But there is a big gap between thinking about a technology and actually implementing it. Writing for Information Management, Deepti Singh opines not all organizations are ready for mobile BI.
She mentions standardizing master data as a prerequisite. I found that a little discouraging, given master data management's reputation for cost and complexity. However, perhaps organizations can use an MDM approach suggested by IT Business Edge blogger Loraine Lawson, focusing on a limited, but clearly defined and significant, set of data to control centrally.
This idea is supported by Singh's suggestion that organizations must also understand what kinds of data need to be made available via mobile devices. Different users will likely want different kinds of data, with senior managers interested in real-time KPIs while sales executives are more likely to want customer analytics and proactive sales alerts.
Targeted applications are likely to be more useful than more general ones, as I've written before, and they should also be able to connect to CRM, inventory and other systems. While these qualities are also important with non-mobile BI apps, they are especially critical given that mobile devices offer the ability to deliver information at a time when it's needed to make a decision or otherwise take action. Given that, users don't want to sift through lots of not-so-relevant reports or other data.
Singh offers some other good advice, though it's pretty general in nature and not as specific to mobile BI:
- Test a prototype to determine if it fits your need.
- Understand your security requirements.
- Determine whether BI vendors that have provided other solutions can also satisfy mobile needs, as this is likely to be more cost effective than working with a new and unknown vendor.