Business intelligence (BI) and mobile have been treated as separate areas of technology and potential strategic advantage for years. But continuing to do so could be a mistake. Mobile is redefining the way people use technology and companies must address those changes.
At the same time, BI grows in importance as companies increasingly recognize that they must embrace data-driven decision making. Although BI initially was restricted to desktop machines and servers, users won’t freeze in place and do things the way they always have. People expect to use smartphones and tablets regularly in their work. BI must follow suit. Mobile BI has distinct advantages, according to ZDNet.
“The new technology is already making a big difference to our Australian operations by providing operational managers with real-time critical operational information at their fingertips, at any of our locations around Australia,” said Ganesh Raj, DP World ANZ’s former senior vice president and managing director.
The most obvious benefit is that instead of being restricted to a relatively small group of experts and elite users, the technology can now be made available to large numbers of employees who are at the forefront of a company’s operations. According to Gartner Analyst Daniel Yuen: “Mobile use may now be the most significant consumer technology when it comes to improving BI adoption. Although mobility enables BI to attract users and reach new constituencies in an organization, ease of use and an engaging experience are the critical success factors for determining implementation success.”
By moving BI into mobile implementations, companies can bring information critical to making decisions to the point at which many of those decisions are actually made. What good does data analysis do if the customer service representative dealing with a disappointed buyer has no idea that the person is a major purchase influencer at an important corporate client? SAP recently commissioned Wakefield Research to survey business decision makers about data visualization tools.
In less than five years, the number of employees who have access to company data and utilize it for decision making has jumped from 33 percent to 50 percent. However, with one in four business leaders giving their company a below average grade on their ability to leverage data for decision making and 31 percent of business decision makers saying they do not currently use or don’t have plans to integrate data visualization tools into their operations companies may simply be gathering and storing data rather than deriving insights from data. Survey results back this up with an alarming 61 percent of respondents acknowledging their company data is not being used to its full potential.
To expand the availability as necessary, going mobile is a must, given how much more broadly the tools will need to be used to gain the full potential from the available data. Ninety-one percent of the respondents thought that the demand for data visualization tools on mobile devices would increase over the next five years. That means both corporations and BI professionals will have to adapt to the new reality of delivering insights on the go.