What Is Mobile Business Intelligence?
You might have heard this statistic by now: more people own a cell phone than a toothbrush. In a Forbes post, Maribel Lopez lists a number of recent statistics about mobility. “While we could debate the numbers, the trend is clear,” she writes. ”The pace of mobile adoption across devices and applications is accelerating.”
Mobility is no longer a nice-to-have option. Instead, it’s become a must for many businesses. Many surveys support this view. According to the Accenture Mobility Insights 2014 Report, 77% of participants in the survey considered mobility among their top five priorities. A similar finding was part of the Accenture 2013 CIO Mobility Survey where 79% of respondents cited mobility as a revenue-generator and 84% said mobility would significantly improve customer interactions.
With this paradigm shift comes the natural extension of business intelligence (BI) to mobile business intelligence (mobile BI) or mobile intelligence. This term may mean different things to different people, and it’s sometimes used interchangeably, but your perception of mobile BI will be influenced primarily by your understanding of BI.
In my post “What Is Business Intelligence?” I defined BI as the framework that enables organizations of all sizes to make faster, better-informed business decisions. Mobile BI extends this definition and puts the emphasis on the application of mobile devices such as smartphones or tablet computers. Therefore, you can argue that the fundamentals remain unchanged—Mobile BI is the enabler that, if designed, implemented, and executed effectively, can help organizations drive growth and profitability.
However, the way organizations go about realizing the true value of mobile BI may depend on the state of their enterprise mobility (for example, whether or not a formal mobile enterprise strategy and a road map exist) and the level of their BI maturity.
Harnessing the Power of Mobile BI
Mobile BI is more prevalent and more relevant today because the gap between the experience of traditional BI content consumed on a desktop PC and that accessed on a mobile device is disappearing rapidly. We now talk about the gap between a smartphone and a tablet device. The tablet devices are getting smaller both in size and weight to compete with our smartphones. Rapid growth in areas such as the cloud, in-memory technology, big data, and predictive analytics are fueling this innovation cycle. As a result, companies are looking for ways to harness the power of mobile BI through innovation and without disruption.
As businesses face more obstacles and are forced to deal with more complex challenges, they increasingly require greater mobile access to more processed data coming from both structured sources (such as sales data by markets and geography), and unstructured sources (like social media or email data that can’t be easily queried with traditional tools and technologies). Companies at the leading edge seek to gain the edge to exploit mobile BI to support a workforce that’s becoming more and more mobile.
Mobile BI Can Become a Key Differentiator
According to IDC, the “world’s mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion, representing 37.2% of the total workforce by 2015.” The share of the mobile workforce is even higher if we focus on the business roles such as sales, where mobility is a critical component for success. Business models that rely on insight thru outdated or limited capabilities can no longer compete in an ever-increasing global market, which simply dictates mobile execution.
Today, there’s no doubt that both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations must deliver more for their customers and stakeholders. In this context, mobile BI can become a key differentiator in helping organizations cope with both the complexity and the real-time challenges they face with the execution of their strategy. It’s a transformative force that has the power to change how businesses deliver value today, because mobile BI further breaks down the walls of information silos, thus dramatically extending the ability to gain actionable insight thru data-driven analyses for all decision makers at all levels of an organization.