Mobile Business Intelligence (BI) will remain a key trend within the BI industry going into 2012 and as a result, businesses wanting to further leverage the benefits of BI within their organisation should keep an eye on this important technology, but should also take the time to understand it. This is the sentiment of PBT.
Industry experts providing their top 10 predictions for BI in 2012 have indicated that Mobile BI will go mainstream¹, due to the nature of businesses today, whereby decisions need to be made instantly and not hours later.
In 2009, according to statistics, worldwide smartphone sales reached 172.4 million² units. In 2011, the IDC has predicted this figure to reach 472 million³ units – a significant jump from figures a mere 2 years ago. Says Martin Rennhackkamp, COO of PBT; “These statistics alone not only show the relevance of the mobile device today, but also reinforces how such devices are beginning to change the mindsets of users and ultimately companies. And why you may ask – well it is due to the substantial benefits these devices are offering, particularly to the business market.”
Mobile devices are allowing businesses to have a more mobile and subsequently a more flexible workforce. This means that employees are no longer restricted to the office, but rather can now get their jobs done anywhere and whilst on the move. This can result in a more productive pool of staff and can have an end result of a more profitable organisation – one that is on top of trends and therefore remains competitive.
It is no wonder then why the term Mobile BI is fast attracting more attention. Continues Rennhackkamp; “As a business decision maker, who makes important decisions everyday, imagine being able to view the information BI forecasts, that you need to make these decisions, instantly, no matter your location. While this is the ultimate goal of Mobile BI, it can be considered quite a loaded statement, as the successful deployment of Mobile BI has a number of serious implications and challenges that need to be addressed for businesses to reap the full benefits.
Therefore, when looking into Mobile BI as an organisation, PBT suggest some key points that businesses should keep in mind to achieve this:
• Suitability – mobile applications, BI included, are not always applicable to all organisations – it depends greatly on the nature of the industry, as well as the culture and the ‘information maturity’ of the organisation. For Mobile BI to be applicable, the organisation’s data integration, measure standardisation and reporting/dashboarding portal solutions must already be well bedded down.
• Single view – to ensure that remote BI is manageable, the organisation must ensure a single point of origin for all reports and publishing of information should be used.
• Display – a mobile BI solution should display only the relevant data, at the appropriate level of summarisation, with suitable navigation options, using the facilities appropriate to the mobile platform, to avoid display issued on the mobile device being used.
• Platform compatibility – for mobile BI to be useful within an organisation, it must run on a wide range of technologies, including a wide variety of smartphones and tablets.
• Security – must be considered and controlled on the device to ensure that crucial company information is not compromised.
• Architecture choices – need to be carefully considered as the architecture of the Mobile BI application can have significant implications on the ease of use, breadth of adoption, deployment times, maintenance effort, and total cost of ownership.
• Flexibility – as is true in any BI environment, there will be change. Business priorities, burning issues and market opportunities will most definitely change during the deployment timeframe of a Mobile BI solution, as well as in the course of on-going management. The architecture and deployment approach must therefore cater for these changes to allow for Mobile BI to remain a success.
Concludes Rennhackkamp; “There is not doubt that Mobile BI results in a more productive mobile workforce, where more relevant and valuable information is being put directly into the hands of company staff, allowing them to make quicker (and of course the correct) decisions instantly. Furthermore, considering the many types of mobile devices available on the market today, not to mention the new, more innovative ones various brands are making available, such a concept makes logical local business sense, however as leaders in the BI space, we stress importance of not only exploring this concept, but also understanding it, to make sure it works for your business going into the new year.”