November 5th, 2015

Mobile Business Intelligence: Look Before You Leap

Mobile Business Intelligence, or m-BI in short, is the latest buzzword in mobile technology. With a growing number of employees working outside the traditional office set up these days and needing round-the-clock access to data analytics to remain competitive, m-BI has come into the picture. It provides up-to-date information to employees on the fly through smartphones and other handheld devices, making use of wireless technology.

m-BI and Its Benefits
Providing seamless access to desktop BI-related data like Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), business metrics, and dashboards on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets is what m-BI is mainly about. It is meant to increase efficiency and facilitate timely crucial decisions by delivering relevant, actionable information to users at their fingertips. m-BI can come in handy specifically for sales deals by providing valuable information like sales figures, production reports or customer details.

The central factor in this is the end user’s requirements and the specific metrics of concern to him/her. For example, data science and analytics can be leveraged to provide value-added information such as recommendations on products to enable enterprise sales associates to effectively cross-sell/upsell to their clients.

The Pitfalls
As fantastic as it may sound, implementation of m-BI has not been without its fair share of limitations. For instance, most BI tools are designed for the desktop and not smartphones, having small screens and limited memory that are unable to depict properly charts and accompanying texts. Other hindrances are lack of input capabilities, insufficient security protections, inadequate backup and restore functionality. Besides, end-users’ fascination for different devices and operating systems make things even more complicated. Because of these, enterprises are slow to adopt mobile BI apps. This leads to losses, of course, with mobile workers unable to utilize relevant information to act upon.

Technically, all traditional Business Intelligence can be accessed through m-BI. But data modeling, data integration and data quality processes need to be carried out keeping in mind the end-users’ requirements and their handsets.

What to Take Away from the Chart
m-BI is meant to be quickly consumed to facilitate quick decisions by a mobile workforce. “The decision maker often needs only quick access to a few key metrics shown on a mobile device. This can reduce decision bottlenecks, increase business performance and enable broader input in the decision at hand,” says a report by Gartner. Those can be combined with nontraditional information sources for more informed decisions and actions.

To draw value from m-BI, the following need to be kept in mind:

  • Define and customize the output for the end-user based on the information they care about
  • Make the output simple and something they can act upon
  • Develop a mechanism to capture feedback

Important Pointers

  • m-BI is anything but static and is shaped by time-specific information and users. Hence, care must be taken to avoid tying the implementation strategy to a specific technology or platform.
  • Amidst burgeoning mobile devices and platforms, enterprises must carefully select the device, for m-BI design will differ between smartphones and tablets.
  • It’s important to note that drastic departure from the desktop version may thwart adoption and a small one might render the mobile version unworkable.

Do you want to ensure that your team members always make informed decisions? Drop us a line to discuss the power of m-BI. If you are really serious about data, we recommend reading this post on Taking Advantage of Your Data in the Connected Marketplace..

 

Tags: analytics big data reporting

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