Mobile BI is probably the most underestimated field of Business Intelligence. Companies keep seeing it as just another channel to deliver historical data when it actually has the potential to improve processes and deliver great business outcomes.
Why Mobile BI fails
Think how pervasive the presence of smartphones has become. We take them everywhere we go. While consumer apps seem to have understand that, enterprise software keep falling short, including Business Intelligence.
Somehow companies got stuck with this old vision of what BI is suppose to be and do.
The conventional thinking is that BI exists to produce periodic reports with historical data to be discussed on a meeting. The same goes to Mobile BI, it’s just a way to get figures when you are not at the office. It ends up being the same static reports and old dashboards just adapted to fit a smaller screen.
This happens because we are still attached to the idea that BI is something that only executives, managers and business analysts, who spent most of the time at the office, use.
This leaves out of the picture “nomad” workers, people that are rarely at their desk but could profit from having real-time and easy access to information.
Mobile BI successful examples
The most obvious example of on-the-go workers are sales teams.
Imagine a sales rep starting his day by defining which clients he is going to visit. The sales rep can check opportunities with higher closing probability or customers that didn’t order for 6 months and decide which route to take.
As he always has up-to-date information on his smartphone – last orders, customers’ complaints, promotions, etc., the sales rep can offer great deals on the spot and even uncover up and cross sell opportunities.
During the day his manager can send him notifications within the application to visit other clients.
The same type of experience can be provided to maintenance teams, store managers, restaurants, etc..
Driving Mobile BI adoption
For Mobile BI to fulfil its potential there must be cultural and technological changes.
For the cultural transformation to take place, BI and business leaders will need to brainstorm on the who needs data and where and when can data increase processes efficiency, uncovering new opportunities that will drive business outcomes.
Equally important is technology. User experience and interface can be determinant when it comes to user adoption. While most BI vendors are still focused on deploying reports and dashboards on a read-only mode with few to none ways to interact, other are developing significantly different approaches, such as natural language interfaces.
With natural language, users can interact with the application by speaking or typing commands and they can search and analyse data through plain language queries.
Wizdee is an example of how natural language can be applied to business intelligence. It allows users to do what we just described, speak and type plain language queries to get automatic charts. In fact, Wizdee is the only BI vendor who already integrates voice capabilities.
Whether way, it’s time to think out of the box when it comes to mobile BI. What about you? Do you have a success story on Mobile BI you could share with us?