There’s an interesting intersection between the popularity of mobile devices and the appetite for business intelligence (BI). Inevitably, the demand to display and interact with BI on mobile devices is growing and will continue to do so as more mobile technology supports this function. Already, we have tablets and smartphones with high-quality displays and interactive capabilities – but this is just the beginning, if you take into account the full potential for mobile BI.
Mobile BI is mostly relevant in the consumption of information, which is reflected in the need for simpler interactions in BI infrastructures. After all, nobody wants to be writing complex code, like SQL, on their smartphones. Rather, one of the key benefits of a successful BI system is the ability to show the same information to all users. For instance, dashboard reporting with drill down functionality and reports that scale easily across devices will be vital for success. And the more access points there are, the more important this standardization is.
Let me also say, however, that mobile BI will not – and should not – replace existing BI systems. Instead, mobile BI should complement existing systems by providing organisations with added speed and flexibility for consuming the available information. I also believe the move to mobile will give even more importance to more advanced analytical methods. For example, the ability to easily, effectively and accurately segment data based on certain attributes or to combine relevant information, such as churn predictions, into the revenue forecasts, as well as data visualisation approaches will come to the forefront. This allows for the information to be accessed – in a relatively refined form – across the entire organisation.
In other words, I see the advances in mobile BI being very much complementary to the other movements we are seeing in BI and analytics as a whole – bringing easier and more operational access, through complementary methods, such as predictive and advanced analytics. This, in turn, provides more refined data in a form that is easy to utilise across the organisation to maximise effectiveness of — not only the BI and analytical tools — but the people using the information generated. The latter point, being able to flexibly but securely access the information when and where it is needed to minimise “information lag”, is certainly a strong value proposition and will help mobile BI gain its foothold.