Power Of A Data Warehouse In The Palm Of Your Hand - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

03:45 PM

Power Of A Data Warehouse In The Palm Of Your Hand

Business intelligence vendors create scaled-down applications for smartphones

What's smarter than a smartphone?

An intelligentphone--a cell phone that displays business intelligence served up by an enterprise-class analytics system.

Information Builders last week became the first major BI vendor to offer a tool for crunching numbers from smartphones. The company introduced a mobile version of its WebFocus Active Reports, software for collecting, analyzing, and distributing company data. Previously, Information Builders and other BI vendors had made it possible to push data-analysis results to mobile devices, but this goes a step further by letting on-the-go professionals view reports, conduct calculations, create charts, and change chart types from the back of a cab.

About half of BI content will be enabled for mobile devices over the next two years, predicts Rado Kotorov, Information Builders' director of strategic product management. It remains to be seen how many mobile professionals actually need to slice and dice data from handheld devices. Data analysis has long been the realm of data warehouses and the fattest of client computers, not small screens and keypads.

"It's fine when you want to fill out a one-page, seven-question questionnaire on a smartphone," says Brian Lunde, an IS manager at LifeSource, an organization that links organ and tissue donors with transplant recipients. "But the moment you roll into the next round of data input that requires you to scroll through tons of information, I think users would revolt." LifeSource uses mBiztech's mDB Enterprise mobile application on BlackBerrys to manage and review staff schedules.

Information Builders renders reports so that they display on a mobile device's minute Web browser. Users can scroll vertically or horizontally to view a report, or they can choose to limit the number of records that appear on a page.

Among business users, the mobile application market is still maturing beyond wireless E-mail. Other common uses include accessing business information (such as a contact from a company directory), point of sale, and field service. Eighty-five percent of businesses anticipate that the number of employees accessing enterprise apps via mobile devices will increase next year, according to an InformationWeek Research survey of 527 business technology professionals conducted in October. "Only a subsegment of mobile workers would need to have access to analytics on the go," says Forrester Research analyst Maribel Lopez. "It's a niche market."

Regardless, BI vendors are about to plow in. Cognos is planning to roll out a mobile version of its business intelligence software for BlackBerry devices early next year. Cognos 8 Go Mobile will use the native functionalities of the BlackBerry, so users can interact with reports using the scroll wheel or export files into Excel, PowerPoint, or Word. It's a rich-client application that will have to be installed on BlackBerrys by IT administrators, not do-it-yourselfers. Cognos will make it available on other smartphones later in the year, says Paul Hulford, senior manager of product marketing.

Business Objects is working on a prototype called MoBI that lets users interact with BI content, view metrics live, and drill into performance data. The work is being done by Business Objects Labs, formed in November to develop next-generation products.

Thousands of consumer-oriented apps are available for smartphones; far fewer are specifically designed for mobile workers, and business intelligence hasn't been one of the early successes. That may or may not change, depending on how much information businesses are willing to cram onto a tiny screen.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
Download this report to compare how cloud usage and spending patterns have changed in 2020, and how respondents think they'll evolve over the next two years.
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

New Storage Trends Promise to Help Enterprises Handle a Data Avalanche
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  4/1/2021
11 Things IT Professionals Wish They Knew Earlier in Their Careers
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  4/6/2021
How to Submit a Column to InformationWeek
InformationWeek Staff 4/9/2021
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Successful Strategies for Digital Transformation
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll