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As business intelligence goes mobile, organizations in all industries will gain critical new opportunities—as well as encounter daunting new challenges.
Mobile business intelligence (BI) gives people access to the data they need—anytime, anywhere—to make smart business decisions. Result? Game-changing efficiencies and unprecedented productivity. But mobile BI brings challenges too, including questions about data security and vendor selection. Here are potent practices for seizing the opportunities and surmounting the challenges presented by mobile BI.
A revolution is brewing in business intelligence—catalyzed by soaring sales of tablets and other smart mobile devices. Interest in these devices has intensified partly owing to the increased availability of sophisticated apps and powerful browsers. With these advancements, handhelds now offer a browsing experience equal or superior to that provided by laptops and desktops. People’s desire to remain connected 24/7 and to have access to data anytime, anywhere for "in-the-moment" business decisions has further fostered adoption of smart mobile devices.
As device sales skyrocket, the stage is being set for a transformational development in business intelligence: mobility. With mobile BI, employees will be able to access vital information about their enterprise, wherever and whenever they need it. This ready availability of data is already presenting enterprises with critical new advantages. But it’s also posing challenges. Organizations that can exploit the advantages while addressing the challenges will stand the best chance of extracting maximum strategic value from mobile BI.
The most potent advantage offered by mobile BI is in-the-moment transformation of organizations’ business processes that creates new operational efficiencies as well as faster and higher-quality customer service. But mobile BI raises questions too—about matters including data security; application, vendor and solution selection; and ways to measure returns on a company’s mobile BI investments.
To capitalize on mobile BI’s value while managing the challenges, we recommend that organizations apply the following practices:
Assess whether your organization is ready. Mobile BI is most suitable for enterprises that have already streamlined their data integration processes and standardized their master data.
Educate yourself on the solution options and their relative strengths and weaknesses, including stability of a vendor’s technology and ease-of-use of its solution offering.
Don’t merely adopt technology for technology’s sake. Instead, use mobile BI strategically, by identifying areas of your business where mobile BI can deliver a competitive advantage for you in the marketplace.
Address practical implications such as which devices you want your mobile BI solution to support; what those devices and data plans cost; which devices should be mobile and which should not; and how you would support the mobile BI solution throughout your global workforce.
Tailor your mobile BI to tablet technology instead of merely replicating your enterprise BI solution. That way, you can exploit tablet computers’ power to enable in-the-moment monitoring of business activities.
Using prototypes, clarify what users of your mobile BI solution need; for example, in terms of kinds of data, reporting formats and data visualization.
Avoid information overload by boiling data down to only those metrics required to manage the business interaction or process in question at a particular moment in a user’s work day.
Accenture has developed leading solutions that help companies leverage the power of mobile BI to drive high performance. Contact us to find out how we can help.
January 27, 2012
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