The increasing use of mobile devices by consumers everywhere has impacted how all industries operate - including those in Business Intelligence.According to Carolina Milanesi, Research Vice President at Gartner, the mobile trend is so popular because "[c]onsumers want anytime-anywhere computing that allows them to consume and create content with ease, but also share and access that content from a different portfolio of products. Mobility is paramount in both mature and emerging markets."
Previously we discussed the business benefits of mobile BI. In this blog, we will address the mobile trends that are emerging as the market matures.
What do Mobile BI Users Want?
ComputerWeekly reported that mobile BI is developing like mobile email because it's also a cross-functional business application. In fact, Joao Tapadinhas, a research director at Gartner stated that "after email, mobile BI is the most popular application."
However, large scale BI apps (such as SAS, Kalido, and Cognos) are frequently static, looking mostly at historical data and relying on trained analysts to use them to the greatest effect. As a result, organisations are seeking a simpler, more flexible form of BI.
Mobile BI users want more interactivity from the app, so that they will be able to navigate through the analytics at a deeper level. After all, if it's limited to sending email and text alerts, it's not much more sophisticated than a well-written email or text message.
Who's Using Mobile BI?
Tapadinhas says that Gartner is seeing more CEOs and CFOs being direct users of BI, although "more employees can benefit from it on a day to day basis. It is shifting away from an elite group of users where actions take hours/weeks. If you have mobile access, it's easier to be right when it comes to making a decision, then and there."
The appeal for executives, line managers and operations managers is access; that is, they want to be able to instantly self-serve instead of waiting days or even weeks for a custom algorithm to be written for a report to be produced.
Mobile BI lets managers look at up-to-date data and then make decisions quickly - such as allocating personnel and other resources to different workloads. This is especially useful for task-based mobile workforces, such as field service, sales, and distribution.
One interesting use of mobile BI is how the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary are using it to discover crime hotspots, and allocate officers accordingly. Officers can capture data on their device then send it back to HQ - providing a much more accurate picture than radios and written reports.
What are the Barriers to Mobile BI Adoption?
According to Howard Dresner, Chief Research Officer at Dresner Advisory Services LLC, the major obstacles to launching mobile BI are:
- Cost. Organisations think that they have to buy everyone a new tablet, when in fact they can use the devices already in place.
- Security. Organisations fear that their data will walk away or be stolen. However, there are ways to deal with it. Loss control programs can be put in place, using mobile device management technologies, or even enforcing a policy such as not allowing applications or data to be downloaded onto the device.
- Infrastructure. Organisations think that it will take plenty of planning to design an infrastructure, and that implementing it will be costly. However, in the long run, the benefits far outweigh the costs.
Dresner says it's unnecessary for organisations' IT departments to design their own mobile applications, because most vendors will have a mobile offering. To those who are considering mobile BI adoption, he advises that you speak to your existing vendor and see if what they have matches your needs.
Make sure that the app is very responsive because you need immediacy - it should only give you the information needed instead of the entire dashboard, because there's no time to explore the design.We recently presented a series of live webinars on Mobile BI to a global audience- Click the button below to see a recording: