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Making mobile BI applications a reality: Key steps to take

In a podcast, BI expert William McKnight discusses best practices and action items for managing deployments of mobile business intelligence tools.

Supporting mobile business intelligence capabilities is becoming a fact of working life for more and more BI managers and their teams, according to William McKnight, president of McKnight Consulting Group in Plano, Texas. "As the mobile revolution takes hold, that is definitely having an impact on what we do in business intelligence," McKnight said in a podcast interview with SearchBusinessAnalytics. But, he added, developing effective mobile BI applications is typically a more involved process than simply "taking what you've got and shrinking it down" to display on mobile devices.

In fact, mobile BI apps can require more design discipline than conventional PC-based ones do, McKnight said. On laptops and desktop PCs, designers of business intelligence dashboards and other BI applications might be able to get away with cutting corners and being "a little sloppy" because of the available screen space, he said. With mobile BI applications, "you can't be that way. Space is critical."

On the other hand, McKnight doesn't recommend turning BI mobile app design into an exercise in trying to wow users of smartphones and tablet PCs with visual bells and whistles. "Mobile business intelligence doesn't have to look like the latest game that everybody is downloading for the iPhone," he said. "It can look very business-like." For business uses, he added, content and performance are more important than a snazzy design is.

In the 11-minute podcast, McKnight also discussed other aspects of deploying mobile BI tools and applications. Listeners will

  • Get his take on whether mobile BI is still a niche technology or has reached mainstream status.
  • Find out more about how McKnight thinks BI mobility is changing the way that companies approach business intelligence development and management.
  • Learn why a dashboard orientation with capabilities for drilling into data is helpful for designing mobile BI applications.
  • Get advice on whether it's feasible for BI teams to pick particular mobile devices to support.
  • Hear about mobile BI security issues and whether mobile business intelligence apps pose bigger security risks than applications running on laptops.

 

 

This was first published in May 2013

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