BiX and PrecisionPoint

BIX Software and PrecisionPoint are pleased to announce the renewal of the partnership in January 2020.  BIX has provided our standard Excel based OLAP reporting for a number of year now and our customers enjoy the simplicity of use and the capability to produce sophisticated financial reports with ease.  PrecisionPoint’s CEO, Andrew Mennie  said  “We are particularly pleased to see the news about the recent acquisition of BIX by XLCubed and excited to hear about the forward plans. The product is used extensively across our global customer base and partner network and to hear the commitment to continued high quality support was important to us and we have already seen this in action.  Hearing about future roadmap integrating elements of XLCubed Technology including Microcharts is a really positive message.“

BIX Software and XLCubed  COO,  Gary Crawford said “I am happy to see the endorsement to our BIX Software strategy from PrecisionPoint who are an important customer and we look forward to working with them and their customers to deliver added value.  The synergies between the XLCubed and BIX products was one of the primary reasons for the acquisition alongside enabling a direct presence in the French market.”


About PrecisionPoint

PrecisionPoint Software is a global software company with offices in both the UK and US and a customer base spanning 20 different countries in 4 continents providing the powerful combination of PrecisionPoint and Microsoft Dynamics.  We give insight and ease of reporting to all your key company data in and around Microsoft Dynamics.  The PrecisionPoint data warehouse gives a unique visualization of all the transactional data (from sales, purchasing, inventory etc.) so that you can easily spot trends, opportunities and issues.  The  single data warehouse guarantees accuracy and financial integrity as well as speed of access as it is fully integrated into your Microsoft Dynamics transactional engine.

Introduction to new management team

Mark Scanlon, the founder, majority shareholder and CEO of XLCubed Ltd will  add the roles of Chairman and CEO of BIX Software to his responsibilities.

Mark established XLCubed in 2003 after realizing why Business Users were always exporting data to Excel based on his experiences with customers at Major Oil companies at the first company he founded, IIS Ltd.   IIS had provided consulting services to the Oil industry since 1990 and specialized in latter years in delivering sophisticated Fuels Pricing software which collected vast amounts of market data which were then analysed using complex algorithms, including machine learning,  to recommend prices for each selling location.    Mark designed and developed significant elements of the commercial package that was sold into 50 countries around the world pricing both retail and b2b outlets.

Mark split his time between IIS and XLCubed until 2018 when IIS was sold to PDI, a US private equity backed large Oil industry software vendor.  XLCubed was a key part in the success of the solution as customers wanted adhoc, fast access to the rich data that the FuelsPricing application collected with datasets measured in the terrabytes.

During this period XLCubed product and customer base grew significantly such that it is recognized as one of the premier independent excel based BI tools with over 1000 customers globally.

Mark now focuses on the strategic vision of the XLCubed business and M&A activity.  In 2019,  two transactions were completed adding the IBCS based visualization technology Message from pmOne and BIX Software.

Outside of work, Mark is a keen golfer and in his younger days rarely missed the opportunity to play for Bristol University and then Wycombe Pirates Basketball club in the London leagues. This is now replaced by watching high quality basketball be it the NBA or march madness when travelling to visit customers/partners in the US.


Gary Crawford the COO of XLCubed adds the role of COO of BIX Software to his responsibilities. 

After a year in a graduate IT position within the retail sector Gary joined IIS Ltd, a consultancy focused on the Oil and Gas industry. Initially involved in the UK application support team for one of the largest oil majors he gained a wide range of exposure to different aspects of the business particularly in downstream. Gary was involved in a number tactical solutions addressing niche areas of the business, and went on to manage the application support team handling business critical applications including fuels pricing applications for both retail and business to business.

Having had responsibility for a number of large scale MIS systems, Gary was delighted to take up the opportunity to move to XLCubed and focus on the rapidly growing business intelligence arena.

As COO at XLCubed Gary has worked with corporate clients across many sectors globally, and has helped drive a successful global partner network which spans large international IT providers through to regionally focused BI players. Gary enjoys helping to steer product direction, with customer and partner input, and has a strong interest in data visualisation having spoken at a number of conferences on the topic.

Outside work Gary enjoys spending time with family and friends, and a good book or movie.  Gary enjoys most sports, particularly football though moreso as a spectator these days be it Premier League or on the sidelines at grassroots level passing on his expertise to one of his sons…


Completing the management team, Jean-Christophe Cabot is the Product Manager for BIX Software

Over the last 25 years, Jean-Christophe handled many growing responsibilities from Support Specialist, Training Department Manager, BI Consultant, Pre-Sales Engineer, Pre-Sales Manager, Principal Consultant and Product Manager.

