Why, how and where Mobile Business Intelligence will take off in 2012

We’ve all heard the message – Mobile Business Intelligence (BI) is set to become more pervasive than Justin Bieber’s ‘music’ amongst tweeny-boppin’ girls (and his shaggy mop-like excuse for a haircut among sorely misguided adolescent males). So how will this occurrence eventuate?

Tablet PCs to stimulate increased Mobile BI adoption: iPad to lead the way

Tablets. That’s how. Gartner, Forrester, IDC and Co. have pledged their allegiance to the tablet crusade, stating that its unique features and functionality (namely larger screen size) will see a simultaneous uptake in Mobile BI, integration of tablets into broader corporate IT frameworks and strategies, and erosion of the smartphone market for reporting and analytics.

According to the below IDC infographic, worldwide tablet shipments are set to jump from 16.1 million in 2010, to 147.2 million by 2015 – 45 million of which will be bought by businesses. Results indicate that mobile tablets boost field service productivity by 28 percent.

InformationWeek’s Outlook 2012 report – based on responses from 605 business technology professionals – suggested that talk is set to turn into action. Thirty-one percent agreed that tablets would replace traditional desk or laptops as the main workplace-computing device for some employees within their organization. In the 2010 version, 51 percent “strongly disagreed” that even 10 percent of employees would receive tablets in place of a traditional computer. Only 35 percent of respondents shared the same reaction in the latest study.

Thirty-four percent of respondents to TechTarget’s 2012 Global IT Priorities Survey stated that their company plans to introduce tablets as part of their corporate communications or IT strategy for 2012, a 16 percent jump from the previous year. Notably, planned smartphone implementations remained stagnant.

More specifically, recent studies and analyst firms are vigorously pointing to Apple’s iPad as the force driving this mergence of consumer device and workplace productivity.

Recent IDC figures on tablet shipments confirm the iPad’s dominance. The iPad held 68.3 percent (shipping 9.3 million units) of the global tablet market during Q2 2011, with the IDC citing strong demand for the iPad 2 for the 88.9 percent (303.8 percent year-over-year) rise in worldwide media tablet shipments. The unprecedented growth prompted the firm to increase its 2011 shipment forest from 53.5 to 62.5 million units.

In fact, Apple gained additional tablet marketshare in the face of increased competition, said IDC. The IDC found that the iPad improved its worldwide marketshare from 65.7 percent, at the start of 2011, to 68.3 percent. Despite launching a number of new tablets, Google’s marketshare dropped from 34 percent, in early 2011, to 26.8 percent mid-year.

And, Dresner Advisory Services latest Mobile Business Intelligence Market Study indicates that the iPad’s dominance has directly affected rates and plans pertaining to Mobile BI adoption and deployment. The majority of respondents to the study, released in late 2011, listed the iPad as their device of choice for Mobile BI. In the inaugural June 2010 study, around 28 percent of respondents named the iPad as their first choice device for the delivery of mobile analytics. The latest results show that almost 55 percent of organizations now list the iPad as their favored platform for Mobile BI rollouts.

Why will Mobile BI receive increased attention, deployment and adoption rates in 2012?

So, tablet PCs, driven by the ongoing success of the iPad, have provided a new mobile platform for the delivery of corporate information (including BI). But why are companies flocking to Mobile BI as a result? Well, it’s a little chicken and the egg. But, it seems that with heightened consumer interest in tablets, more people have introduced these devices into their work environments, where CIOs and CTOs have then realized the potential corporate benefits and applications. This theory is supported, in part, by the rapid increase in BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to work programs.

In 2011 mobile security firm Good Technology released a State of BYOD Report that analyzed the growing trend. The study found that the iPad was the most popular BYO device, accounting for 96 percent of tablet activations in the third quarter of 2011. This marked trend is “rendering the traditional model of supporting only company-owned devices increasingly obsolete” and demonstrating a significant shift in how people consume information for professional purposes. The October 2011 report also found a considerable uptake in BYOD programs – compared to the initial January edition – with the number of companies supporting BYOD initiatives rising from 60 to 72 percent. A further 19 percent indicated their intention to implement BYOD strategies in the next 12 months. Only 9 percent said they had no plans to support BYOD.

The study found that large organizations are leading the BYOD charge, with 80 percent of those supporting BYOD housing over 2,000 employees; 60 percent with more than 5,000; and 35 percent with 10,000 or more. Whilst Good’s survey was ostensibly based in North America, the study revealed that almost half (44.9 percent) of survey participants are in the midst of deploying BYOD programs in multiple countries outside the US.

A new Aberdeen Group study clearly demonstrates why so many organizations are enthusiastically encouraging employees to integrate personal mobile devices into corporate IT environments via BOYD programs. According to the 2012 report – Putting the Intelligence in Mobile BI to Work – 46 percent of organizations initiate Mobile BI programs because they believe that “Mobile BI can give us a competitive advantage”, while 39 percent said that the “need to increase productivity of mobile employees” was the major driving force pushing them towards mobile analytics. Results justify these beliefs. The report found that Mobile BI users make critical decisions, following a business event, almost three times faster than non-Mobile BI adopters. With figures like that, the bandwagon’s set to become awfully full.

iPad in the workplace: Current stage of usership

A newly released 2012 IDG survey – iPad for Business Survey 2012 – shows that IT decision-makers are intensive workplace iPad users. Fifty-one percent of respondents said they “always” use their iPad at work, with an additional 40 percent stating that they “sometimes” do. Perhaps even more tellingly – in the context of tangible benefits and shifting working habits derived from the tablet revolution – 79 percent said that they ”always” use their iPad on-the-go. And, over half agree that their iPad has “partly replaced” their laptop, while 10 percent claim their laptop is now redundant. The survey found that a staggering 83 percent of businesses wouldn’t consider introducing a non-iPad tablet into their corporate communications network.

Somewhat astonishingly, the survey found that the equal highest workplace iPad adoption rate is found in Africa, with 70 percent of African and South American professionals flicking and swiping in the office. Interestingly, the IDG research lists Australia and New Zealand as having the second lowest workplace iPad adoption rate. Seemingly in contrast – given the iPad’s domination of the global and Asia-Pacific tablet markets – 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.

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