In recent years, the functional and technical requirements for BI applications have increased so that companies need to do more to improve functional efficiency for their BI users. The growing success of Mobile BI solutions have now enable users to access BI-related data such as KPIs, business metrics, and dashboards on mobile devices.
Mobile BI is not a new concept; it can be dated back to the early 1990s when mobile phone use first began to become widespread. At its early stage, Mobile BI applications did not provide a lot of end user functions. They are also not easy to use, have confusing BI front end, and require long query times.
The new mobile revolution started after Apple announced the first generation of iPhone in 2007. Today’s smartphone can use the mobile browser to access web-based applications and developers are able to develop applications for specific OS such as iOS and Android. With these advancements, Mobile BI is no longer just a question of addressing individual desires, but a total reshape the use of business intelligence solutions. In particular, experienced users are to receive more degrees of freedom in the use of BI applications that enable them to respond more quickly to new and dynamic requirements.
For Mobile BI applications, the flexibility on the application and the preservation of data standards in the company have to be balanced. Practically, professional users are looking for the following five functional requirements in the Mobile BI applications:
- Modification of reports and dashboards – individually filter business information; simply customize analyzes without the help of IT. For example, reports by the calculation and creation of new columns, graphics and tables.
- Preparation of reports and dashboards ad hoc – Independent reporting while enforces a clean separation between the external interface and the internal implementation of complex data models.
- Integration of private or local data – Excel documents, TXT, CSV files, or other data sources. The data can be integrated or be linked directly via keys with existing report data either via a central data repository (centralized storage) or via one or more semantic layer.
- Modification of data models – Adjust data models independently or generate to simulate scenarios. “Power users” want, for example, represent forecasts of future business processes. Technically, data modelling is often performed in so-called sandboxes that correspond to a controlled database/business intelligence environment. However, it will not allow in practice, many BI organizations to restore such changes to the data model again in the Enterprise Data Warehouse to avoid the risk of inconsistency in the data model.
- Monitoring and improvement of data quality – Currently still rare request from business users or data quality managers which utilize self-service tools for these tasks. However, Mobile BI can definitely be used to establish a repeatable process to allow the constant monitoring and improvement of the quality of organizational data assets.
Mobile BI is still a small piece in the BI puzzle; but it is becoming bigger as it enable people to access business data anywhere, at any time to make better and timely decisions. The future Mobile BI evolution will continue to be powered by both the mobile capability and and BI technology advancements.