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Gartner gets it wrong on Mobile BI?
13 Jun, 2012 - Lachlan James

Even the best of the best get it wrong sometimes – it’s just part of being human. And, even the best organizations are fallible to a certain extent.

Gartner, one of the globe’s foremost Business Intelligence (BI) research and analyst firms, might have got it wrong on Mobile BI.



Gartner’s recently released Critical Capabilities for Mobile BI report – which explores the technological demands and development of the Mobile BI marketplace and provides resultant recommendations – stated that: “8% [of organizations that use BI tools] are actively using mobility for BI; an additional 13% are running pilot initiatives; and an additional 33% have plans to deploy mobile BI within 12 months.”

Clearly Gartner has identified Mobile BI as a growing, and growingly important, trend. But, some of Gartner’s “Key Findings” and “Recommendations” seem out-of-step with new BI capabilities and product offerings.

I refer specifically to Key Finding number three and Recommendation number three:
  • Key Finding number three: “Several solutions promote a ‘design once, consume everywhere’ authoring approach for desktop and mobile devices. This strategy alone fails to provide a good mobile experience, due to smaller screen sizes and touchscreen interfaces.”
  • Recommendation three: “Select the mobile BI tool according to the organization’s required capabilities, and don’t be restricted to the incumbent vendor if it fails to fulfill your needs. To meet your requirements, consider the addition of a pure-play mobile BI vendor, to augment the existing BI platform.”

Key Finding number three: Why can’t you have your cake and eat it too?

Essentially, we agree with this point. However, the implication seems to be that mobile reporting and analytics solutions that enable an author once, consume anywhere approach to Mobile BI are incapable of catering for (and taking advantage of) native device features, functionality, interactivity and form factors.

But, why shouldn’t users be able to expect – and attain – the agility and cost-saving benefits of author once, consume anywhere BI content, as well as a native, engaging and simply good user experience?

More on Yellowfin Mobile BI >


Recommendation three: Why would you pay extra for Mobile BI?

Again, we harbor no qualms with this recommendation – well, the first part anyway. Obviously any prospective organizations should select a BI provider that meets their current and future needs. This means choosing a vendor that supports multiple devices and technical requirements. Why would you even consider a BI vendor that doesn’t offer a range of native applications and browser-based options for Mobile BI? Locking your entire mobile analytics initiative into a device or platform doesn’t make sense – use cases and information requirements are always subject to change.

However, the latter portion of Gartner’s third recommendation appears dubious; if not dumb. Why would you consider the addition of a pure-play Mobile BI vendor to supplement your existing BI platform? Would such a set-up better meet your BI needs? It’s questionable – think of the potential complications. And more to the point, why doesn’t your current BI vendor offer adequate mobile capabilities? The only certainty in this instance, is that you’ll pay twice.

Mobile BI the new platform for BI: Dresner
Shouldn’t BI and Mobile BI be considered, and paid for, as a single system? We think so. And, so does Mobile BI industry guru, Howard Dresner: “This latest findings report shows strong evidence that Mobile BI is taking hold – broadly,” said Dresner, in reference to his annual Mobile Business Intelligence Market Study. “We believe that we’re in the midst of a profound shift toward Mobile BI. We believe this paradigm shift will affect everyone and have as much impact as the Internet did, over time.

“The impact of Mobile BI… will change the way that we work, our ability to respond more quickly and to align towards common purpose. This notion of pervasiveness has always been the mission of BI, which may now finally be realized with the catalyst of mobile computing.

“Moving forward I expect to see a rising tide across all segments, all classes of user, and all verticals. I do believe that this [Mobile BI] becomes fundamentally the new platform for Business Intelligence.”

Mobile BI the new platform for BI: Gartner
In fact, Gartner – judging by its own predictions – thinks so too. Gartner’s 2012 BI Magic Quadrant survey indicated that the majority (53%) of organizations would deliver some form of mobile analytics by year’s end. Assuming that Gartner backs its own estimates, the ability to access BI content via mobile devices is set to become a widespread and expected industry norm. So why then, are they suggesting organizations should pay once for traditional desktop BI, and then once more for the ‘privilege’ of accessing reports via a mobile device? We couldn’t think of a good reason. We think that Mobile BI is simply part of a modern BI experience. It’s not an add-on. And it’s certainly not something that organizations should be charged additionally to experience. Imagine telling any modern executive that they couldn’t access their email from multiple devices – preposterous!

Help, I’m stuck!

But, what if I’m locked into a vendor with no, or inferior, Mobile BI capabilities we hear you cry. Well, we might just have the (free) solution.

Stay tuned for a big announcement…

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