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4/14/2010
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Mobile BI Apps Target iPad

Roambi, QlikTech, and MicroStrategy are among business intelligence software vendors taking advantage of the Apple tablet's screen real estate.

For more on business intelligence, see Intelligent Enterprise.

Business intelligence vendors are getting better at delivering charts, graphs, and other data visualizations that are actually legible on smart phones. But there's nothing like screen real estate when you need to drill down on reports, slice and dice data, and display rich dashboards. Thus, it should be no surprise that BI vendors are quickly adopting Apple's hot new iPad tablet device.

New mobile BI apps with native iPad support were introduced by both MeLLmo and QlikTech at this week's Gartner's Business Intelligence Summit in Las Vegas. MicroStrategy previously announced iPad support on April 2, and SAS this week announced it will support the device by this fall.

MeLLmo on April 12 released Roambi Enterprise Server 3 (ES3), an upgrade of the iPhone-based mobile BI platform that the company introduced last May. Exploiting the larger screen of the iPad, Roambi now supports a dashboard-style Trends view and a cross-comparison view that displays up to four data visualizations on a single screen. MeLLmo recently visited TechWeb's New York offices and demonstrated its iPad support. (Scroll down to view video.)

MeLLmo's platform starts with the Roambi App, which is downloadable from MeLLmo, the Apple iPhone Apps Store on iTunes, and the Google Apps Marketplace. Roambi Lite and Roambi Pro publishing services available online support uploading and sharing data. ES3 is MeLLmo's on-premise server for enterprise deployments. Roambi launched with support for BusinessObjects BI systems, Salesforce.com, and Excel and CSV files. This week's ES3 upgrade adds support for IBM Cognos, Microsoft Reporting Services, Microsoft SharePoint, the open-source LifeRay portal, and Google Spreadsheet.

To enhance enterprise appeal, MeLLmo has bolstered the IT management features in ES3. Mobile report generation, for example, can be synchronized with the scheduled reporting tools within BI systems. Security has been enhanced with options to lock-down data, wipe data remotely, temporarily block devices, and selectively delete files remotely.

MeLLmo's Roambi Pro app is $99 per user and can be used in combination with the Lite or Pro publishing services. ES3 is $795 per user for a perpetual license with a minimum of 50 users.

QlikTech's new QlikView for iPad app is based on the vendor's previously available iPhone app but is said to take advantage of the tablet's native screen resolution. Both apps exploit Apple's multi-touch interface, auto screen-orientation detection, GPS position detection, and CoverFlow feature. The latter comes in handy for flipping through available QlikView reports.

All data QlikViews has developed for conventional, PC-based analysis are automatically formatted and available for iPad and iPhone viewing without additional servers or software. The apps are free at the Apple App Store on iTunes, and QlikView also supports RIM Blackberry and Android smart phones.

MicroStrategy has been very public about its ambitions for mobile BI. Chief Operating Officer Sanju Bansal recently told Intelligent Enterprise that the independent BI vendor will release a major upgrade of its MicroStrategy Mobile platform as well as a Mobile App for iPhone platform later this year.

The new platforms will exploit smartphone-native GPS capabilities and promise improvement in query response speeds. The iPad support MicroStrategy announced on April 2 is extension of current platform support. Prices and device-native capabilities were not detailed.

In yet another mobile BI announcement, SAS announced April 12 that it will release a SAS Mobile platform in September that will support iPhone and iPad, RIM Blackberry, and Windows mobile devices.

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