Product Summary: e.Spreadsheet
Actuate e.Spreadsheet is an easy-to-use spreadsheet development and deployment
product for creating sophisticated business spreadsheets. Unlike other spreadsheet
tools, e.Spreadsheet uses a unique Excel-like template report creation paradigm,
empowering a broad range of users to produce the data-driven, analysis-ready
spreadsheet documents required by business professionals in the enterprise. These
spreadsheets can include everything from simple listing reports to pivot tables
to the more complicated multidimensional matrix workbooks used in financial
planning and forecasting. When coupled with the PDF generation module available
in the latest version of Actuate, e.Spreadsheet can meet more generalized reporting
Report deployment—including business-friendly data access, security, scheduling,
distribution, and archiving—is provided through an option available on Actuate
iServer. iServer ensures that e.Spreadsheet reports are delivered in a managed
fashion, avoiding the multiple versions of the truth associated with the typical
decentralized reporting approach.
All Actuate products run in a Rich Internet Applications-ready server environment
and benefit from its unique Collaborative Reporting Architecture, which empowers
every user in the enterprise with access to data in an application tailored to their
own skill level, presented in a familiar, analysis-ready interface.
Microsoft Excel© is installed on more than 90 percent of desktop computers worldwide and is used for reporting by more than 58 percent of business professionals in the Fortune 500. It’s no surprise that when business users want to create, view, drill into, manipulate, and graph enterprise information, the majority of them want to do this in an Excel spreadsheet.
With Actuate’s e.Spreadsheet, that’s what they get: live business data delivered securely on demand as easy-to-use and familiar Excel spreadsheets, with all formatting, formulas and graphs intact. Users are no longer required to reformat from flat .csv files; use custom scripting or unstable plugins; employ complicated querying; or cut, paste and manually enter data, which invariably leads to entry errors. Instead, users receive complete information direct from the source, pre-formatted and ready for analysis. While business users get business data just the way they need it, IT retains complete control over mission-critical data. This is accomplished with zero training and low maintenance and deployment costs.
Fast spreadsheet creation
With e.Spreadsheet Designer, users create a spreadsheet design that defines both the data to retrieve and the format of the resulting Excel document delivered to each user. Based on user roles and the selected data, one design can create unique spreadsheets for hundreds or thousands of different business users. Authors can define spreadsheet designs across multiple business units and time periods, creating spreadsheets that “roll” from unit to unit or period to period without changing the data-retrieval criteria.
The design environment closely resembles the Excel application itself, leveraging existing Excel expertise to speed development time. Powerful menu options and wizards contribute to making the spreadsheet creation process fast and straightforward, without the need for writing code. Use wizard-based selections to
format cells and worksheets, adjust formulas and data grouping, summarize data automatically, insert graphs and pivot tables, and more.
Users can also create and customize a wide array of charts, including 3D graphs, as well as connect e.Spreadsheet designs to a variety of data sources— including Actuate’s unique Information Objects-based metadata layer, any database, XML data sources or Java objects—quickly and easily.
Once designs are created in the e.Spreadsheet Designer, it’s easy to publish them to the Actuate iServer where they become available to end users.
Server-based spreadsheet deployment
Corporations with a high dependency on Excel spreadsheets often face challenges: multiple versions of the same report, inconsistent formula definitions, and multiple, department-centric spreadsheet data silos, ultimately resulting in multiple versions of the truth. In addition, there are often high personnel costs and low productivity associated with the human spreadsheet servers who generate the Excel documents.
The e.Spreadsheet Designer closely resembles the Excel interface, leveraging existing Excel expertise to speed up spreadsheet development.
The e.Spreadsheet Option for Actuate iServer helps IT overcome these issues by providing server-controlled spreadsheet management throughout the enterprise, as well as the extended network of suppliers, distributors, and customers. The iServer handles housekeeping tasks such as scheduling, data refresh, scalable generation, security, authentication and archiving, ensuring that IT professionals and end-users alike get fast, automated access to the most accurate, up-to-date spreadsheets in Excel.
The components required to deploy and produce Actuate e.Spreadsheets include the e.Spreadsheet Designer, the e.Spreadsheet Engine (for Java
developers) , or the e.Spreadsheet option running in an i.ServerEnterprise or i.Server Express environment, also available from Actuate (actuate.com).