During these years, Jean-Christophe endorsed various roles in order to serve major international companies such as as Oracle, Crédit Agricole, Airbus, Carrefour, Auchan, Axa, Alcatel, Edf, L’Oréal, MCDonald’s, Google, Pfizer, Cap Gemini, Caisse d’Epargne, Kantar World Panel or Société Générale.

Originally from a business training background, his interested in technology led him to develop several areas of expertise related to the BI space.  From BI solution deployment, to sophisticated modeling or software development, he rallies both expertise from technology and business operations stand point.

Jean-Christophe is thrilled to join a team of people with the same mindset, dedicated to serve business users thanks to new exciting technologies.

When not at work, Jean-Christophe is fortunate to often share his deep interests for jazz, travel and sport with some dear friends or his wonderful children.

XLCubed acquires BIX Software


With a New Year and new decade we axlcubedre pleased to announce a new start for BIX  Software.  In late December the purchase of BIX Software by the owners of XLCubed was completed.

XLCubed has been a leading Excel-centric BI vendor for many years and is based in the UK with a worldwide customer base, including some shared customers with BIX.  XLCubed has grown significantly in the last decade and has circa 1,000 customers across many industries and operates through an extensive partner network.  It has its history in providing solutions to some of the world’s biggest multi-national companies. BIX was XLCubed’s second M&A activity of 2019 and we expect further activity in this area in 2020.

The importance of BIX to its existing customers  is well understood and we assure you of our intention to continue to develop and support BIX going forward.  The support and development team at BIX remain in place at the same office and are very happy with the acquisition as it provides additional resource, investment and the opportunity to augment BIX software with XLCubed capabilities in a synergistic way.  This process has already started and we are excited about the opportunities.

Mark Scanlon CEO of XLCubed said,

“ I had been aware of BIX for a number of years and I am so pleased that the opportunity to combine the many decades of collective experience in Excel based BI tools arose.  During the diligence process we were impressed by the vision and quality of the product development team, who will now work closely with the XLCubed team.  Both XLCubed and BIX have significant experience in servicing enterprise customers across many industries particularly in the financial area, and our assertion is that we can take the best of both to continue to service and expand the growing set of customers”


BiXSoftware releases BiXPublisher 8.1

To complement the new relational query capabilities introduced in BiX Analytics 8.1, BiX Software announces a major update to BiX Publisher.

BiXPublisher, which takes full advantage of all the capabilities of BiX’s reporting engine, allows you to simply define the rules for managing your company’s reports. BiX Publisher frees the business user from repetitive tasks by completely automating the refresh and distribution of his analyses and dashboards.

The new version 8.1 of BiX Publisher now supports new non-Olap data sources and making it possible to manage the automation of reporting on relational sources. This version also offers an improvement in performance, a new management of memory consumption as well as new possibilities to centralise the configuration of multiple batches of publication.

With BiXPublisher 8.1, finally free your reporting!

BiX Analytics 8.1 supports Microsoft Analysis Services Tabular

Given the interest of many of our customers for Microsoft’s new column-oriented storage mode, BiX Software is pleased to announce that as of version 8, BiX Analytics supports connections to the tabular models of Analysis Services.

Once the name of the tabular server has been entered in the BiX Analytics connection assistant, the user returns to his usual environment. From here on, the tabular data can be queried with complete transparency. The measures, dimensions and hierarchies of the model are presented in the same way as a cube’s with an OLAP format.

BiX Analytics users with a tabular source thus have the same familiar tools to easily query the data: the modelling of business rules, such as defining dynamic filters or new sophisticated financial indicators, is done graphically, without the need for DAX or MDX languages knowledge.

Queries based on tabular models can also be synchronised with other queries in the Excel workbook, whether they are multidimensional (“InfoSet”) or relational (“InfoQuery”) sources.

BiX Software is pleased the capabilities of this new model offer new possibilities to its customers and will continue to support them, making the most of innovations offered by new data sources.


BiX Analytics 8.1 operates on Sql

Following version 8 of BiX Analytics, which offered connection to relational data sources, the release of version 8.1 is a game changer for BiX Software customers.

