BI at your fingertips

BI has become the backbone of many businesses and better decision-making is the key to make an impact. The very essence of BI is to provide users with up-to-date insight allowing them to make informed decisions. What if these decisions can be made on the go? What if one gets real-time alerts? What if we are informed when an action is needed? What if we can have access to real-time Information with a touch of our figure tips?
Sales, Logistics, Finance etc. everywhere there is need to have access to information anywhere anytime. and increasing mobile workforce, adoption of smartphones and browser technology has been the main factors behind the big push on Mobile Business Intelligence or has been quoted by couple authors on the web MOBI. Latest innovations in the area of supporting cross-platform delivery, improvements in mobile bandwidth 3G-4G, and support for wireless connectivity are eased with the confidence in mobile deployment of BI.
There are many vendors currently competing in this space right now. To name a few: Targit BI, PushBI, RoamBI from MeLLmo, Qlikview, Microstrategy, Oracle, IBM Cognos, SAP, Visual KPI from Transpara, Yellowfin, Business Objects and others.
However the biggest challenges come with the deployment of mobile apps. Small screen sizes, lesser processing power, ease to lose vital company data with the loss/theft of your handheld devices.

Let’s have a look on what you might want to consider before deploying mobile BI within your organization and deciding on the tool:

Aesthetics: Are charts, graphs, and other data visualizations actually legible on smart phones or tablets
Alerts: Capability to alert your mobile device if a certain threshold is reached
Authentication: Automatic user role identification either at the handheld or server level
Auto screen orientation detection: Although most of the handheld devices now offer this
Barcode scanning: most devices now use camera phone for 2D 3D barcode scanning
Battery consumption: Amount of battery consumption
Bookmarking capability: Possibility view bookmarked selections and/or to bookmark your selections from within your mobile device
CoverFlow: Visually flipping screenshots, charts, tables
Custom App: Is there a custom app that needs to be downloaded to be able to access your reports or your mobile browser can be used for it. Apple iTunes store
Detail: Ability to show and hide details
Double-click: Are you using object that needed to be double clicked e.g. I-pad does not support double-click and you might not be able to achieve what you want
Drill-down: Is it possible to drill down in charts/ tables etc.
Filters and Prompts: Ability to select filters and prompts
Guided navigation: From one chart or table to another based on selection on that chart or table
Hardware: Windows Mobile devices, iPhone, iPads, Blackberry etc. While blackberry may be dominant in business world I-phone, I-pads and android market share has been picking up rapidly. So it is important to know, the capabilities of the BI tool of your choice in the hardware your choice.
Licensing: Individual licensing through apple store or android market or fees based on number of mobile users or licenses sold based on mobile server authentication for number of users.
Location Intelligence: Customization of App based on User and Location information enables by GPS, User’s IP, network address, cell-tower triangulation or user reported location.
Long-press: Long press capabilities can be used for ease of navigation
Mobile Network: 3G Vs. 4G
Multi-touch: Support for better visualization using multi-touch
Optimization: Mobile BI apps optimizes tradition BI reports so they can be viewed easily on a small screen and is ideal for displaying reports on a small screen.
Processing power: Processing power required from hand-held
Real-time monitoring: Is it possible to keep a track on the numbers e.g. Inventory, Sales etc. in real-time including calculated BI fields such as profit/last year’s profit
Resize and sliders: Auto resize for best readability of reports. Ease to use sliders
Search: How easy is to search charts or reports
Security: Remote lock and data wipe capabilities to deal with lost or stolen devices1
Sorting: Can reports and charts be sorted from within the mobile device
Toggle Full screen: Toggle between full screen and default visualization
Touch-screen: If there is touch screen capabilities or is it just an image
Training: How easy is to duplicate your knowledge of using interface from desktop version to the mobile version
User experience: Not everyone is ready to digest mobile BI and user experience is an important factor in Mobile BI implementation
Zoom: Ability to zoom in and out of report based on user selection

-Abhinav Abhinav

About Abi Gupta

Business Intelligence enthusiast with background in predictive analytics and six sigma and interests in best practices, visualizations and capturing trends in BI.
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