Features and Benefits
e.Spreadsheet Designer is an easy-to-use report development tool for creating authentic Excel files and reports that retain formulas, formatting and live charts.
e.Spreadsheet Designer is for report developers and Excel experts who rely heavily on Excel to perform their jobs and want to automatically populate files with new data and modify them to accommodate different audiences.
eSpreadsheet Designer is also used by Java
developers to design spreadsheet templates that will be leveraged with e.Spreadsheet engine as part of an application.
Reliable Spreadsheet Reporting Paradigm
eSpreadsheet Designer is visual development environment designed specifically for authoring Excel reports supporting a rich array of Excel features. e.Spreadsheet Designer establishes a reporting spreadsheet paradigm that supports repeatable and reliable spreadsheet reporting processes.
• – reads existing Excel files and uses them as a starting point for new designs.
• - abstracts the design from the generated reports to better support repeated reuse, and allow what-if modification by end-users without introducing errors in the source design.
• - provides a quick overview of a report infrastructure including data sources, data sets, parameters and security settings, as well as scripting definitions.
Flexible Spreadsheet Report Design
e.Spreadsheet Designer supports defining data queries and virtually all of Excel’s functions.
Excel feature support
• – supports pivot tables, conditional formatting, multiple worksheets, data filters, adding and naming worksheets, merging cells, sorting data, creating data groups, inserting rows and columns, and adding graphs.
• - lets you quickly format data from a query into a spreadsheet report using dynamic cell references for defining formulas, calculations and totals using Excel syntax.
Three-dimensional multi-sheet crosstab workbooks •
- includes cross-sheet references such as a table of contents or a summary worksheet that subtotals the values on other worksheets with exact control over the ordering of the tabs.
Visual query editor
• – builds a query and verifies that the data connections are defined correctly and that the correct tables were chosen.
• – sets up dynamic cascading user prompts that filter the data or affect the structure of the spreadsheet that is rendered.
• – generates Excel reports that sort, sum and flip data for analysis.
2D and 3D Excel charts
• – supports Excel charts including column, line, area, step, bar, combination, pie, doughnut, XY (scatter) and bubble.
eSpreadsheet Designer generates the final Excel file layout at run time based on the latest data and user input, unlike fixed boundary templates built in Excel An e.Spreadsheet design won’t break when data exceeds the template, especially in a time series.
Automatic expand and contract
• – reports expand and contract as dictated by the data, such as columns expand across the page, rows down the page, with outlining features.
• – in addition to bursting data down rows and across columns it also supports bursting across worksheets.
The query design editor users Microsoft Access-like interfaces to guide the spreadsheet author through the query creation process
• - Built-in understanding of date relationships so it can automatically group data into months and quarters.
Multiple data source access
• – data from multiple data sources can be a incorporated into one spreadsheet.
e.Spreadsheet Engine is an API-driven, Java-based component that integrates spreadsheet logic into Java applications and generates spreadsheets with timely and accurate application data. It can be used to automate any manual spreadsheet process. Java development and work teams can read, write, modify and generate entire spreadsheets or parts of spreadsheets to accomplish two tasks:
Give users a rich spreadsheet reporting experience •
with an Excel-like interface and functionality Leverage existing spreadsheet models to drive •
business logic in an application
Automated, web-based spreadsheets
The e.Spreadsheet Engine generates output that offers a high level of Excel compatibility with support for important features including pivot tables, conditional formatting, multiple worksheets, data filters, and more. The output can be delivered over the web and viewed in a browser.
• - accesses data and generates a fully functional Excel file populated with current values which can be delivered over the web and viewed in a browser using the local Excel client.
Dynamic generation at run-time
• - designs and generates an Excel file based on user input at run-time, with or without a pre-existing Excel design file.
• - generates Excel-compatible 2D and 3D charts programmatically to embed in applications., and supports many chart types including column, line, area, step, bar, combination, pie, doughnut, XY (scatter), bubble, pie-of-pie, bar-of-pie, and stock.
Spreadsheet user interface
• - embeds Excel-like grids in an application for a richer user experience.
Read, parse and calculation functions
The e.Spreadsheet Engine APIs provide access to the complex logic and formulas in spreadsheets that end users have already built and calculates up-to-date
Spreadsheet file reading
• - parses values, formulas and cell attributes from an Excel file and uploads them to other applications.
