Today, smartphones and mobility have firmly entrenched themselves in the enterprise by delivering benefits such as increased productivity and better customer experiences. Consequently, the expectations from what enterprise mobility can deliver are only set to increase.
Sure enough – the next demand is on the mobile Business Intelligence (BI) front as employees get more accustomed to data and intelligence on-
demand. It is no surprise then that Mobile BI is growing beyond sporadic success stories today — according to TechNavio's forecast, the global mobile BI market is set to grow at a CAGR of 27.47% over 2012-2016.1
While enterprises have already invested significantly in implementing a BI strategy, such systems usually tend to be desktop based and should now be mobile-enabled. In my view, several aspects need to be considered before making this switch such as:
- Ensuring content-rich desktop-based dashboards be displayed effectively on mobile devices
- Delivering outstanding and consistent user experience across mobile devices
- Allowing customized display of data based on user profile, location, device capabilities etc.
- Providing real-time analysis capabilities on the mobile device to make it truly dynamic
While it is evident that mobile BI holds a lot of promise, it is difficult to demonstrate tangible RoI making widespread adoption a challenge. Therefore it becomes imperative to develop a business case to justify the investments and educate stakeholders on the potential top line benefits. The business case should highlight the following returns from a mobile BI solution:
- Increased use of existing enterprise applications: Employees are likely to use mobile applications more frequently than a desktop based application
- Adding new users to existing applications: Senior executives for example may opt to use mobile applications due to ease of use, accessibility as well as its ability to be used on the move.
- New use cases introduced by mobile applications: Device capabilities such as geo-location, camera, accelerometer, contacts, can increase and enhance use cases.
- Increase in employee productivity: Use of mobile devices can shorten sales cycles and reduce operating costs (such as technical support).
- Cost savings: The workplace can become paperless thereby lowering costs.
- Increase in innovation: Employees can collaborate when spurred on by new ideas, generating revenue or reducing costs.
When calculating RoI, enterprises must factor the complete cost of developing mobile BI and dashboards. This means including the cost of the devices as well as the infrastructure such as hardware, software, maintenance, support/upgrades and training.
Despite the difficulty in measuring RoI of mobile BI, enterprises are likely to adopt this trend sooner than later. The key reason for this is that executives understand the value of data on-the-go intuitively. As businesses go the mobile way, they are learning that this value of data available outside traditional boundaries might have an indirect impact on the bottom line. Do you agree that it clearly provides a leading edge?