Business intelligence software is in an intriguing transitional phase. In the past BI, like other productivity systems, was desk-bound and harnessed by users with specialized skill sets. The future could present new and different opportunities, with social business intelligence encouraging connections between a wide variety of employees, working toward better data-based decisions. According to TechTarget, the harbinger of BI's progress could be mobile BI.
Mobility changes the game
TechTarget recently spoke to several business intelligence experts about the differences between a mobile-enabled BI model and the classic approach. Data Warehousing Institute researcher David Stodder told the source that mobile BI is different from the classic model on several levels. Rather than simply giving the same experience in a portable package, he suggested that companies collaborate with the newly liberated data as a base.
Tapping into excitement
One question posed by the rapid rise of mobility in BI is why the technology has found such eager adoption. Analytics specialist Donald Farmer told TechTarget that the answer lies in the difference in perception between mobile devices and computers. He explained that workers' willingness and even eagerness to make use of their tablets for business purposes could work to companies' benefit. He stated that some BI developers have begun to think of mobile first and noted that some user firms might begin to do the same.
"Someone said the iPad is a lean-back scenario and the laptop is a lean-forward scenario," Farmer told the source. "There's something different about how we use [technology] on a tablet and how we use it on a desktop, or even a laptop. I don't think it's [that] we're more comfortable with a tablet, it's [that] we're accustomed to being comfortable. [The tablet or mobile phone] isn't something forced on us. We want to use it, to interact with it."
The beginning stages
In mobile BI, early adopters may have stumbled onto a revolution just getting underway. ZDNet plumbed the current state of the industry in a recent conversation with software expert Scott Tunbridge. Tunbridge explained that the spread of mobile analytics to advanced users had only just begun. He suggested that the rise of tablets could be an important factor shaping the industry, as users have proven more interested in using the software on large iPad screens than pocket-sized mobile phone displays.