Just as the printing press and movable type revolutionized how and who consumed information, the rapid development of mobile computing devices has placed information sharing, consumption and generation into another transitional state.
As a result, the Business Intelligence (BI) landscape is undergoing spectacular change, with greater emphasis on the here and now. ‘Real-time data access’ is the new catch-cry of choice.
Mobile BI – the ability to receive actionable analytic reports on a mobile device – has been given new credence, as pre-tablet explosion naysayers realize the potential that the new technology has given mobile reporting and analytics.
Mobile BI, once the exclusive domain of field service personnel and the constantly traveling CEO, has found a new, much broader audience.
Mobile Business Intelligence on the move: Dresner
The landmark report revealed that 11 percent of respondent organizations provide access to Mobile BI to over 40 percent of their workforce. The report indicated that this figure is set to rise sharply. Within 12 months, 18 percent of organizations said that over 40 percent of their workforce will have access to Mobile BI, with around 33 percent expecting to deliver Mobile BI to over 40 percent of their workforce within 24 months.
Respondents across the board said that they planned to increase the number of personnel with access to Mobile BI, and reflective of the transition to enterprise mobility, 97 percent of respondents said that 25 percent or more users would receive analytics exclusively on a mobile device by 2013.
The Dresner report suggests that BI vendors also view Mobile BI and remote data delivery as a priority moving into 2011 and beyond, with more vendors listing Mobile BI as “critically” or “very” important to their BI development plans, compared to the same study in June. No vendors listed Mobile BI as “unimportant”. The report also indicates that vendors intend to significantly boost spending on mobile development, with all respondents citing plans to increase the number of platforms and features supported by their Mobile BI module.
Consumption of Mobile Business Intelligence by job title
So who are the biggest remote consumers of BI? Dresner’s Mobile BI study suggests that the usual suspects still make up the majority of users, but that this is steadily changing.
According to the report, executives and management remain the number one consumer of Mobile BI. Dresner’s June 2010 Mobile BI study indicated that executives were the primary target for Mobile BI deployments for almost 70 percent of respondent organizations, rising to nearly 80 percent in the updated 2011 report. All other user groups remain fairly stable between both studies, with the exception of the introduction of customers and suppliers as the primary target for Mobile BI deployment amongst some organizations.
On face value, this result belies the shift towards pervasive organizational use of Mobile BI, but Dresner explains the trend by noting that many organizations reported the need to gain initial executive backing in order to initiate a more widespread rollout. Additionally, during the launch of the report in a live InformationWeek webcast, Dresner stated that the fact that the report revealed significant levels of Mobile BI use (or intent to use) amongst a range of groups other than the executive management team, demonstrated considerable change in itself. This would not have been the case a few short years ago.
As such, Dresner suggests that this plateau in Mobile BI adoption by user groups other than the executive team is to be expected. He says that survey respondents have now laid the foundations for extensive Mobile BI programs by securing managerial support. Support which Dresner claims will be evidenced by massive changes in the scale of Mobile BI rollouts and type of Mobile BI user within the next 12 – 24 months.
Beware the landed gentry
We’re not there yet, but the days of Mobile BI as the exclusive domain of the landed gentry (executive management team) are numbered.
Mobile BI is rapidly evolving, driven by dispersed workforces, advances in portable technology and the need to make real-time business decisions anytime, anywhere.
So what’s your plan for mobile enterprise reporting and analytics?