Whether you are considering a mobile business intelligence (BI) strategy or recently deployed a mobile solution, the following tips from experts can help you get a better return on your mobile business intelligence investment.
- Create a case for mobile BI. Before you invest in a mobile business intelligence solution, ask yourself “Why do I need it?” Instead of focusing on the ‘cool’ factor of mobile BI, consider the tangible benefits and build a strong business case for the mobile strategy before proceeding. If you don’t, mobile BI apps will be relegated to nothing but toy gadgets of executives and salespeople with limited to no business value or impact.
- Identify primary users. Who in your company will be using mobile BI? Focus on automating the people who are going to get the most utility most readily (usually executives and the sales organization). In many organizations, this is sales professionals who find access to up-to-date information helps them better serve their clients. In addition, if executives understand the value of mobile business intelligence, it will be easier to automate the rest of the organization.
- Make it easy for mobile users to find the data they need. When your users are mobile, you can’t assume they have time to dig in. So make it easy for them. Allow drill-down. Provide filters that let them find location-specific information, like filters on city or customer. Provide content search so they can find the right dashboard to begin with, because if users can’t find the data, it’s useless.
- Link to the rest of your enterprise’s mobile strategy. When evaluating and selecting a mobile BI platform, consider whether it can be seamlessly integrated with your mobile ERP, CRM and other enterprise applications. Additionally, make sure that your mobile BI provider offers an open software development kit (SDK) so that you can integrate mobile business intelligence with your other third-party or even custom-developed mobile applications.
- Talk to your existing business intelligence vendor about mobile capabilities before you consider a specialty vendor. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t consider one of those specialty [mobile business intelligence] vendors. Many of them are very good. But before you go that route, evaluate your current business intelligence vendor’s mobile capabilities.
- Make sure you have infrastructure support. If you plan to deliver mobile business intelligence to hundreds or thousands of users, think about server and network capacity. How are you going to serve the information up to the users as quickly as possible? Users often need the information in meetings and cannot wait for it to be retrieved. So you have to plan for the appropriate infrastructure. Similarly, you need to ensure you have someone monitoring the infrastructure who can make adjustments and fixes as necessary.
- Don’t forget mobile security. Keeping mobile data – and devices – secure is crucial. Before deploying mobile business intelligence software, make sure your devices and critical business data are adequately protected from loss and/or security breaches.