Mobile BI apps move up the corporate priority list

Craig Stedman, Executive Editor

For many organizations, mobile business intelligence has gone from a minor consideration to a must-do item over the past two years. Business intelligence managers primarily have the iPad to thank -- or blame -- for that. After Apple introduced its tablet PC in 2010, masses of corporate executives quickly took a shine to the device and began bringing it to the office and taking it on the road. Many wanted to be able to use their iPads to call up reports quickly and drill down into data during meetings -- and when corporate execs want something, resistance is usually futile (not to mention foolhardy).

Craig Stedman

It didn't take long for business intelligence analyst Howard Dresner to detect an upswing in demand for mobile BI tools. In a survey he conducted in mid-2010, 52% of the 200 respondents said mobile BI was "critical" or "very important" to their business. That increased to 68% in a follow-up survey with 170 respondents last year.

The growing business use of smartphones, such as iPhone and Android devices, has helped fuel the rising interest level. Mobile BI apps also aren't just for senior execs; sales departments are another frequent user, according to analysts and BI vendors, and the technology also is being deployed for the likes of truck drivers and medical professionals.

If your organization has a mobile BI project in the works, several recently published stories on offer advice from experienced BI managers and industry consultants on what to do -- and what not to do. One details the need to deliver practical BI capabilities, not just pretty pie charts, to mobile users. Another looks at the importance of having a valid business case before you get started, even if your execs are pushing for mobile BI applications. And the third highlights mobile BI barriers to be aware of so your deployment doesn't crash and burn in front of the executive team's eyes.

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