Biz Intel on the Road and on the Rise
By Marie Lingblom
New numbers are pegged on the rapid growth of the global mobile business intelligence market. Driving it, of course, is widespread adoption of tablets and smartphones, along with improving technology crafted for mobile devices.
There’s also a sharp increase in the use of mobile business intelligence for sales activity, in particular, says TechNavio. The analyst firm forecasts the global mobile business intelligence market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 27 percent through 2016. Challenges, including some incompatibility issues among applications and devices, exist, but will improve as more enterprises invest in mobile BI solutions.
British analyst firm Ovum says it expects BI vendors will enhance mobile capabilities through in-house development and a continued wave of M&A activity.
“This will also be where we will see some of the most interesting and innovative developments in BI and analytics over the next few years,” said Ovum analyst Fredrik Tunvall, in releasing the firm’s observations.
At their core, these solutions should apply to a range of mobile devices including the iPhone and iPad, Android phones, BlackBerry and Playbook. They should also allow users to view and fully interact with reports, dashboards, metrics, analysis and other information in a secure environment.
Ovum reports its research reveals a trend toward packaged and purpose-built mobile applications for verticals and line of business managers. This model will give way to offerings that include prebuilt applications and a mobile development platform where users can easily develop and deploy mobile applications for specific needs.
Where to start? Accenture suggests first assessing whether your organization is ready. Mobile BI is most suitable for enterprises that have already streamlined data integration processes and standardized master data, notes Accenture in its “Business Ingelligence is Going Mobile: Are You Ready?” report.
At the same time, be practical and be sure you are using mobile BI strategically by investigating solutions and identifying areas where they can deliver the most competitive advantage. Ask, for instance: Could mobile BI help achieve new efficiencies in business processes? Deepen understanding of customers? Spot market trends faster than rivals?
Accenture points to one global medical-sciences company’s work to reinvent how it addressed its staff’s reporting needs using mobile devices. The company established a primary goal to improve productivity “on the go” and set up a computing core team to provide support across functions. Initial efforts utilized the iPad.
The team first conducted a pilot to understand capabilities of mobile computing platforms, and to assess their value. An enterprise app store was set up so employees could view and download role- and authorization-appropriate applications. The pilot also included help desk services and defined governance processes to confirm legal and regulatory compliance.
Accenture singled out the pilot as an effective way to sample interface prototypes with different groups, observe how users interacted, determine desired functionality, and then shape it to suit specific needs. With mobile BI technology changing so quickly, notes Accenture, it’s critical for executives to know how it fits into overall strategies for business process transformation, analytics and improved decision-making.
The results are worth the work, says Accenture, because the mobility of business intelligence is here to stay — and the risk of being left behind by more agile competitors is too great.