As the BYOD (bring your own device) movement continues to gain momentum across industries, IT and business leaders are pushing to find ways to leverage the use of employees’ mobile devices to improve productivity.
Popular enterprise mobility apps include mobile sales force applications, field service, and work/share apps.
But there’s also growing interest in the deployment of mobile business intelligence (BI) tools that employees can use on their smartphones or tablets to improve decision making among business leaders and employees, regardless of where they may be located at a given time.
Smartphones and tablets have become so powerful that it’s like having a computer in your hands.
Thanks to the strengths and versatility of today’s mobile devices, business executives and other knowledge workers are discovering that the same information that can be analyzed and dissected on a standard desktop system can just as easily be deciphered on mobile devices, according to a recent report on mobile BI by Capgemini.
This year, Gartner Inc. predicts that 33% of business intelligence functionality will be consumed by mobile devices. Taking mobile BI adoption a step further, Forrester Research predicts that over the next few years, the tablet will be used more often than traditional laptops to run BI applications.
These trends and predictions reflect the growing need among business leaders, customer-facing employees, and other on-the-go users to be able to use mobile BI to analyze current customer, market, business, and operational information quickly and easily.
Mobile users need powerful BI functionality, such as visual views of graphs, bars, and tables as well as knowledge sharing capabilities with other like-minded users.
Still, even though opportunities for leveraging mobile BI may seem apparent, IT and business leaders need to carefully consider whether adoption and usage would justify investments in these tools.
A mobile computing/mobile BI market study by Dresner Advisory Services reveals several interesting trends relative to the use and adoption of mobile BI.
For starters, although mobile BI use is beginning to filter down throughout organizations, executives continue to be the top consumers, according to president and founder Howard Dresner.
Still, this is an encouraging trend, Dresner points out. As executives witness first hand the business value that can be gained from the use of mobile BI solutions, they’re likely to encourage others in the organization to use these tools as well.
Further, Dresner finds that smaller companies have the greatest cultural readiness for adopting mobile BI since these organizations are already comfortable using mobile technologies.
Larger organizations are also interested in mobile BI. However, it often takes longer and costs more to implement new technology in larger enterprises. Midsize firms, meanwhile, are stuck in the middle as they lack the agility of smaller companies and the resources of enterprise organizations, Dresner notes.
Mobile BI champions can strengthen adoption by conducting town hall discussions and other forums with employees to demonstrate the different applications and uses for mobile BI and how it can help speed decision making.
Meanwhile, IT and business leaders can evaluate different employee groups that would benefit most from the use of mobile BI tools for different purposes (e.g., field sales). Doing so can help IT investment leaders determine the areas where the tools are likeliest to drive the highest penetration and deliver the greatest bang for the buck.
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