What Is Mobile BI and Best Practices to Manage It

By CIOReview | Thursday, August 4, 2016
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A Glimpse

As the use of smartphones and other mobile devices escalates in the workplace, so does the curiosity in mobile business intelligence (BI) applications among corporate executives, sales teams and other end users. As a result, BI managers at more and more organizations are evaluating the cost-effectiveness, benefits and challenges of implementing a mobile BI strategy.

Mobile BI applications that offer BI-on-the-go capabilities can boost the productivity of business users, whether they are in meetings or on the road. Mobile BI enables organizations to gain business insights using applications optimized for mobile devices. Also, it assist organizations in deriving better and faster decision making, delivery of real-time bi-directional data access for seamless data processing and better customer services. One can say it has become imperative for organizations to make precise choice while managing mobile BI projects.

Working with Mobile BI

It becomes tricky when an organization needs to incorporate latest BI tools with existing technologies and processes. So, BI team is laden with identifying proper BI technology to deliver better user experience for their users. With proper mobile BI platform, it becomes very easy to fabricate applications that engage CIOs and executive members to make business decisions. Here are some of the best practices CIOs can embrace while working on mobile BI;

• User Interface (UI): It plays a crucial role in depicting information in an info-graphic manner which increases their ability to grasp knowledge. UI further helps people to interact with technology and mobile BI acts as an added advantage. Mobile BI assists people to get hold of knowledge on-the-go. Very few put efforts to derive reports from mobile devices and perform data analysis. CIOs or board members often find themselves in a situation where they are needed to make decision in hurry. At such state, they look out for easily available and simple tools to deal with the situation. Mobile BI with easy interface becomes very handy for them as it facilitates with fact-based decision-making irrespective of their present location. With robust UI, CIOs are able to supervise reports and initiate appropriate action from one central location.

• Sharing Knowledge: Mobile UI not only controls processes from remote location but it also provides collaborative capabilities for stakeholders. It allows them to participate and overlay information in business data. Mobile BI platform is equipped with in-apps (in-built discussion forums, report comments and annotations) and external apps (email and report syndication) to aggregate data and furnish shared insights using information.

• Easy Mobile Access: Many mobile BI providers find it difficult to present information to its users. In an effort to make reports easily available, leading Mobile BI providers enable report access from mobile devices without re-creating or repackage content exclusively for mobile distribution.

• Upbeat Alerts: Mobile BI is said to be flourishing if it is able to portray new trends and developments to its stakeholders. A successful mobile BI notifies them with possible solutions at right time. Users are needed to be updated with proactive alerts through on their mobile devices with changing scenarios.

• Security: Data security and integrity is a major concern for all organizations with increasing cyber-attacks. Leading Mobile BI providers must also ensure secure data access from smartphones, PCs, or tablet. As a part of security, companies can shield their corporate data with multi-tire security system with password protection, user authentication and segmentation processes. Considering job functions and priority, specific users should be allowed to have access to various regions of data.

• Offline Mode: Sometimes it might be possible that user may not be having internet access so in such cases, mobile BI should make provisions to work in offline mode.

Managing Mobile BI

According to Boris Evelson and Michael Facemire, Analyst, Forrester Research Inc., organizations need to learn from real use cases and enhance accordingly to uplift their mobile BI environment within organization. Quoting an example, Evelson says that, mobile users performing ad hoc data analysis and executives or sales representatives’ work differently, and accordingly BI should assist them to answer their business questions.

“One of the biggest challenges in managing a mobile BI program stems from the fact that most large organizations have multiple BI systems in place. That raises the question of which platforms to enable for mobile data delivery or whether to consider adding a mobile-only BI tool that can sit on top of the existing systems,” explains Evelson.

Some mobile BI involves profound analysis which works better with tablet or computers than smartphones. Evelson recommends that, “Adopting a ‘design once, publish multiple times’ approach enables mobile dashboards and BI apps to run on various devices. BI teams refrain themselves from creating, maintaining, and updating separate applications for every device, every platform and every mobile browser version.”

The bottom line is that mobile BI tools are becoming got-to-ought solutions for business users. To make application cost-effective, mobile platforms are formulated by widely using HTML technology. As Facemire states, Mobile BI facilitate to have data at your fingertips at all times and have it presented to you in a way that you can make the decisions that you need to make. With mobile devices we are able to present a 24/7 world that we have always dreamt of.