The bring your own device (BYOD) trend has moved from hype to reality, from nice-to-have to necessity and from business option to expectation. It's a workplace trend that's driven by worker demands, and as many as 60% of organizations will give in to allow personal devices in the workplace by the end of 2013. In the same way, the new era of business intelligence is driven by consumer technologies like mobility and collaboration, and that's one of the reasons we're seeing such an uptick in mobile BI adoption plans this year...people are simply demanding it.
Mobile BI Plans
According to a 2012 benchmark study by Ventana Research on Next Generation Business Intelligence, 53% of companies are currently deploying or plan to deploy tablets in their BI environment, a trend driven by executives who use their own mobile devices for work and are asking for support. BI vendors have been quick to respond – like others, we released our own product, arcplan Mobile, in early 2011 in anticipation of the trend.
The 2012 Successful BI Survey by BI Scorecard revealed that organizations that have already deployed mobile BI and been successful enjoy an adoption rate of 39%, much higher than industry average. BI Scorecard founder Cindi Howson thinks mobile BI "will be the technology that helps BI become more mainstream and impactful."
Most recently, the latest CIO Magazine Tech Priorities survey revealed that IT spending will increase in 2013, with the heaviest investments to be made in mobile technology and business intelligence.
So it's clear that mobile use in (and out) of the workplace is growing and will continue to do so, and that mobile BI is becoming more important over time, and may soon be the primary method by which users access BI in the not-too-distant future. In 2013, you can't afford to ignore mobility as part of your company's BI strategy.
Forces Driving Mobile BI Adoption
The needs of modern workers are changing. First, they're more remote than ever. IDC predicts significant growth in the number of mobile workers, reaching 1.3 billion or 37.2% of the total workforce by 2015. These workers need mobile devices to stay productive, to remain in touch while on the go, and to make decisions without being tethered to the office, a desk, or a desktop computer. They use smartphones and tablets which are practically ubiquitous now. According to Gartner, over one billion smartphones and tablets will be purchased in 2013 – up from 821 million in 2012. Naturally, people want to access the same things on their phones and tablets as they do on their laptops and desktops, and they increasingly want to access BI data on them. Howard Dresner's Wisdom of Crowds Mobile Business Intelligence Market Study revealed that organizations of all sizes say they will be using mobile BI substantially by 2015. Executives and other on-the-go workers can't afford to wait until they get back to the office to make decisions. They need metrics wherever they are and mobile BI is the key.
Make It Easy On Yourself
Mobile BI is on the agenda for many organizations this year and as a relatively new technology, it can be overwhelming for some. My advice is to select a tool that'll minimize the amount of work needed to deploy mobile BI apps. We've written on this blog before about the importance of designing applications specifically for mobile devices – that the adoption rate won't be nearly as high if you simply roll out a desktop app for mobile and expect people to live with it. You should consider solutions that employ responsive design, a concept that enables applications to be automatically tailored to the end user's device. It eliminates the need to redesign apps for each type of device – since your CEO might have a 9" tablet and a 4.5" smartphone, and your CFO might have a 5" phone and a 15" laptop, etc – and should save everyone a lot of time and trouble when it comes to your mobile BI rollout.
You've likely invested a lot in your business intelligence solution and you want people to use it. Mobile BI is another way to increase BI adoption at a low cost. In fact, arcplan's mobile BI solution is free for our customers and with one click can be deployed to any device from iPads and iPhones to Windows phones and Android devices.
How has mobile BI affected BI adoption at your company? Leave me a comment!