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Review: Xcelsius And Xcelsius Workgroup


Business Objects' Xcelsius and Xcelsius Workgroup are two programs for creating dynamic presentations of increasing flexibility – from PowerPoint slides up to dashboard and portal content.

The critical feature of Xcelsius is that it works with Microsoft Excel and is accessible to Excel power users as a means of developing not just power presentations, but also useful dashboard and portal content with all the usual Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), drill-downs, and "what-if" analyses. A second key component is that its output is a Flash small Web format (SWF), self-contained program that can be embedded into HTML, PDF and a number of portal systems.

Portals deliver information at your finger tips -- but the ease and timeliness with which those dashboards and portals can be created is still quite mixed. Ease of development often brings proprietary platform restrictions, long lead-times to get new portal views implemented, or expensive per-user licensing costs. Business Objects' Xcelsius provides power users with a little latitude: They can do it themselves with a cross-platform deployment option, at a reasonable (though hardly cheap) cost per user.

Xcelsius is the original brainchild of Infommersion, a software firm that was bought by Business Objects in October 2005. The product is available in two versions -- Xcelsius, which is primarily designed for delivering highly flexible but data-static presentations that can be viewed stand-alone, or as part of a PowerPoint Presentation. Xcelsius Workgroup adds output to an Adobe Acrobat file, an Outlook or any HTML-aware e-mail or embedded in a Web Page. In the latter case Xcelsius Workgroup also can be given dynamic data input capabilities.

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