Ten Great Mobile Business Intelligence Apps

Friday Jan 28th 2011 by Drew Robb
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With the market for mobile business intelligence about to take off, we look at some of the coolest mobile BI apps.

Mobile business intelligence is getting a lot of ink these days. Yet according to Forrester Research, that coverage has far outweighed its importance in the grand scheme of things — for now.

Boris Evelson, a business intelligence (BI) analyst at Forrester, said that in the last two years, the analyst firm has received fewer than 50 mobile BI-related inquiries among thousands that have come in for business intelligence as a whole. More significantly, the bulk of these inquiries came from vendors and consultants looking to build mobile BI applications, rather than from enterprise buyers and adopters. That interest has manifested itself in the form of a steady stream of mobile BI product releases from vendors small and large over the past several months.

But with the growing popularity of the tablet, thanks in part to Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPad, he expects adoption rates of mobile BI to soar.

"Tablets have screen sizes and touch screen interfaces that are perfect for most typical BI applications and data interactivity," said Evelson. "In the last few months, Forrester and some of the systems integrators we talked to have seen an accelerating rate of client interest in mobile BI for their tablets."

So with a surge in mobile BI adoption potentially on the horizon, let's take a look at some of the more interesting mobile BI apps out there.

 

BIRT Mobile

BIRT Mobile by Actuate works on the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and the Blackberry. It extends BIRT-based data visualization to mobile devices.

"Actuate is investing heavily in mobile BI with native BIRT iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, and Android applications," said Evelson.

This mobile BI application delivers content via mobile browsers and native or custom applications. It includes BIRT Mobile Viewer and HD Viewer for iPad.

"Actuate is among the handful of vendors to provide native platform support across a majority of mobile platforms," said Howard Dresner of Dresner Advisory Services, who recently predicted great things for mobile BI.

 

Roambi

Roambi Enterprise Server 3 (ES3) by MeLLmo is comprised of server software, the Roambi Publisher utility and the Roambi mobile app. It integrates with most BI platforms and data warehouses. It also enables analysis of data from the iPhone or iPad. Users can select up to five dimensions of raw data to generate visualizations that are delivered to a mobile device.

"One of our top customer requests was for the ability to generate dynamic visualizations from raw data," said Santiago Becerra, MeLLmo co-founder and CEO.

 

MicroStrategy Mobile

MicroStrategy Mobile extends graphs, grids, enterprise reports and information dashboards to the Blackberry, iPhone and iPad. Features include: out-of-the-box integration with Google maps; the use of the Apple swipe, tap, flick and rotate multi-touch gestures for ease of navigation; rapid integration with email, browser, text messaging, social networking and other apps; and integration with GPS so user locations don't need to be manually entered.

"The mobile Internet will dwarf all previous IT waves with its sheer size [number of users] and convenience, and that mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad will become the de facto way that companies access business information," said Wende Cover of MicroStrategy. "Many people prefer to consume business intelligence on their mobile devices rather than on their desktop computers, since mobile devices are more portable, always on and always connected. Mobile business intelligence is a logical extension of traditional business intelligence, but requires even higher performance, with the ability to serve even larger user populations and provide rapid responses to business queries."

 

Mobile Business Intelligence

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PushBI

PushBI by Extended Results is designed to leverage existing BI investments by personalizing the information and delivering it to desktop or mobile devices; just plug in PushBI and traditional BI apps have mobile functionality.

Evelson notes that PushBI, in conjunction with Microsoft BI, has been deployed by South Orange County Community College in Southern California by administration staff. While walking through the registration floors, classes, or talking to teachers and students, they can monitor and analyze enrollment numbers using mobile devices as registration progresses at the start of the semester.

 

SAP BusinessObjects

SAP BusinessObjects gets good marks for mobility in a recent Forrester market analysis. It operates on iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and other Java-enabled devices. It includes GPS and works with any query format.

According to Evelson, a large global enterprise used it to deliver executive dashboards to the office, home, on-the-go or at client locations.

"They have seamless access to the same info no matter what location they are at or what device they use," said Evelson.

 

LogiXML

LogiXML is another product that got high marks on the Forrester study. It comes in two forms:

 

  • Logi Info is the developer version, which can be used to create dashboards, reports and analysis tools without the need to use code. This is achieved via pre-assembled elements.

     

  • Logi Ad Hoc is the self-service version. Non-IT users can harness it to create their own Web-based ad hoc reporting tools.

 

QlikView for Mobile

QlikTech's QlikView is available for most mobile devices as well as the iPad. Features include interactive visual dashboards, associative search and GPS-sensitive filtering.

 

SAS Mobile

SAS offers a smart-phone-based interactive dashboard application known as SAS Mobile. Users of SAS Mobile applications navigate through displays with interactive graphs, tables and charts. Alert features notify them of changes in key measures. iPhone, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices were supported in the initial release.

 

SoftMaster Mobile Business Intelligence

SoftMaster Mobile Business Intelligence lets you access Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) dashboards and reports on most smartphones using SoftMaster's Mobile BI app.

 

IBM Cognos 8 Go! Mobile

IBM offers Cognos 8 Go! Mobile for users of Cognos business intelligence.

IBM says there is no need to build and maintain a separate mobile BI deployment. The service provides users with actual IBM Cognos 8 BI reports, not static renditions or OEM reproductions, and there's no need to re-author for wireless devices. The client automatically formats data for viewing on the screen of your mobile device, and users can take advantage of native mobile device behaviors such as scrolling, touch screen technology and clicking to navigate reports and menus.

The service is offered on BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 3rd Edition devices.

 

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