5 Must-Have Mobile BI Features by Kaan Turnali

5 Must-Have Mobile BI Features

The use of mobile business intelligence (BI) as a framework to enable faster, better-informed decision making continues to expand as the technology advances and more users become mobile ready. Whether you’re planning a project for a business app or developing a strategy, it’s critical to gauge your mobile BI app’s readiness for a complete mobile user experience.

Here are five must-have features that are critical to delivering a complete mobile BI experience.

Offline capability is the battery of mobile experience

Since mobile users are still sometimes left to run without any wireless connection, offline capability is vital to close the gap in mobile productivity.

The first part of the offline equation involves the ability to store the data set that gets downloaded to a mobile device after a successful connection with the server. This step ensures that data displayed in the entire report or dashboard reflects the most recent data for this particular context.

The second part includes the ability to consume the data set in an offline setting without needing any type of wireless connection. It allows the user to leverage all of the app’s offline features, enabling a detailed view of the data as it relates to the download. Additionally, the user can make changes to the report parameters within the context of the stored data set (like selecting a region or country from a list of values) and make adjustments to the page view (like changing the sort order of columns in a table).

Annotation features add to a picture worth a thousand words

The annotation feature allows free-hand drawing on the screen that can be easily shared with other users. While the screen’s picture is worth a thousand words, the speed at which we’re able to describe the area that requires further attention is even more valuable in this context.

The ability to highlight actionable insight is a critical tool of mobile BI as a framework for making faster, better-informed decisions. The annotation feature does exactly that by facilitating a quick and easy way of asking questions and/or bringing to light the areas that may require additional discussion.

Collaboration tools accelerate execution of actionable insight

Without collaboration tools, the actionable insight process is left to a manual course of action, which leads to an unproductive use of time and possibly manual errors.

The collaboration tools on a mobile BI app provide not only time saving features but also accurate and detailed description of issues/opportunities at hand. The tools vary from a simple e-mail of the report snapshot to sharing it on the existing BI platform or collaboration portals.

Full screen view brings detail to surface

Often, a mobile BI asset (report, dashboard, etc.) starts with a summary view (equivalent to a home page of a web site) that may include multiple business areas or analyses.

In order to maximize the use of the screen, the information may have to be displayed in smaller chunks that deliver the main message but neglect the underlying detail to provide perspective on the big picture (like a trend line or change from previous value ).

The ability to display a given component of a dashboard or report (such as a table) on a full screen with a single tap provides the most efficient mechanism to examine the detail that may not be apparent or visible initially.

Single app that does all is good for everyone

When it comes to BI, there are many ways and formats to deliver information. The options vary from fixed (or “canned”) reports to dynamic, self-service alternative where users have choices.

Even though it may be easier to tackle these requirements in different apps due to technical or business reasons, ideally you want to consolidate different requirements (functionalities/use cases) inside a single app. This presents a simple-to-use option for mobile users with different needs, and a sustainable model for BI teams with limited resources.