For the upcoming SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards Cookbook I had the pleasure to try some of the coolest add-ons for SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (fka Xcelsius). One of them was the DashConn add-on by IdeaCrop. This add-on enables us to connect dashboards to real-time data from the popular CRM-cloud solution Salesforce.com. Let’s have a look at the features of this add-on.
After installing the add-on a new component is added: Salesforce.com DataViewer. This component is used to establish the connection with Salesforce.com and to display the data from Salesforce.com. It actually works as an interactive grid in which you can set filters, aggregate data and drill-down/up in the report data.
In the properties pane we can – after logging in with our Salesforce.com credentials – select the Salesforce.com report we want to use. So in fact the only thing you need to get Salesforce.com data into your dashboard is a proper Salesforce.com report that provides all the data you want to use. There is no need to set up XML-data connections or other solutions that will take a lot of time to build. Just select a report from the list.
An interesting feature is the option to bind data to the spreadsheet. With this we can use the data from the Salesforce.com reports in other Dashboard Design components like charts and gauges. Not only the total result set can be bound to the spreadsheet, but also the selected rows can be bound separately! This enables us to make really interactive dashboards.
Another option here is to use Dynamic Prompts. For example you can use a slider component to set the minimal number of leads. The output in the DataViewer component then will only show the events that meet this dynamic requirement.
By default the component is configured to make a connection to Salesforce.com and retrieve live data. There is an option to set the Working Mode to Offline, which means that the first level of report data is embedded within the dashboard. Now the dashboard is still usable without an internet connection. The Fallback Mode tries to retrieve live report data first, and when this fails the cached data is used.
So what if you don’t want to use the Salesforce.com DataViewer component and you just want to load the report data into the spreadsheet and set up standard Dashboard Design components? DashConn features a Data Connection in the Data Manager that provides all of the features of the component. Additionally it has the Usage tab just like the other data connectors in the Data Manager in which you can define when the data should be refreshed.
I like this add-on. Just select a report and the component does almost all the work for you. With the Data Output and/or Data Connection features you can make the dashboard as interactive and advanced as you want. The user guide even shows how to publish the dashboard back to Salesforce.com so it can be used from within Salesforce.com itself.
Check the demos, tutorials and free trial at the IdeaCrop website.