Earlier this month, Alys Woodward, a software analyst with IDC Insights Community, covered how the iPad will affect business intelligence in the future. In the article, Woodward (@alyswoodward) explored four major players with iPad BI applications – Oracle, SAP, Microstrategy and Tibco Spotfire – and measured their approaches which ranged from “a nice tool with which to look at information to a potential replacement for the laptop.”
In case you’re wondering, Woodward called Tibco’s approach “customer-led” because the application was developed so customers could see reports and data visualizations on the go.
Can the iPad Take BI to New Heights?
Woodward drilled down to why the iPad may be a game-changer for BI, and her review reveals that it actually could happen for three reasons:
- Improved interactivity and self-service.
- A smaller device for collaboration.
- Explaining the business benefits of BI to executives.
Our Take: Collaboration is big in the enterprise, and the iPad gives us the opportunity to interact or “pass-around” data and make the BI data value digestable for the executive team.
Do the iPad and Its BI Apps Make Sense for the Enterprise?
Woodward’s basis for whether the iPad and its BI applications are based on IDC’s whitepaper on Pervasive BI, which covers five factors companies can use to gauge how they use information and data’s value. She points out that the iPad only meets one of the five factors, which is degree of training. Looking at both the tools and the data and the effectiveness of the training is how companies can measure the “pervasiveness of BI.” Woodward says the iPad helps with the delivery tool, but not the data.
Her next key factor is non-executive management involvement to “drive success from BI once the system is implemented.” She doesn’t see non-executive managers being issued iPads in the near future, nor does she see iPads doing more than helping “BI get started in the organization.” Her test here is pervasiveness on an “ongoing basis.”
Our Take: One factor she may not have considered in the examination of non-executive management driving use of mobile BI is the trend in Bring Your Own Technology. iPads are not so expensive that only executives can afford them. Plus, with the ability to use many of these applications on the iPhone, managers at the mid-level may be able to push BI further than the management suite. Imagine sales accessing data on their iPad or iPhone and using the visualization to convince some other company’s executive team to buy a product. It’s more than possible.
Woodward also writes that cost may be a factor in whether enterprises adopt tablet technology as others including BlackBerry enter the space, but when you consider the BYOT trend, it’s very possible BI is heading to a more mobile purpose.
How Will BI Software Delivery Change with the iPad?
The last factor Woodward tests is Apple’s application delivery – most mobile BI apps are accessed via a browser (such as Spotfire); and iPad/iPhone users are trained to buy from the Apple store. Woodward questions whether the iPad will be “strong enough for enterprises to change how they buy software, as well as hardware.”
Our Take: It’s a valid question that vendors need to address to stay competitive.
Spotfire Blogging Team
Image Credit:Courtesy of Business Insider