Tablets: Why they?re the future of Mobile Business Intelligence (P1)

The Mobile Business Intelligence (BI) twister has erupted into a category five whirlwind of developments, commentary, analysis and debate in 2011.

Dorothy Gale (it’s a Wizard of Oz reference) and tablet PCs have both been plucked from the tumultuous tornado and identified as crucial elements to this emerging story.

Gartner on tablets for Mobile BI

Leading IT research and advisory company, Gartner, stated that tablets in particular have provided an ideal platform for the delivery and dissemination of business analytics and dashboard reports.

In a special report providing advice for CIOs on best practice usage and integration of tablets into the workplace, Gartner said that whilst tablets were not ‘better’ than laptops or smartphones, they complemented existing technologies by offering unique features for the delivery, consumption and analysis of corporate information.

“Sales leaders are clamouring to adopt media tablets with their sales teams, as a more engaging way to share sales collateral and promotional materials,” said David Willis, Research Vice President at Gartner.

“And it won’t stop there. Next will come customer relationship management systems, and order entry and sales configuration applications. For sales managers, media tablets will be a natural platform for business analytics and performance dashboards.”

Forrester on tablets for Mobile BI

Renowned Forrester Research analyst, Boris Evelson, colourfully conveyed his parallel opinion that tablet PCs have swung the door to Mobile BI wide open, stating in his now infamous blog post – Mobile Tablet PCs, Not Phones, Will Create Critical Mass for Enterprise BI Adoption – that “Just like Baby Bear’s porridge in the Goldilocks and The Three Bears fairy tale, tablet PCs are ‘just right’ for mobile BI end users.”

IDC on tablets for Mobile BI

IDC’s European business analytics program manager, Alys Woodward, has also said that consuming BI via tablet computers will empower organizations to realize pervasive BI adoption and BI Return On Investment.

Speaking at IDC’s Business Intelligence Conference 2011, Woodward suggested that the natural interactivity and uninhibited functionality (large screen), in conjunction with their portability, made tablets “the answer to BI execution in business”.

“What happens with a touchscreen tablet is that it takes things a step closer to the user,” she said. “You’re closer to the data, you can explore a little more richly than if you were using a mouse.”

“The best vendors are doing Mobile BI so that you write a report once and then that report can appear on whatever form factor people need it to be on, whether that’s a laptop, or a large screen, or a tablet,” she added.

“It’s helping with adoption and it’s helping bring execs on board with information and it really is something that’s quite powerful.”

IDC on tablets for Mobile BI in Oz

IDC research indicates that enterprise IT in Australia is a particularly mature market when it comes to the adoption and planned introduction of media tablets.

A new IDC research report analyzing adoption and planned adoption of media tablets in Australia – Opportunity Beckons: A survey of corporate media tablet adoption in Australia – suggests that media tablets will instigate significant workplace change. Over 56 percent of surveyed organizations said they intended to deploy or initiate pilot programs for media tablets over the next 12 months.

“The introduction of media tablets in Australian enterprises is being viewed by CIOs and IT decision makers as an opportunity to address broader issues related to the workspace ecosystem including the consumerization of IT, cloud computing, mobility and security”, says IDC senior analyst, Trevor Clarke. “In short, these devices will be a catalyst for fundamental change in how IT is leveraged and the makeup of the device and client OS ecosystem.”

“Notably, unlike the consumer space where media tablets are predominantly complementary devices, many CIOs say media tablets will replace some devices in their organization. So we will see these devices create change in how employees utilize technology to complete their responsibilities.”

Where to next?

Keep an eye out for part two of this two-part blog series, Tablets: Why they’re the future of Mobile Business Intelligence (Part Two).

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