7 Mobile Business Intelligence best practices (Part One)

With all the brash, brassy banter and analyst excitement surrounding the potential of Mobile Business Intelligence (BI) – Gartner, Dresner Advisory Services, IDC, Forrester Research, Aberdeen and Ventana Research have all touted the mounting importance of the mobile distribution of enterprise data – it’s hard to know how to get started.

Which features and capabilities are non-negotiable must haves? How can you avoid unnecessary rework of existing data sets or reports? Minimize information management concerns pertaining to remote data access? Ensure that your mobile platform will have the flexibility to incorporate shifting reporting needs? Facilitate user adoption and action? Cater for different devices? And optimize the visual representation of data for consumption via mobile devices?

To make it a little easier, we’ve compiled a shortlist of Mobile BI best practices to help you separate the mediocre from the momentous.

Mobile BI platforms that embrace Mobile BI best practices have:

1. A User Interface suitable for the mobile consumption of data

Mobile BI facilitates fact-based decision-making, no matter the location, often in hurried circumstances. Or at least it should. Users need to be able to access all their relevant reports and initiate appropriate action from one central location. Users need to be able to see and access all their dashboards, view favourites and turn insight into action, with a single touch from a single start-up screen.

The User Interface (UI) must be reflective of the user context. People use Mobile BI to acquire actionable knowledge on-the-go. Who can honestly say they want to build reports and conduct complex data analysis from their mobile device? Not many. Of course detailed data analysis and information exploration should be included as standard capabilities. But, the UI should deliver and focus on those strategic KPIs decision-makers need to stay informed and make timely judgement.

2. Knowledge sharing capabilities

What’s the point of putting critical information in the hands of more people, more often, if they’re unable to share insight, seek clarification and decide how to act based on that information? Mobile BI platforms must enable both in-app (in-built discussion forums, report comments and annotations) and external app (email and report syndication) collaboration.

The collaborative capabilities allow all relevant stakeholders to easily overlay knowledge and information onto business data to provide perspective and context, and collectively decide on the best course of action.

3. No rework requirements: Author once, consume anywhere

Leading Mobile BI providers enable existing reports to be viewed and accessed from mobile devices, without having to re-create or repackage content for mobile distribution. Remember, it’s not real Mobile BI if it’s not author once; consume anywhere, anytime, on any device.

Where to next?

Look out for the second half of this two-part blog series, 7 Mobile Business Intelligence best practices (Part Two). And keep those lids peeled for Yellowfin’s new soon-to-be-released iPad app, which just happens to follow our Mobile BI best practices.

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