A daily challenge for business users is to bring together and use data from multiple varied sources. Faced with an absence of suitable software or, on the contrary, the numerous tools to be mastered, this work is most often carried out using formulas or macros, within the everyday environment of Microsoft Excel.

Thanks to BiX Analytics 8.1, users can now, within their preferred environment, easily create and manage analyses and dashboards that mix data of different types, using previously reserved specialist’s tools.

The new graphic wizards in BiX Analytics 8.1 hide the technical complexity, to let the user focus on managing data extraction, filtering, and calculations. Thus, with a simple “drag and drop”, the user selects the columns from various tables and lets the links be created automatically. Data consistency is transparent and guaranteed by the integrated query synchronisation capabilities, issues such as complex formulas, formula errors and outdated data become history!

Faithful to the BiX Software ethos, which aims above all else to understand the needs of users through collaboration at the field level, business constraints and desires were taken into account throughout the development cycle from the design phase to the release.
Thanks to the involvement of several customers, such as SeLoger, EOL or Caisse d’Epargne, the architecture, technical choices, and user interface continuously evolved, in order to meet real business needs.

On top of the ability to easily build complex relational queries, certain features enhance user comfort. For example: the automatic management of links between tables, the management of a personal query library, the instant generation of standard filters or the large gallery of personalised filters which make the use intuitive for the end user.

The new “InfoQuery” object, used for rendering queries on “flat” data sources, benefits from the same capabilities as the “InfoSet” object well known to users. Among these particularly appreciated highlights are the complete integration with Excel formulas and formatting as well as labels despite changes in the table size.

BIXAnalytics, an alternative to Pivot Tables

Since Excel Pivot Tables can connect to Analysis Services cubes, and are essentially free to most companies, they are often the default client tool. The Pivot Table functionality may suffice for simple business needs, however even in the newer versions of Office the Pivot Table lacks much of the sophistication and flexibility of a dedicated tool like BIXAnalytics.

Cube connected Pivot Tables have a number of restrictions and issues which BIX addresses, this results in significant time saving, increased performance, and better insight through improved query and analysis capabilities.

Some larger companies have written custom OLAP Pivot Table extensions to address specific issues or functionality gaps, but this can lead to ongoing support issues. BIX addresses Pivot Table users’ frustrations at multiple levels and offers concrete solutions.

Our customers confirm this and have explained the main reasons they use BiX alongside or instead of Pivot Tables:

Flexible and secure use of Excel formulas  

Users are often frustrated by the limitations in terms of adding calculations to OLAP or data connected pivot tables. When connected to external data, the pivot table calculated field button is unavailable. BIX lets users add standard Excel formulas into cube connected grids (like a pivot table without the restrictions). Users can simply add a new column or row and type any Excel formula, including Vlookups. The formula is dynamic and will grow and shrink as needed with the data volume. As the formula is handled by BiX, it can’t be wrong or out of date.

Common business calculations  

Although Excel formulas offer a great deal of flexibility and power, they are limited to Excel cell ranges. BiX MDX based formulas, on the other hand, can leverage any set of a cube’s data without the need to first retrieve it in an Excel worksheet.
The BiX calculation wizard offer multiple ready to use templates in order to easily define standard business calculations such as Periods to date, Moving averages, % of growth from previous Period, Contribution, Ranking,… These types of calculations are just too complex to safely be dealt with in Excel formulas in a professional environment.
Unlike Excel formulas which must be recreated every time they are used. BiX calculations can be, once defined, saved and then reused in different workbooks. Users have their own calculations library and can choose to share part of it with others.

Performance problems 

Pivot Tables can generate inefficient MDX, leading to slow queries and frustrated users. In some cases, using a BIX “InfoSet” as a ‘like for like’ Pivot Table replacement results in significant performance gains. Whereas Pivot tables calculations are resolved in Excel, BiX calculations are resolved on the server, this means many significant PivotTable bottleneck issues simply don’t exist with BiX.

Reporting capabilities 

Maintenance free reports

Whereas Pivot Tables were designed to provide simple data browsing capabilities for different source types, BiX’s InfoSets were built to deal with sophisticated business reporting needs. When dealing with reporting, Pivot Tables users need to use a separate worksheet to handle calculations and formatting requirements. A great amount of repetitive work is then needed whenever a report needs to be refreshed or changed. This not only takes a lot of time but also often leads to reporting errors.

