One of the really, really, really, really cool new things (did I mention it is cool) that the forthcoming 7.5 SP3 web update provides is a user configurable dashboard interface.
Those of you that have used the SalesLogix LAN client have surely seen the Sales Dashboard that was provided. SalesLogix tried to give a graphical analytic tool using this, however the customization and modification of this area was daunting and had unique customization procedures that were hard to follow, including having to modify XML files and several very large VB scripts. It really was not a very flexible tool for tailoring its output to a specific need, rather it was more of a marketing “gee-whiz” eye-candy thing (technical term).
In comparison, the new web based dashboard is a really slick interface where a user can add there own dashboard tabs, and add or remove content to the tabs. All of this is handled right from the dashboard interface.
By selecting Add Content the user is then presented with a wizard to determine what kind of interface should be added and what that interface should display.
The choices for the interface include:
- Bar Chart-Displays data as a set of horizontal bars. Useful for comparing several sets of data.
- Column Chart-Displays data as a set of vertical bars grouped by category. Useful for showing data changes over a period of time or for illustrating comparisons among items.
- Default-Widget description goes here
- Funnel Chart-Displays data as progressive proportions in a funnel shape. The data is represented as portions of 100%, and there are no axes.
- Group List-Displays a list of group records by entity. For example, a group of active campaigns.
- Line Chart-Displays data as a series of data points connected by a line. Useful when the data represents many groups or categories.
- Links-Displays links you create. For example, to a detail view in Sage SalesLogix or to an external Web site.
- Pie Chart-Displays data as proportions of the whole. Each value is calculated as a percentage of the total. This chart has no axes.
- Recently Viewed-Displays links to recently viewed records with an icon that identifies the type. For example, Account or Contact.
- Today’s Activities-Displays links to your activities for today.
- Welcome-Displays an introduction to Sage SalesLogix with a link to the help topic Introducing Sage SalesLogix for Web.
Depending on the Interface type, you are then presented with prompts to identify the data the interface should display. For instance, if you select bar chart you are presented with this dialog:
Now the really cool thing about these custom dashboard widgets (remember I said they were really cool) is that these charts and controls can easily be used against custom entities as well as standard entities.
To enable analytics for custom entities the following three requirements must be met. Any widget with these three things can be used in any of the chart types:
- The entity must have at least one group defined. Adding groups should not be a problem, provided you have set up a main view for them with grouping enabled.
- The entity must have one or more Filters using “Distinct” or “Range” and also being defined as “Available for Analytics”. To do this open the Application Architect, navigate to an entity, open existing filters, or create new ones and in the properties window for that filter, you will find the “Available for Analytics” flag. Set it to true. You will also want to give it some kind of naming convention to define it as being used for analytics. The Filter description is used when viewing the dimensions in the various widget set up dialogs (like pie charts).
- The entity must have one or more Analytics Metric filters (also marked as “Available for Analytics”). To do this open the Application Architect, create a new filter for an Entity. For the filter type, choose “Analytics Metric Definition” or “Analytics Date Differencing Metric Definition”. Fill in the other information including setting Available for Analytics to true and providing an Analytics Description. The filters defined this way will show up in the Metrics list in the chart editor.