SAP BusinessObjects Explorer and Xcelsius End of Life Doesn’t Have to Mean End of World

Steve Jobs is often given credit for killing Adobe Flash when he penned his essay Thoughts on Flash in April 2010. At the time, Apple received heavy criticism for not allowing Adobe Flash on its new iPhone. After a lot of effort to make Adobe Flash viable, seven years later Adobe would come to the same conclusion in Flash and the Future of Interactive Content.

“We will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to new open formats.”

Adobe, Flash and the Future of Interactive Content, July 25, 2017

So regardless of which version of SAP’s analytics software your organization uses, Xcelsius (also known as Dashboards) and Explorer will stop working at the end of this year. And neither application will be supported in SAP’s forthcoming SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 suite, expected later this year.

The death of Xcelsius is understandable. After all, not only is its output in Adobe Flash, but the design software itself is built with Adobe Flash. SAP declared in its roadmaps that Design Studio (later rebranded as Lumira Designer) would be its answer to the end of Adobe Flash.

The death of Explorer is less understandable because it already had a non-Flash interface- as SAP’s first mobile analytics app on iOS and later integrated into its Mobile BI app. While SAP replaced Adobe Flash-based elements such as the BI monitoring dashboard with HTML 5, no such effort was made for Explorer.

It should come as no surprise that SAP is using this opportunity to direct customers toward SAP Analytics Cloud.

But since there are no automated translation tools to get you there, many organizations are also considering non-SAP analytics tools to replace Xcelsius/Dashboards and Explorer.

If you haven’t already, your SAP BI administrators should begin quantifying your organization’s use of these Adobe Flash-based products. To identify all evidence of Xcelsius or Dashboards, log into the Central Management Console. Navigate to the Folders management area, click on Object List in the folder tree, then click on the filter icon in the Type column.

Choose Dashboards, Flash, and Xcelsius from the list then click OK at the bottom.

The results list now shows all of the Xcelsius/Dashboards objects that should be removed from your SAP BusinessObjects system.

Now repeat the same procedure looking for Explorer objects. Change the filter on the Type column to look for Exploration View Set and Information Space objects.

The results list now shows all of the Explorer objects that should be removed from your SAP BusinessObjects system.

Of course, these steps will only tell you that Adobe Flash content is present in your system. The reality of this type of rip and replace means a careful evaluation of what content is left in these types, how often are they used, and how are they used within the organization is required before leading the organization to a successful outcome. Additional analysis of your SAP BI audit data, either directly or via add-on utilities such as Sherlock, can help inform a migration path.

Whether it’s following the SAP analytics roadmap, developing a multi-vendor analytics strategy, or building hybrid analytics architectures that span from on-premise to the cloud, EV Technologies is here to help. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss strategies for retiring Xcelsius and Explorer in your organization.

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