• - performs the calculations defined in Excel spreadsheets to provide the results of formulas to an application.
• - creates an image from a chart with drill-to-detail capabilities and embeds that image in a web page.
Multiple usage paradigms
The e.Spreadsheet Engine and Excel APIs can be used independently or with the e.Spreadsheet Designer to act as an Excel calculation engine, a spreadsheet generator or an existing spreadsheet reader. The product is 100% pure Java, so that it integrates efficiently into existing Java environments and applications.
• – uses the Engine and APIs to perform Excel formula calculations in an application.
• – uses the APIs to generate a spreadsheet from scratch in virtually any Java environment.
Spreadsheet designer and generator
• – uses the e.Spreadsheet Designer product to design a spreadsheet, then uses the APIs to integrate the spreadsheet into an application that will in turn tell the Engine when and for whom to generate the report.
Report wizards make spreadsheet creation fast and easy.
6 e.Spreadsheet option on i.Server or i.Server Express
e.Spreadsheet goes far beyond most spreadsheet solutions on the market today. The application:
Completes 90% of the work of building a spreadsheet; •
the “design blueprint” makes the difference between productive and non-productive time spent working with a spreadsheet, shifting the focus from the application to the information
Possesses the power of an enterprise-class report •
authoring tool, with the ease-of-use and familiarity of the most common spreadsheet application on earth: Excel.
In addition, e.Spreadsheet provides:
Multiple data-source integration •
Enterprise-level security, storage, and administrative •
Top-level layout, with the additional benefit of an •
archived, reusable design blueprint that enables administrators to trace inconsistencies inadvertently introduced later on in the spreadsheet production process
Spreadsheet “safety,” when the e.Spreadsheet design •
tool is used. Every document is created by a power Excel® user or a developer, and end users simply modify, rather than create, reports
Ease of use that enables end users to take full •
advantage of the extras Excel® provides, including outlining, pivot tables, conditional formatting, graphing, defined data filtering, and using multiple worksheets (90% of workbooks in use today contain more than one worksheet). Most other spreadsheet
automation solutions are limited to a single worksheet Actuate 10 benefits include enhancements in the way e.Spreadsheet reports run on iServer:
Improved report generation performance for •
Simplified configuration of e.Spreadsheet option •
Support for .pdf generation •
Controlled view-time parameter requester pages •
Personalized views via view-time parameters •
Joined and view-time data sets •
Enhanced IDAPI calls to support view-time parameters •
Protected, SmartSheet™ security •
Process flow for SmartSheet™ Security: A single report “design blueprint” executes and runs queries against production data sources ahead of time and produces a master spreadsheet catalog, which is stored on the iServer. Later, individual users log on to the iServer to retrieve their spreadsheets. User privileges are then used to render a personalized Excel® spreadsheet that contains only the data and report components a user is authorized to see.
A (Baker’s) Dozen Reasons to Use Actuate e.Spreadsheet
e.Spreadsheet was developed to change the way spreadsheets are created, used and distributed throughout the enterprise. In addition to the features and benefits above, e.Spreadsheet offers significant improvements over other spreadsheet software. e.Spreadsheet:
Improves spreadsheet report automation and generation: e.Spreadsheet was not developed simply to create reports; it solves one of 1.
the oldest problems with Excel which is uniform, large-scale report distribution. However, individuals can certainly create reports with e.Spreadsheet Designer.
Offers an elastic organizational structure: The design blueprint dictates how the spreadsheet is expanded, allowing it to grow 2.
as needed without breaking. For example, it isn’t necessary to know how many kinds of widgets your company carries in advance of building your spreadsheet—the spreadsheet design blueprint will derive that from the data and expand without breaking the report. Dependably generates information: e.Spreadsheet templates don’t break, especially in a time series. For example, a
spreadsheet with four quarters of sales information will “break” when the data rolls over into a new year. Excel templates fail unless they are modified to include new quarters. e.Spreadsheet solves this problem.
Solves the problem of mass spreadsheet distribution: e.Spreadsheet eliminates the spreadsheet silos that abound in most businesses. 4.
SmartSheet™ Security enables businesses to distribute reports to many individuals within a controlled environment. Each user receives only the information he or she is authorized to see.
