Mobile Business Intelligence: Best-in-Class Secrets to Success
Companies succeeding at mobile BI delivery share winning practices for process improvement, organization, performance measurement and technology implementation.
As mobile communications and computing have become more advanced and widespread, many companies have moved to mobile and remote workforce strategies. This has increased the demand to extend the value of existing business intelligence (BI) investments to provide actionable information to the mobile and remote user communities. Delivering this information via smart phones, tablet PCs, and other sub-notebook devices is becoming a requirement.
This article, which summarizes the Aberdeen Group report "Mobile Business Intelligence: A Path to Pervasive BI?", investigates whether mobile BI can enable the goal of "pervasive BI" and related performance advantages. Based on a survey and interviews with more than 130 companies, Aberdeen's research reveals that Best-in-Class (BIC) companies — those among the top 20 percent in customer satisfaction, customer retention, employee productivity and sales pipeline performance — also show the highest levels of report reuse for mobile delivery and the broadest use of BI overall. Among the secrets of Best-in-Class success are user-directed report scheduling, automated "push" delivery and alerting, adequate training and technical support, and remote software installation and upgrade capabilities.
The challenge of supporting a mobile workforce with timely, relevant, and actionable business information is multi-faceted. In addition to the issues surrounding data volumes and connectivity, organizations must also resolve issues related to device and platform standardization, display screen real estate, and data and device security. Some of these issues have been addressed by companies that have taken an early-adopter approach to mobile BI.
Adoption of enabling technical capabilities is currently lower than overall adoption of BI software, but the level of planned adoption is very high (see "BIC Technology Adoption Plans," above). Respondents report that the mobile user is one of the single most underserved groups of BI end users, and the organization is focused on alleviating this deficiency as mobile computing continues to become more prevalent and adopted by senior executives.
The predominant pressures driving companies to investigate and invest in a mobile delivery method for BI are detailed in the "Pressures Driving Mobile BI Initiatives" chart, at right.
THE MATURITY FRAMEWORK
To understand the value of a mobile BI initiative, it is important to tie strategies and actions to the achievement of bottom-line company performance improvement. Aberdeen used four performance metrics to determine Best-in-Class performance:
Employee retention: percent year-over year change in employee retention rates (past 24 months)
Employee productivity: percent year-over-year improvement in employee time-spent looking for relevant information (past 24 months)
Sales pipeline performance: percent year-over-year change in the ability to add new opportunities to the sales pipeline (past 24 months).
Delivering BI capabilities to mobile workers requires a combination of strategic actions, organizational capabilities, and enabling technologies. Best-in-Class companies are those in the top 20 percent of aggregate performance scorers. Average companies are those in the middle 50 percent of aggregate performance scorers. Laggards are defined as firms among the bottom 30 percent of performance scorers.
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