Starbucks Brews up Business Case for Mobile BI

Thursday Jul 7th 2011 by Ann All
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It's only been a few weeks since I wrote about the growing buzz for mobile business intelligence, particularly when it's delivered via tablets. I shared BI expert Howard Dresner's opinion that iPads and other tablets, which are popular with executives, offer a great way to expose them to the potential of business intelligence.

It's only been a few weeks since I wrote about the growing buzz for mobile business intelligence, particularly when it's delivered via tablets. I shared BI expert Howard Dresner's opinion that iPads and other tablets, which are popular with executives, offer a great way to expose them to the potential of business intelligence.

So it's not too surprising to find that Starbucks is doing exactly that. According to Computerworld, Starbucks is testing a tablet deployment of MicroStrategy's 9.2.1 software, which will allow managers and executives to access financial and other data relevant to a specific location while visiting that store. GPS capabilities of a tablet make it possible to quickly deliver store-specific data.

This sounds quite similar to the scenario Dresner described to me in an interview:

... I could have an alert sent to me and, depending on where I was at the moment, it could change what I do. If I'm in an operational role and I happen to be in a particular geography, and I see something that's interesting in a really good way or a really bad way, I might literally want to get into a cab and go to the location that relates to that insight. There's a perfect example in the report, from ... (clothing retailer) Guess. They give devices to management in the field. In that business, stuff changes daily. Based on what they know right now, they may decide to go across town to a different store to review their performance or find out what they are doing right or wrong. ...

It sounds like Starbucks is planning to support mobile devices other than iPads. Thomas Ball, who is leading BI platform development for the coffee chain, says the plan is to "create a Starbucks model to leverage many devices and have as little as possible of being tied into one."

This multi-device model is being used by other companies adopting tablets, including SAP and Google, as I wrote earlier this year.

 

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