The evolution of Mobile Business Intelligence

Evolution is a funny thing. Throughout time, plants, animals, people, civilizations and technologies have developed, changed, disappeared and reinvented themselves – reborn in different, more applicable guises. Portable computing power, mobile technologies and indeed Mobile Business Intelligence (BI) are inescapably – by virtue of their very existence – part of that evolutionary cycle.

But how do things change? What’s the process – the occurrence that eventually sees one thing morph into another, or adapt to meet changing circumstances or demand? Whilst being ignorant to the detail, I understand that advances in Formula One race cars have, over time, filtered down to commercial vehicles. This is an example of the professional influencing the development of the commercial. However, it appears that the reverse is true of Mobile BI. The rise of consumer mobile technologies has fostered the integration of transportable computing devices and applications into enterprise information strategies and infrastructures.

Consumer mobile technologies and applications influencing Mobile BI

We suggested in last Friday’s blog post – Why, how and where Mobile Business Intelligence will take off in 2012 – that the rise of the iPad (a consumer device) had led to the sharp increase in BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to work programs, and the stark uptake in Mobile BI interest and adoption: 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.

According to the IDC, 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. IDC figures also showed that the iPad held around 70 percent of the worldwide tablet market towards the end of 2011.

But it’s not just consumer technologies that have penetrated the workplace and influenced working habits. The explosive popularity, number and style of consumer-oriented mobile applications has also played its part in growing and shaping current Mobile BI apps, as well as growing corporate demand for mobile analytics.

According to the below ClickFox infographic and its underpinning survey, 73 percent of people use consumer mobile apps to “assist with a buying decision”. It seems only natural that this desire – and now common practice in many cases – will affect the manner and style in which corporate decision are made – doesn’t it?

Mobile BI: Where’s it at?

The notable uptick in planned Mobile BI implementations, and its rising status among IT decision-makers, has closely followed the aforementioned explosion in leisure-time devices and apps.

Sixty-eight percent of survey participants in Howard Dresner’s latest Mobile Business Intelligence Market Study listed Mobile BI as ‘critical’ or ‘very important’, compared to 52 percent from the original 2010 study. The number of respondents listing Mobile BI as ‘unimportant’ dropped from 11 to two percent over the same period. Seventy-five percent of respondents to the October 2011 version stated that 21 – 81 percent of BI users within their organization will consume reporting and analytics exclusively via mobile devices by 2013. The report, compiled from almost 200 respondents, clearly demonstrates the importance organizations now place on Mobile BI.

Upstart, Domo, has created an insightful infographic, using some well-travelled industry statistics regarding Mobile BI usage and adoption. So, how far have we come? Well, in 2008, less than 20 percent of organizations were delivering BI via mobile devices. A recent TechTarget survey predicts that almost 50 percent of companies will have a Mobile BI solution by the end of 2012.

Now that’s evolution at a revolutionary pace!

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