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October 24, 2012

Mobile BI: Intelligence on the Road

By Stefanie Hoffman

There are few things that business intelligence doesn’t touch upon at some level. Its far-reaching arms have certainly touched mobile platforms — so much so that mobile business intelligence is expanding as a viable niche market.

According to CIO Magazine, Forrester analyst Boris Evelson believes mobile BI will go mainstream this year. His perspective not only has merit, it makes a lot of sense.

Let’s face it: You have only to look around the office to see workers are increasingly more remote, distributed and mobile. More employees bring their own tablets and smartphones to work than ever before. This BYOD trend is already on a high growth trajectory and is primed to skyrocket.

It should come as no surprise, then, that a MarketsandMarkets report projects the BYOD and enterprise mobility market to reach $181.39 billion by 2017, increasing by a factor of 15.17 percent over its $67.21 billion in 2012.

An IDC report predicts total smartphone shipments will reach 659.8 million units in 2012, up 33.5 percent from the 494.2 million units shipped last year. In fact, smartphone shipments are projected to grow at a CAGR of 18.6 percent through 2016.

That’s a lot of mobile data. Levels will vary per organization, but mobile data composes a significant — and exponentially growing — portion of the data center in most businesses. It needs to be contained, controlled, analyzed and monetized. Naturally, applying BI solutions makes good business sense.

In the article “Mobile Business Intelligence Puts Data On the Road,” writers Andreas Bitterer and Bhavash Sood contend that, in light of rising BYOD trends, business decisions are often made on the road — in places like taxis, airports, client lunches and on the golf course.

As such, workers need quick and easy access to key metrics that allow them to make those decisions. That’s where mobile BI comes in. At its core, BI builds reports on transactional data, illuminating trends and patterns, identifying aberrations, monitoring events and alerting users to potential pitfalls and/or threats. This synthesized information can be used to discover opportunities, implement effective strategy and achieve higher ROI.

Mobile BI comes with its own inherent advantages, Bitterer and Sood argue in their article. It contains geo-location intelligence that allows workers to achieve deeper business insights; and mobile devices are often bolstered with context aware features that enhance the decision-making process.

The lines between mobile, cloud and virtualized platforms has increasingly blurred as users seamlessly transition from one architecture to the next or rely on several simultaneously. But going forward, BI will likely be the glue that ties them all together. Data generated from these platforms requires contextualization, categorization and analysis.

With that in mind, the marriage of BI with mobility is ultimately inevitable.

For more news and information on how mobile BI could impact your business, visit the IBM Cognos TechTalk Intelligence Center. It’s as dynamic as the data, applications and processes it serves to advocate. We encourage you to check it out today by clicking here.

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