Visual Prompts and other goodies from BOBJ Labs

Business Objects have been playing around with a few prototypes recently and have released five new applications:

  1. Take Action v2.0
  2. Linear View
  3. Visual Prompt
  4. Text to Query
  5. Xcelsius Web 2.0 components add-on

I’ve already discussed the Xcelsius Web 2.0 add on in a previous post.

The Visual Prompt is interesting and currently downloading. This allows you to display a flash interface via a Web Intelligence document as a replacement for your List of Values. The example given is the use of maps to select a country. However, this can be used to select images of products, e.g. cars or any other type of visual prompt.


Google spreadsheets as Xcelsius data source

If you are having trouble using Google spreadsheets as a data source for your Xcelsius dashboard, take a look at the business objects labs.

They have recently released an add on which allows you to use a Web 2.0 data source (Google spreadsheets for example).

The add on includes a few extra features such as Tag Clouds and Timelines.

Worth taking a look if you use Google spreadsheets.

17 tips to develop your career in Business Objects

1. Learn the basics of data warehouse design.

Start with the excellent book written by Ralph Kimball. Not only will the contents of this book help you understand the underlying data warehouse structures, it will also help you with universe design and report design.

2. Immerse yourself in the technology.

Keep up to date with news, blogs, white papers and articles on the subject. Buy and read books on the subject.

3. Volunteer for Business Objects work.

Show your enthusiasm. Let your managers and peers know that you’d like to work in that area. When they need someone, they may call you.

4. Consider a testing role.

If you are starting out, consider a testing or documentation role. By its very nature, you will become familiar with the various bits of functionality in that application.

5. Work on as many different Business Objects projects as possible.

Working for a consultancy is one way of achieving this. You will always pick up something new on every project.

6. Learn best practices.

Set yourself a high standard and follow it. Pick up best practices from your peers.

7. Get certified.

Becoming certified requires commitment, time and effort. It also helps you stand out from the crowd.

8. Use the software.

If you are learning Crystal, consider buying a personal copy of the Crystal software. Many books
have been written about Crystal. If you are learning Data Integrator or Enterprise, speak to your site manager. Licence issues permitting, you may be able to develop your skills in a development area in your own time. You can’t master Business Objects by reading.

9. Improve your existing setup.

Can current universe and report designs be improved? This may involve improving response times or improving the layout and readability of reports.

10. Specialise.

Become the ‘expert’ in a particular Business Objects niche – Data Integrator, Crystal, Enterprise or Xcelsius. Once you have mastered one area, take on another.

11. Be aware of competing products.

How do Business Objects products compare to products from other software vendors? Being able to discuss the merits of certain products against their competing products earns valuable kudos points.

12. Attend conferences and seminars.

Even better, speak at a conference. If anything will help your Business Objects career, this will.

13. Contribute to forums.

The best Business Objects forum in my opinion is BOB. Get involved. Build a name for yourself.

14. Know BI.

Have an awareness for Business Intelligence in general.

15. Write a blog!

Share your knowledge, expertise, issues and experiences with other people.

16. Keep an open mind.

You don’t know everything. You might think you do, but you don’t. So keep an open mind and keep your eyes and ears open. You might just learn something new.

17. Enjoy your work.

Enthusiasm is infectious and rubs off on other people. They will want you in their team.

RSS Feed

A few people have asked whether an RSS feed is available for this blog.

I didn’t set one up, but it appears that you can add this blog to your RSS reader in a number of ways:

To add this blog using a URL, type the following into your reader:

If you are using Firefox, you should see an RSS icon in far right of the URL bar:
If you are using IE, you will see an RSS icon on the toolbar:
I’m sure there are similar methods for users of other web browsers.

XI 3.1 – New Features

While I haven’t yet been able to get my hands on XI 3.1, I did recently have an opportunity to view a presentation on the new features of XI 3.1. I took down the following notes. Hopefully, they will be of use to readers of this blog:

  • Improved integration with Microsoft environment
  • Broader data access:
    • Databases: HP Neoview 2.3, SQL Server 2008, Netezza, Oracle 11g, Teradata 12
    • O/S: HP-UX Itanium (using a new 64 bit BI platform architecture, suitable for high end BOE deployments. (Deski not or Business View Manager didn’t make it to 64 bit. All other apps are 64bit), Red Hat 5, Windows Server 2008, Vista sp1
  • Greater integration with SAP environment
  • New integration solution for Oracle E-Business Suite
  • Easier self discovery in Voyager
  • Live Ofice enhancements
  • Microsoft Sharepoint integration
  • Choice of 32 or 64 bit BI platform architecture
  • Life cycle content management(replace import wizard)
  • Support for IP Next Generation
  • Global reach – 18 languages including 4 new ones

The main point appears to be the improved integration with the Microsoft platform, leveraging the MS stack by including native .NET support for Infoview, Webi and Deski. This will be good new for Microsoft ‘shops’.

I hope to put a bit more flesh on this once I get hold of XI 3.1 on a development machine.

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