Some time has passed by since SAP launched its new dashboard tool Design Studio as replacement for both Xcelcius and Web Application Designer (WAD). This was really needed, both Xcelcius as well as the WAD had considerably disadvantages and difficulties in meeting the increased demand as well as new requirements for dashboard design. The desire for a dashboard that could display information in a foreseeable way, with a smart navigation and super performance was in many cases just a dream, which in some cases unfortunately also ended in a nightmare.
Xcelsius was excellent for creating beautiful dashboards, but often on a terrible data model and with questionable performance. The opposite could be said about the WAD. With the introduction of Design Studio SAP has managed to make a tool that can create great looking dashboards in a proper data model and with good performance.
During recent years, Innologic has made several Design Studio dashboards and gradually obtained a lot of experience. Generally speaking we are very satisfied with dashboards created in Design Studio and more importantly so are our customers.
Visualization for dummies
One of the major advantages of the Design Studio is the almost endless possibilities for designing and formatting your dashboards. And this without even necessarily being an expert in visualization and going into overdrive over bar charts, color coding and logo placement. As a developer, you are often guided by a company’s Corporate Visual Identity (CVI), which sets the general rules for presentation of information. In this way you can quickly get started and relatively fast make a fancy dashboard. It is extremely important to remember to implement this CVI in connection with the start of a dashboard project to achieve a consistent visual experience from the start.
If you absolutely must mention a downside it is paradoxically, the possibilities for design and formatting. More wants more (and now you can actually get it) and you risk chasing a mirage of wishes and requirements for visualization, but when it succeed it really turns out good and is well worth the effort.
The bling-effect of a strong visual design is further enhanced by the fact that the performance in Design Studio is really good. Furthermore, the ongoing supplement of new functionality for performance optimization makes it possible to create complex dashboards that can be executed in seconds.
According to the latest roadmap from SAP, Design Studio will only be developed in relation to the BO platform. This means no direct connection to BW and HANA. It is a shame because it works fine directly on SAP BW. If you have been unlucky and already made dashboards directly on BW or HANA you can fairly easy migrate these to the BO platform by saving them as templates and subsequently link the same data sources via the BO platform.
One reason for this development may be that Design Studio is mainly developed in order to make dashboards for mobile devices, which is executed via the Business Objects platform, which is not a bad argument.
All in all, SAP has managed to create a great tool for producing dashboards so stop dreaming now and start making dashboards!