Monthly Archives: July 2011

DFT are Antivia’s North American partner of the year

Earlier today, we announced that Decision First Technologies (DFT) is Antivia’s first North American partner of the year. Last week, Mark Hudson, CEO of Antivia, presented the award to Taylor Courtnay and Scott Golden, co-founders of DFT at DFT’s headquarters in Atlanta.

Presenation ceremony

Mark Hudson presents Taylor Courtnay and Scott Golden with partner of the year award

The award recognizes the pivotal role played by DFT as we’ve continued to grow our presence in North America over the past 12 months.

A recent highlight from our relationship with DFT was when joint customer AllConnect presented at SAPPHIRE NOW, in May, discussing their use of SAP BusinessObjects and how they’re using Xcelsius and XWIS to deliver dashboards within their organization (watch a recording of AllConnect’s presentation).

We’re looking forward to working closely with DFT over the coming months to enable more SAP customers to deliver more dashboards, to more users, with more interactivity, for less cost.

Xcelsius Top Tip – Spreadsheet Color Coding

If you were to take a look at one of my Xcelsius dashboards, you would find that the underlying spreadsheet is full of color. And, anyone who has ever maintained their share of Xcelsius dashboards will certainly understand why.

Excel is one of the most used and abused tools in the world, and since Xcelsius uses it as the “secret” sauce behind its dashboards, if you are not disciplined and organized with how you work with your spreadsheet, you will be faced with a daunting task when you come to update an Xcelsius model which you haven’t looked at for several months.

There are various websites that provide guidance on Xcelsius best practices, just enter Xcelsius Best Practices in Google and you will find the following:

For my dashboards, I have extended this color palette to include the following colors:

All of these colours are quickly accessible from the Fill tab when setting the cell format and so does not add much additional time to your dashboard development.

By using color in the spreadsheet within your dashboards, you are able to convey the usage of each cell combined with comments on cells. I am not aware of any performance overhead from using colors and/or comments within the spreadsheet layer, but the maintenance benefits are significant.

Do you use color to simplify maintenance of your Xcelsius dashboards? Do you use other techniques? I’d love to hear your comments.

Antivia – A one minute update

Being a start-up CEO certainly has its ups and downs. I came across a slide deck (here) from Tara Hunt a few days ago, which spells it out in no uncertain terms (using some choice words which are not suitable for work). All in my view, true.

Antivia has just turned 4 years old, we did our half-pivot (to develop XWIS) about 3 years ago, and we signed our first customer almost exactly two years ago, we now have over 40 customers around the world and every time I talk to one of them it reinforces to me that EVERY enterprise Xcelsius project would benefit from XWIS (I would say that wouldn’t I, but I really do believe it) and we are coming up to the launch of XWIS version 3.0, next week, which takes our value to Xcelsius customers to a whole new level.

Writing it like that, it all sounds a bit like a walk in the park, but I can assure you it is not, I have been through everything Tara points out in her deck; there have been sleepless nights (many) and rejections (many more) and worries about running out of money (fortunately, not so many), but it all feels worthwhile now, now that we have great momentum.

With momentum comes one of the best (both most valuable and most enjoyable) things a start-up CEO can do; hire other people. Over the past quarter, we have made two hires which have made a huge difference to Antivia, first we hired Bryan Motteram as our WW VP of Marketing and in a single quarter, Bryan has not only completely overhauled this website but has also transformed us into a leading-edge, lead-nurturing, automated marketing organisation.

The second hire was Donald MacCormick as our Chief Product and Marketing Officer. Those of you who have known Business Objects for a while probably know Donald as the “1-minute Xcelsius demo guy”, well he is at it again, below is the next incarnation of his now legendary 1-minute Xcelsius demo, this time powered by XWIS. I could not think of a better way to summarize the value of XWIS. I love it (but again, I would wouldn’t I)!

Well, that’s the short version of XWIS, but if you’re interested in the longer story, be sure to check out: