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Tutorial of SAP Digital Dashboard

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  • Tutorial of SAP Digital Dashboard

    Jiaofeng Lan, Shuo Sun, Sonam Sobti, Yangfan Deng

    December 11, 2013

    1 Introduction to SAP Crystal Dashboard

    1.1 What is Crystal Dashboard

    Dashboard is a powerful data visualization design tool belonging to SAP Crystal Solution Packagewhich is a series of Business Intelligence tools. The software can help enterprises take control ofcomplex data and give it meaning, turn raw data into sophisticated, interactive dashboards that willhelp clients understand your data more quickly and thoroughly. Crystal Dashboard use a simple pointand click interface to consolidate key information from multiple sources into dashboards to monitorbusiness performance. Dashboards with what-if analysis and visualizations such as charts, mapsand gauges present critical business key performance indicators (KPIs) with drillable, interactivedashboard views that can be deployed through SAP Crystal Server, or via Flash, documents, webapplications or mobile devices.

    1.2 Why Use Crystal Dashboard

    Crystal Dashboard is the first Dashboard software in the world and bridge the gap between dataanalysis and visual presentation. It has several features and benifits to make it a popular tool inenterpirse business intelligence application.

    Performance monitoringSimplify complex reports and data by consolidating them into actionalble, drillable dashboardin an understandable format with charts, maps and gauges.

    Platform independent information managementMake organized information available to everyone in multiple ways (Microsoft applications, webapplications, mobile devices, etc).

    Facilitate decision makingWith predictive models and real-time data, clients can can impact their decisions immediatelywith what-if analysis.


  • 1.3 When To Use Crystal Dashboard

    Crystal Dashboard is often a part of the business intelligence(BI) platform. Usually the keyclients of Crystal Dashboard is top management of a company. Because of the request of real-timeperformance on big-data and the popularity of evidence-based decision making, Crystal Dashboardhas more and more popular position in BI solutions. In these times, Crystal Dashboard has goodopportunities to produce its advantages:

    Provide real-time corporate information to management

    Simplify big data into understandable format

    Visualize complex reports and data

    Build predicting models and management models to facilitate decision making

    1.4 How to use Crystal Dashboard

    In a nutshell, Crystal Dashboard import from Excel spreadsheets or databases, provide userwith multiple digital dashboard component, connect data to different components, add interactivefeatures build what-if or other management scenarios and export dashboards into existing platformor applications.

    1.4.1 Installation

    Crystal is a Microsoft-Windows based software that cannot support Mac or Linux now. SAPCrystal Dashboard 2013 Departmental Edition can be downloaded from SAP website for a 30-daysfree trail. Two key technologies are combined in Crystal Dashboard: Microsoft Excel and AdobeFlash Player. The two applications are required before installation.

    1.4.2 Skill Needed

    Crystal Dashboard is designed to be easy to use. Since the core model of Dashboard is built inExcel, medium level of Excel knowledge is required. E.g. functions and formulas in Excel.

    1.4.3 Importing Data

    All Crystal Dashboard dashboards start using Excel spreadsheets often containing some data hav-ing gone through some analysis, massage, shaping data. Crystal Dashboard uses an Excel spreadsheetand imports a snapshot into memory snapshot. After the data is in memory, Crystal Dashboard dis-connects from the Excel spreadsheet. Separated from the actual spreadsheet data out this methodcan ensure two things. First of all, your ultimate instrument panel is a separate object, independentof the original spreadsheet position or status. Secondly, it ensures that your final dashboard size assmall as possible so that it is easy to distribute.

    Crystal Dashboard can also import data from different databases and web servers such as SAPCrystal Server. When Crystal Dashboard cooperate with other businesss intelligence softwares, thisdata importing method is more common.



  • 1.4.4 Building Visual Model

    Visual model is essentially a dashboard in design mode. Much like a PowerPoint slide, yourvisual model starts off as a blank canvas on which you can add components. Components are thoseelements that give your dashboard its utility and purpose: charts, gauges, menus, forms, and so on.The idea is a single component added to your visual model, tying each component, importing thedata. Experienced users will apply finicial and management model in dashboad. E.g. Figure 1 is afiniance balance table applied in Crystal Dashboard.

    Figure 1: Balance Sheet With Crystal Dashboard

    1.4.5 Export Dashboads

    After you are satisfied with functionality and visual appearance of your model, Crystal Dashboardis ready to compile it. First, Crystal Dashboard compiles your visual model to SWF file format.Compiled into a SWF file format ensures that your final dashboard play smoothly on any screen sizeand across multiple platforms. Moreover, this ensures a small file size of the dashboard, so as not todrown your user with gigantic 40MB file.

    After the visual model has been compiled to a SWF file, it is then published to a format of yourchoice. You can choose to publish your dashboard to PowerPoint, Outlook, an HTML Web page,an Adobe Acrobat PDF file, or a Macromedia Flash file. At this point, your dashboard is ready tofacilate your information management!

    2 Example of Model Building

    The interface of Crystal Dashboard is divided into 4 main parts. The left part is components list.The upper middle part is the canvas for Dashboards. the lower middle part is Excel spreadsheet.The right part is attribute of component.(Figure 2)


  • Figure 2: Crystal Dashboard Interface

    2.1 Introduction to Crystal Dashboard Components

    Crystal Dashboard contains nine kinds of components: Charts, Containers, Selectors, Single value,Maps, Text, Other, Art and backgrounds and Web connectivity.

    2.2 Example 1 Create a Bar Charts With Selectors

    1. Import data into Excel spreadsheet. The data contains products sales data of 7 products fromJanuary to April.

    Figure 3: Product Sales Data

    2. Add a column chart (in chart) and a list box (in selector) into the canvas.

    Figure 4: Original Dashboard


  • 3. Create label for list box

    Figure 5: Product label

    Click link button in label option in components property, then link it to the product labelcells(Figure 5) in Excel.

    Figure 6: Product Sales Data

    4. Create dynamic data area and link it to the components.

    Figure 7: Dynamic Data Area

    (a) Create an area in excel as dynamic area for column charts.

    (b) Click the list box. In its property area, click general option. In data insertion area: makeinsertion type Row.

    (c) Link the source data to the area of purchase quantity of each products of each month.

    (d) Link the destination data to the yellow dynamic data area

    (e) When you click each item in list box, it will insert the according line into the dynamicarea.

    5. Link the charts to dynamic data.

    (a) Click the chart.

    (b) In the property area, link the chart to the first cell of dynamic area. (the name of product).

    (c) Write the subtitle name as Purchase by Month.

    (d) In data area, choose by series.

    (e) Click the plus button at the bottom of the series, add a new series Purchase.

    (f) Link the value to the last four cells of dynamic data area (the purchase quantity of eachmonth).

    (g) Link the category labels to the month area.


  • 6. Preview the model

    Click button and you will see the preview below. Preview mode can help to test and debug.

    Figure 8: Final Dashboard In Preview Mode

    7. Export the model

    Click file menu, choose export. Then choose the format you want to export. E.g. export it as.swf file. You can insert swf file into webpage, slides or documents.

    2.3 Example 2 US Sales Map

    1. Dashboard(Please click and test the function!)

    2. Function of this module:

    Click each state, the pie chart will show percentage of each product of each state. Click each state, the table will show sales data of each state in detail. The color of each state is alert of each of sales data. If it is red, then the sales data is too



  • 3. The spreadsheet of this module:

    2.4 Example 3 Personal Finances Budget

    1. Dashboard(Please click and test the function!)

    2. Function of this module

    The tab page provides chart and table modes. In Chart model, user can get the trend andconstitute of his budget and actual expense.

    Click the drop down menu at the left top of the module, choose one of the option youwant to see details. The Year to Date Total chart and Budget vs Total chart will changeaccording to users options. Click the table option user can get details in tables.

    In What-if analysis, user can drag the slider to change the budget of each cost option.The three charts will change according to the change of each option.


  • The scenario function can save, load and delete the budget scenarios. User can use thisfunction by clicking the scena

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