The business intelligence tools of yesterday were slow, expensive, difficult to use, and required long implementation times. Well…let’s be honest – many of today’s BI tools are still this way. I find it amazing what some organizations will put up with when it comes to BI. Best-in-class organizations, however, are going after agile BI like never before. Agile BI enables “flexibility by accelerating the time it takes to deliver value with BI projects,” according to TDWI. That’s the formal definition, but what does agile BI look like in practice?
The concept of agile BI has made users more demanding in what they expect out of a BI solution. They want information in their hands faster so they can make decisions in a timely manner – that is, they want to make decisions based on today’s data, not data that’s 3 weeks old. They want simple, intuitive self-service BI tools that allow them to manipulate and analyze data themselves, without having to wait for IT. And they want BI that’s implemented quickly so they see faster time-to-value.
So agile BI is about timely information, self-service analysis, and rapid implementation. But it’s also the key to increasing BI adoption at your organization. Let’s explore why.
The growing availability of tablet PCs like the incredibly popular iPad, as well as the Motorola Xoom and BlackBerry PlayBook underscore the fact that the term ‘mobile’ applies to more than just phones these days. Users flock to purchase tablet devices for a number of reasons – they’re hooked on the latest and greatest technology, they see value in having a lightweight yet powerful mobile PC with them on the go, or they love their tablet’s battery life as compared to their laptop’s. Whatever the reason, the explosion of tablet purchases opens business intelligence to a whole new platform. Sure, your mobile BI app is likely available on smartphones, but it can have even greater capacity on a tablet.
Mobile apps for tablets are hot. Dresner Advisory Services’ Mobile BI Market Study (which includes arcplan Mobile) reflects the importance of mobile BI on tablets – respondents identified iPad as their primary deployment platform. Along those same lines, analysts are predicting that widespread BI adoption will be possible because of tablets, not smartphones due to inherent inadequacies in smartphone functionality and design for larger analyses. So the trend is clear – businesses are moving toward mobile BI and there’s a great interest in deploying on tablets.
Why tablets? Certainly convenience, ease of use, and the cool factor have something to do with it. They seem to have taken off among the executive set – we’re in so many meetings lately where everyone has an iPad on the table. As of January, Apple claimed that more than 80 percent of Fortune 100 companies are using or testing iPads. The mobile workforce, including remote sales teams, see the advantage of having a tablet with them when they’re out in the field either to take orders or to access sales data from their own BI systems. Our partner SAP has even deployed 3,500 iPads to employees in the field, allowing them to connect with their own business intelligence software for instantly updated information.