Happy New Year 2009!!!

I, Kalyan Verma and the Team of MyXcelsius wish all our Readers, Visitors and Fans a Very Happy New Year 2009!

Heat Maps: Part III – How to Read One?

In Part I and Part II of the series, you have seen “What are Heat Maps?” and “Why use them?”. In the final post of this series, we will be focusing on “How to Read a Heat Map?”

Here are few Demos you can use while reading this post:

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Heat maps represent information from databases and spreadsheets visually as rectangles, with important characteristics of individual data items used to determine the size, color and layout of the rectangles. In general:

  • Size maps to relevance, such as the size of an opportunity or the total budget for a project.
  • Color maps to urgency; like the potential upside of an opportunity, the cost or time overrun on a project, risk levels, or the number of security incidents at a network site.
  • Grouping of rectangles is tied to category information, such as department, manager, location, or type of product or application.

When these three visual cues are combined in a heat map, it becomes straightforward to:

  • Identify which information is the most important, for example, the opportunities or threats that involve the largest financial impact, since the associated rectangle or group of rectangles is large.
  • See urgent issues such as particularly high risks or overruns, since the associated rectangles have a color that stands out from other data.
  • Discover trends or interesting patterns, such as generally higher or lower performance or risk associated with a particular region, manager, type of product, etc., since grouping related records together spatially allows detailed data represented by size or color to be seen in context.

Heat Maps: Part II – Why Use Them?

Part I of this series explains “What are Heap Maps?”. In Part II, the focus is on “Why to Use them?

Heat maps empower executives, managers and front-line personnel by directly addressing the challenges they face in processing and understanding the data they deal with daily, challenges that arise from powerful trends that are transforming how organizations function.

The Explosion of Data

There is an exploding volume of data to be processed:  we have more ways to gather data, more sources to gather data from, and more ways to combine that data to generate still more data than ever before. As a result, most organizations find themselves buried in information. The challenge is not finding data, it is learning to extract that which is truly valuable

The Proliferation of Complexity

Complexity is rising just as fast as volume, reflecting a surge in the complexity of what we seek to describe. For example, there has been a tremendous proliferation of new business models – how businesses interact with their customers or partners or combine elements of their supply chains – and fundamental shifts in requirements for marketing, with dramatically narrower segmentation of customers based on increasing amounts of information. This complexity means that traditional measures are often meaningless. Businesses must learn to dive much deeper into their data to understand what is going on.

There is an exploding volume of data to be processed: we have more ways to gather data, more sources to gather data from, and more ways to combine that data to generate still more data than ever before. As a result, most organizations find themselves buried in information. The challenge is not finding data, it is learning to extract that which is truly valuable

The Acceleration of Change

Change today means that if you’re not ready now, you’ve already missed your chance. Almost everything that a business does is accelerating. Simply to keep up, businesses must continuously decrease the time it needs to respond to a supply glitch, or to a new market opportunity, to develop a new product, or to counter a competitor’s move. In effect, the time available to leverage the value of any information is continually shrinking.

The Value of Collaboration

Being connected is central to being effective. Outsourcing of growing numbers of activities to external partners, supply chain innovation, and globalization all lead to increasing collaboration between groups within an organization, across organizations, across locations, and across cultures. Collaboration makes good communication crucial: if communication is not consistently effective, clear and timely, collaboration breaks down and with it a key factor in business success.


To stay ahead of these trends, businesses need tools that can provide an edge in handling the increasing volume and complexity of information, in communicating information and analysis effectively, and to do all of it quickly. That is precisely the kind of edge that heat maps provide.

Video: Trend Analyzer: Combining Data Analysis and Visualization

trendanalyzerOften many components in Xcelsius are not used to their full potential. This may be because of the generic business requirements or lack of developers knowledge on the components repository in Xcelsius 2008. One such component is the Trend Analyzer. The Trend Analyzer combines data analysis and visualization. The component analyzes the data selection and provides an additional data series that can be plotted to display a trend line. The Trend Analyzer component does not display in the visualization. You can find the Trend Analyzer under the Other Category of the Components Browser in design mode of Xcelsius 2008. If used appropriately, this component can be a powerful trick to show trends within Xcelsius based dashboards.

Below is a demonstration of Trend Analyzer. You can find the same in Xcelsius 2008 User Guide, however without screenshots.

This is what you can achieve using Trend Analyzer:

It’s Interactive:

The steps below will produce a working visualization that will demonstrate the use of Trend Analyzer: Continue reading →

Part III: Live Dashboards using BO LiveOffice – Create an Xcelsius Dashboard bound to Live Office data

This is Part III of the “Live Dashboards using BO LiveOffice” Series. In Part I, Kalyan Verma Introduces LiveOffice and its connection with Xcelsius 2008. In Part II Muhammed Ismail, walks us through the steps on “How to Create a LiveOffice Document and connect it to BusinessObjects Universe data”. In this final Part of the series, Muhammed walks us through the steps on How to bind Xcelsius Components to LiveOffice data and create a live dashboard.

Note: Muhammed used Xcelsius 4.5 to achieve this. He will be posting an Xcelsius 2008 version of the same procedure soon.

This article discussed below shows countries in the Asian region that participated in a survey. The live data is fed from the Business Objects universe; when the number of Asian countries in the universe data increases or decrease the map chart color will change and the number of countries will get updated.

Continue reading →