Delivers data in an analysis-ready format, while still allowing for flexibility: Report authors use queries to obtain data from multiple 5.
sources. The template or blueprint design is then finalized, providing the spreadsheet’s structure, security and functionality. This distribution process enables users to receive ready-made reports instead of the usual data dumps that require formatting, re-entering formulas, etc. The end user is then able to alter the spreadsheet to suit his or her own needs, changing values or modifying formulas without rebuilding the spreadsheet.
Mitigates fraud: With e.Spreadsheet and SmartSheet™ Security, IT is always in control of the spreadsheet, as they hold 6.
the original master record—the pre-distribution report—safely archived for ready reference. If a spreadsheet is
incorrectly modified after distribution it can be proven, without requiring an extensive (and exhausting) paper trail audit that could extend backward for years.
Delivers actionable information: Real-time, data-source information can be combined with derived-value data as it is delivered on 7.
demand, pre-formatted and ready to use. Users can retrieve their spreadsheets often and make important business decisions based on current, relevant data.
Deploys on an enterprise platform: e.Spreadsheet arms adopters with all the benefits of a world-class reporting system, utilizing the 8.
tool with which users are already familiar—Excel—reducing time-to-market and virtually guaranteeing adoption.
Scales to accommodate every user, anywhere: Actuate iServer email and Web delivery enable anyone with the proper authorization to 9.
begin working with reports, regardless of where the reports were created.
Generates multiple reports from one design: Minimizes query hits against source systems, reducing IT management and 10.
Automatically creates whole workbooks: Dynamically calculates the number of individual worksheets that will be required. 11.
This is useful for creating groupings by worksheet and overcoming the 64,000-row limit in older Excel versions.
Liberates server space: e.Spreadsheet produces only required reports and delivers them directly and solely to the users that 12.
created them and to those designated as report recipients, reducing server hits and load.
Incorporates 15 years of Actuate experience: e.Spreadsheet is a mature software tool, the culmination of Actuate’s experience 13.
8 e.Spreadsheet encourages user self-service while allowing for collaboration across all skill levels.
Collaborative reporting architecture can be deployed and configured to address the needs of almost any type of reporting project in any business environment:
Embedded Java Reporting Kit:
• iPortal, BIRT, Interactive Viewer and BIRT Report Studio can be seamlessly embedded within larger Java applications to provide advanced reporting, printing and formatting features.
iServer Express Deployments:
• iServer Express is an implementation of iServer technology for deploying BIRT and e.Spreadsheet. Unlike other server
environments, iServer Express was designed to fit into any size deployment and provides reliable and secure server functions while delivering Information Object metadata and data integration capabilities.
iServer Enterprise Deployments:
• iServer provides high-scale performance, reliability and security, and supplies Information Object metadata and multi-server and multi-project capabilities to enterprise collaborative reporting projects.
iServer Express is an integral member of Actuate’s collaborative reporting architecture, which brings the principles of open source to reporting applications and encourages participation, iterative development and modularity. iServer Express drives business user self-service in collaborative reporting.
The entire collaborative reporting architecture includes:
Actuate BIRT Reports: web reports based on open-source BIRT technology from the Eclipse project, available without charge from www.birt-exchange.com.
Actuate BIRT Report Studio
• : self-service, ad-hoc web report development within IT control
• : end user report viewing and customization
• : single-server installation of iServer for easy and fast deployment of BIRT and e.Spreadsheet
options. iServer Express can be set up and running reports in one hour, enables the use of Information Objects, and includes scheduling, versioning, and archiving functions, allowing users to run both on-demand and scheduled reports without IT intervention but within IT-control
• : highly scalable implementation of Actuate services which adds to iServer Express e.Reports; Analytics and Actuate Query support; server, multi-project support; high-availability clustering, failover and load balancing; metadata caching; and enterprise management and tuning features
These options provide an array of choices from which to create unique information applications that appeal to any user.
Within the collaborative reporting architecture structure, report designs can be shared among highly skilled report developers, business users and consumers. This encourages participation and supports an iterative report development environment, which speeds development and adoption of information applications.
Overall system requirements vary with options chosen. For a system analysis based on your specific needs, please contact an Actuate expert at 1-800-914-2259 (US & Canada) or contact us by email. You can also contact one of our offices worldwide.
For More Information
To get more information about e.Spreadsheets please contact an Actuate expert at 1-800-914-2259 (US & Canada) or contact us by email. You can also contact one of our offices worldwide.