsite.