InetSoft Webinar: Mobile BI

This a continuation of the transcript of a Webinar hosted by InetSoft in October 2017 titled "What's New in BI." The speaker is Mark Flaherty, CMO at InetSoft.

Mark Flaherty: The last innovation to talk about is mobile BI. This is BI where you need, when you need it. It’s been around for quite a while, but there have been a lot changes with it that have come through capabilities of the smart phones. Smart phones are now location aware. They are GPS devices, so that opens up a whole new set of applications. Also imagine the idea of having bar codes on our smart phone. Also there is the growing installed base having more mobile users, and you can ask does that reach new classes of users that otherwise didn’t have a desktop.

The idea of mobile BI has been around for at least a decade. But before you had to have a dedicated server to take advantage of it. Usually reports had to be developed specifically for the mobile application. What’s new is that BI vendors now support mobile BI as an extension to the BI platform.

It’s just a service that runs on the BI platform, and you take those existing reports as is, so you’re not having to build specific dashboards for the iPhone or Blackberry. Instead these are reports that are just re-rendered on the mobile device. If the vendor has rich reporting, they give you interactivity. So smarter phones allow the vendors to take advantage of these capabilities.

When it comes to evaluating the mobile BI solution, examine whether your organization can standardize on a mobile device. Then look at which ones the vendors are supporting. For iPhones, do they have a purpose-built application, or for the Blackberry do they have a purpose built application. Then look at the degree of interactivity. Then look at how the product is packaged and licensed. Do desktop users also get mobile usage or do you have to buy additional licenses?

So this is beginning to become a maturing innovation. For the newer smart phones, very few vendors support them. The value is in the timeliness of access to information. The positioning is for field workers and front-line workers without a workstation.

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