Mobile Business Intelligence

Mobile Business Intelligence is more than a fancy app on your phone. For many it has become the lifeblood of their business, as more and more business decisions of every level are being made on the run, when your mobile data device is all that you have to work with. But Mobile Business Intelligence is more than just connecting your tablet or your phone to your In House BI system. With Mobile systems, you are limited by both what you can fit on your screen and by what you download with your bandwidth at any given time. Your Mobile BI system must be able to identify and deliver the data that you need for each situation, in a format that you can understand at a glance.

Business to Go

In the early days of internet inter connectivity, the main buzzwords were things like 'on line presence' and 'telecommuting' and 'virtual conference room', where people could conduct a global business without leaving their own personal office.

But soon, with the advent of mobile communications, these same people realized that they could run their business without being locked in a room somewhere. That they could get out and do real business with real people, as long as they had access to their business metrics on the road.

Thus the birth of Mobile BI

Big Data in a Small Format

When you are dealing with massive data sets in an office setting, screen real estate is not an issue. If your screen is too small, get a bigger one. Screens measuring 21 inches or more are becoming commodities now and it is not hard to justify their purchase. Still don't have enough room? Get a second screen. Or a third. There is no effective limit when you are working in house.

Data transfer rates? No problem when working on the in house network.

But for your mobile equipment, none of this is possible. While you in one respect free of the tethers of the corporate office, you are locked into the capacity of whatever smart phone or on line tablet you are carrying with you.

Unfortunately, most Mobile BI solutions are mostly taking your in house metrics and dashboards and cramming them into a small screen format, which is difficult to read and manipulate.

The Mobile Dashboard:

The dashboard which is the foundation of most in house BI systems must be completely reworked for use on a hand held platform. You need a BI that will:

  • Recognize your end use platform and adjust the way that data is displayed accordingly.
  • Allow each user to customize their data formats to be specific to their device of choice.
  • Perform more sophisticated analysis when working with a mobile app, which needs to communicate the same information with fewer display elements.

Mobile Reports and Summaries:

As with the Mobile Dashboard, reporting functions for mobile apps must be more succinct then their desktop counterparts.

With desktop based systems, you can include wide variety of information and depend on the end user to filter out the items that do not apply to the job at hand. But with hand held devices, this model creates a complex and confusing system that tends to obscure more information than it reveals.

Mobile Apps should be designed to eliminate extraneous information and to focus on the data that the end user will need to make decisions or close sales.

Browsers and HTML5

In the latest revisions to the HTML web scripting language, many new features have been added that directly apply to phones, tablets and other mobile devices. The advances in this newer version allows Mobile BI to utilize:

  • Responsive Web Layout: A technique that uses advance Cascading Style Sheets, fluid grids and Flexible Images to adapt content meant for large screen formats to your smaller screen.
  • Adaptive Web Layout: A system that adds an additional Client layer that allows the browser to make display decisions based on the user's current device and personal device settings.           

Intelligent and Informed System Design

Despite all of the advanced tools and systems available to Mobile BI designers, the most important element when designing any mobile data system is to understand how that system will be used in the day to day environment. Your system designers need to have the expertise to analyze your mobile data needs and take the time to understand what business needs you are trying to solve with Mobile BI.

Security:

Mobile BI suffers from the same risks shared by all mobile apps: Security.

Unlike your desktop computer, your phone or tablet can be lifted by a thief or left behind for someone to find. It is important that when you create a Mobile BI Platform, you implement the best security. That means:

  • Use only established platforms that have a track record of good on board security and encryption.
  • Integrate remote shutdown and tracking software that can neutralize a lost device once it is found to be missing and help find it using local IP addresses.
  • Design the app specific log ins to utilize any biometrics available on the selected platform.
  • Make sure that users are restricted to specific areas of your system, and that the in house data server can analyze the data requests for unusual activity.
  • Enforce strict and rigorous password policies.

Data Architecture:

The key to a good mobile app is its independence from the home data base. This means that the more processing and analysis done at the mobile device level, the better your performance as despite advances in wireless technology, it still takes a time to move data. But here another limitation must be dealt with. The capacity of your mobile device.

Desk top computers and even laptops have tremendous amounts of internal storage on hard drives, solid state drives and ram. But tablets and phones are still operating with a fraction of the data capacity that real PCs can access.

In order to make your mobile apps as much like their in house counterparts as possible, you need data engineers that can create a structure that is:

  • Reliable: one that works in a variety of environments.
  • Secure: one that uses state of the art encryption solutions at every level.
  • Scalable: one that, as much as possible, has the same access, backup and recovery features on your hand held device as is found in your in house system.

Data Governance:

A growing discipline within the IT world, Data Governance uses business rules, data validation parameters and other sophisticated techniques to make sure the data entered or captured by the user is as accurate as possible. This is especially important on small devices where the user interface is likely to be more error prone.

To learn more about how GRT can help you meet your goals, contact us.