Strong and secure reporting features

BiX users can manage any complex reporting needs thanks to powerful built-in reporting tools and concepts. They don’t need to rely on fragile Excel formulas for handling common reporting needs such as complex calculations or non-symmetric queries. They can leverage all Excel formatting or labelling capacities easily and safely when dealing with dynamic queries.

Dynamic reports 

Reports designed by BiX users will automatically adapt to changes in dimensions, especially time periods, in only a few clicks. Such reports will automatically query the relevant time periods and update the number of columns or rows based on the changes in the underlying database structure.

Unlike Pivot Tables, BiX “InfoSets” do not overwrite excel cells but simply “push” whatever is located on the right or at the bottom as needed.

Limitations with Slicers 

Excel slicers have a number of limitations, particularly with regards to the restrictions of buttons, or the inability to display elements from more than one level.

BiX users can freely decide which slicer should be displayed or hidden and what its content and layout should be.


BiXSoftware releases BiXAnalytics 8

BiX Software is proud to unveil BiXAnalytics 8 for Microsoft Excel.

BiXAnalytics 8 enables a direct response, from Microsoft Excel, to all the restitution needs of a company using Microsoft BI tools (SQL Server), from operational reports to strategic dashboards, including analysis and data visualisation.
BiX Software propels Microsoft Excel to the rank of a true Business Intelligence solution, adding powerful and useful analysis and dashboard functionality.

Improving user productivity has been a key concern throughout this version’s development cycle. BiXAnalytics version 8 offers more autonomy to the user to build and automate analyses and dashboards with lots more value. It becomes easier to respond to constantly and rapidly evolving business needs.

The improvements made to the connection management and the query generator offer a very significant performance gain in many uses.
Support for querying relational data and flat files (.CSV, .TXT, XLS, XLSX files, etc.), as well as the ability to synchronise them with the data from the cubes offers completely new perspectives to users.

Among the other important developments, the brand new synchronisation management of “InfoSets” is noteworthy. It offers unprecedented capability regarding the consistency of data from multiple sources, the greater flexibility of arrangement of filters, support for different conditional formatting styles in Excel, and further development of the publishing wizard.

BiXAnalytics 8 is compatible with all versions of Microsoft Excel from 2007 onwards, with SQL Server from 2000 and with the main OLAP engines on the market (EssBase, Oracle Olap, TM1, SAS Olap Server, …).
Regarding relational sources, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle (from version 8) and MySQL are supported.


BiX Software releases BiXAnalytics 7

BiX Software is proud to unveil BiXAnalytics version 7 for Microsoft Excel. Version 7 represents a major release for BiXAnalytics, with many new features giving unmatched power and productivity to the end user.

Among the many new features is the support of Excel calculations. This makes it easy for BiX 7 users to add a new column or row to an “InfoSet” and then type any Excel formula, including Vlookups. The “BiX Excel” formula then becomes dynamic and automatically adapts to the resizing of rows and columns and will be replicated by BiX when drilling into the dimensions.
These calculations are secure as the formula is being managed by BiX, they are truly dynamic and will no longer become wrong or obsolete during changes.

Improving the ease and efficiency of use was also a key priority in this version’s development cycle.
Two new options in the Excel ribbon now provide intuitive and direct access to most navigation and formatting options. These buttons appear or disappear depending on the active cell thus reducing clutter and irrelevant options.

Navigation and interactions have been sped up: The user can now quickly perform actions such as keeping or removing rows and columns, adding the selected member’s descendants, choose all members from a level or apply filtering options that have previously been saved.
New, more sophisticated filters can be applied just as easily. With a single click, it is now possible to automatically select the last period containing data, to add a certain number of previous periods or the YTD periods, and to display a 20/80 analysis on any dimension at any level.

Layout management has also been improved with brand new management options, it is possible to set a layout using native Excel controls in a single cell then, using the “apply” option in the ribbon, the user can define the range, the member or the level where this layout should be applied. Bix will then apply the correct format even if the number of rows or columns changes.

Label management has been upgraded. Once the labels have been modified, they can be saved with a single click on the “Apply” button of the “Label management” section.
Several other tools, such as the ability to copy labels from one “InfoSet” to another (or all those on the sheet), or the option to switch between displaying the original or modified labels enable common reporting issues to be easily addressed.

Finally. the performance of the new version has been greatly improved thanks to, among others, a new connection management which is now synchronised by default. This single change results in a vastly improved reactivity and significantly reduces Excel’s memory use.
Optimisations in the MDX query generator also offer considerable performance gains, particularly with regards to nested dimensions.