5 Reasons You Need Mobile BI – And How to Make it Successful

If you haven’t made your business intelligence (BI) mobile yet, you probably have demands for it from users.

And who can blame your people for wanting mobile BI? They’re always on the go, so they need business data such as inventory, records and spreadsheets at their fingertips at any hour on any given day.

What You Have to Gain

If users haven’t sold you on the need for mobile BI, or you need to sell the C-suite on the idea, here are five of the top benefits:

  1. Pushes usage and adoption. Employees will be able to access data and analytics to improve efficiency. Imagine the sales person with real-time access to inventory. He can tell a potential customer, who’s ready to buy only if the product is ready to ship, exactly what’s sitting on pallets and ready to load.
  2. Gives everyone with access to data the ability to share a single, up-to-date version of key information even when they’re not in the office. That makes it easier for remote or traveling employees on the same team to stay productive.
  3. Allows trained users who have data access to be self-sufficient with their mobile devices (such as tablets and smartphones), eliminating much of the need for IT help when they’re offsite.
  4. Gives corporate leaders, IT professionals and division leads the ability to know what happens in the company anytime, anywhere. That way, they can tackle issues before they can grow into major problems that affect business, employees and customers.
  5. Adds value to the overall BI strategy. It helps people connect quickly with the data they need and the people they need to collaborate with.

However, even with the benefits in mind, making BI accessible via mobile devices can’t be taken lightly. First off, it’s not the same as standard BI. Devices vary greatly, and information must fit the physical size and technical capacity of each one.

Plus, security is a bigger concern because data loss and breaches are more likely to happen when devices aren’t onsite.

What You’ll Want to Watch

Whether you have a mobile BI plan in play or you’re considering one, you’ll want to be aware of these five key trends, pulled from research and proven best practices.

  1. Include it. Don’t replace it. Mobile BI is a tool to connect people and data on the go and at a moment’s notice. It can’t and shouldn’t replace any other form of business intelligence, according to experts at Panorama Software. So when you’re choosing a mobile BI solution or upgrading to one, you still want to focus mostly on its core competencies – architecture, centralization, security – and less on the bells and whistles of mobile capabilities.
  2. Security is top priority. Mobile devices make data access convenient … and risky. Mobile devices are easily lost or stolen, so security with mobile BI is even more critical than in-house security. Important keys: The best companies only allow users to access data they’re authorized to see. Also, data should never actually be saved on users’ mobile devices. It should only be accessible while they’re logged into your solution, and after they’ve went through a double-authentication process.
  3. Size it. Business intelligence looks different on mobile devices than it does on laptops and desktops. It’s nearly impossible to use analytics designed for a desktop when they’re simply resized for smaller, mobile devices, according to YellowFin’s Carl Edwards, a BI consultant. Mobile apps for BI need to include the ability to view, filter, drill and sort data in a mobile-friendly format so users can access data as easily as they could onsite.
  4. Save time. Business happens at lightning speed these days. Users can make the best possible decisions to help their businesses when they have the most up-to-date information at their fingertips. The best mobile BI is backed by people who are regularly adding, monitoring, analyzing and cleaning up data. This keeps it precise, which helps users access the data they need faster to make quick, smart decisions.
  5. Train to share more. Companies that are data-rich and mobile can best take advantage of these capabilities when employees are skilled at accessing, sharing and using available data. Teams will collaborate more efficiently when members fully understand business data and how to work with it. So as the data bank grows larger, with more people accessing it, training on its use should also increase.

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