With the advent of big data, business intelligence has again been pushed to the forefront of IT's attention. With so many organizations conducting more and more business on the move, mobile devices have been looked to as the answer. That said, the lackluster nature of many of the current generation mobile BI apps have met with mixed success. Putting data insights into the hands of mobile workers at the very moment they need it seems to be a brilliant and logical idea. So what's gone wrong with mobile BI apps?
One big issue, according to Pam Baker for Fierce Big Data, is that many mobile BI apps try and shoehorn desktop amounts of information onto tiny screens. Almost every single BI tool out there was designed for desktop use, and the majority of mobile apps are just the desktop experience replicated on a mobile device. Repurposing in this way doesn't work.
Changing this dynamic is clearly crucial for the adoption of mobile BI to really take off. Some small steps can lead to huge gains here. For example, focusing on one factor can aid the transition between desktop and mobile analytics. A good starting point would be with tablets. These have more screen area and can handle the dashboards in a way that doesn't fundamentally change the experience from desktop to mobile.
The transition from Windows 8 to Windows 10 can offer a lesson for the mobile BI world in this regard. Windows 8 – forward thinking and stable as it was – won few fans with its unfamiliar interface, and Windows 10 learned from this and returned many of the functionalities present in earlier versions. The lesson, and the challenge, is that too much differentiation from the desktop version can slow adoption, but if there’s too little, it becomes unworkable.
Furthermore, security concerns are hampering uptake. Many CIOs seem resistant to adopt mobile technologies for many of the same reasons they have been resistant to adopting the cloud and BYOD-type policies. Therefore, security needs to be a priority and not an adjunct or afterthought. Most organizations will require proof that meaningful measures have been taken on security before adopting this technology.
All things considered, the future is bright for mobile technology. Mobile is continually increasing its role in business operations. Pushing data into the hands of mobile workers simply provides too much of a competitive edge for businesses to ignore it for much longer.
Current mobile BI offerings are lackluster
Not enough innovation in BI apps for mobile
Security is a major concern and is a potential obstacle to uptake