My wife was reading something called “deal news” and told me that there was a free download for something from SAP. It turned out to be Xcelsius (under its new name). I downloaded it just to have it but I probably won’t have time to play with it for a while since CR consulting is keeping me very busy. But if any of you are interested in playing with Xcelsius you can try it out for free. Note that it is no longer called Xcelsius, but is now known as “SAP Crystal Presentation Design”. Also note that a promotion like this usually indicates a new version of the software in the wings.
In general, I think interactive dashboards have their place. But the demand for them isn’t that strong within my customer base. People are much more likely to ask me for a good viewer or a good scheduler than for dials and gauges.
On the other hand I am reminded of two episodes from my early career.
1) The first version of CR that I saw (v4.5) didn’t impress me much compared to the report writer I was using at the time. Then within three years Crystal Reports had taken over my business.
2) In 1996 I told my girlfriend (now my wife) that the World Wide Web wasn’t ready for business. Within three years it was bring in most of my new customers.
So as long as things are changing, I try to stay flexible.