The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

The natural marriage of mobile devices and BI

mobile business.pngThe relationship between a business person and their computer is much like the relationship between a photographer and their camera. It doesn’t matter how good a camera they have back home in their closet – it is the camera they have with them they take pictures with.


The computer that most of us have with us today is our smart phone, so it only makes sense that when organizations are looking to deliver business intelligence information, they would do it on the device most readily available. Especially now that these devices have the connectivity and the computational power to do most of the tasks desired.


Dashboards are an obvious mobile business intelligence (BI) app. Just like most people reach for their smart phone when they want to see a quick weather report, they should begin to expect that same level of enterprise report transparency and convenience.


Let’s face it employees want to accomplish work when it’s most convenient for them – that is not during the traditional workday. We already schedule meetings, read email… the whole concept of leaving yourself a note to check on something or saying “I’ll get back to you on that” is being replaced by real-time insight and action.


One interesting side effect of having a mobile BI approach is that people can familiarize themselves with it whenever they have a few moments. It needs to have a user interface that is conducive to that experimental and intuitive approach. Since the screen is so much smaller they will likely need to be focused – essentially making them easier to understand. Simple may just be the future here… The phone has additional capabilities that can be integrated into what can be done as well.


There are some security concerns to consider though, you’ll want to leave that proprietary information on the servers, requiring authentication. This means that you will give up disconnected usage, but having no connectivity is becoming relatively rare.


A few weeks ago, I was judging an FRC robotics competition and during the process I used my mobile phone for a number of things:

1)      Receiving real-time standings of the performance on the field – essentially a dashboard

2)      Transferring pictures taken in the pits back to the other judges I was working with

3)      Synchronized viewing of the criteria analysis I was doing on my PC, that I could update in the field

4)      Viewing actual events on the field in a real time video stream


These approaches are probably inching their way into every business process, whether we realize it or not.

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