Enterprises want business intelligence to become more mobile and collaborative, an approach that will empower more employees to work together from multiple devices.
It's off to a slow start -- today, in 43 percent of organizations, less than one-third of mobile device users leverage business intelligence, according to a new report on next-generation BI by Ventana Research (free with registration). Within the next 12 months, though, 69 percent of participants will use mobile BI, the study found. When it comes to collaboration, about one-fifth are using it now and another one-fifth expect to do so within a year, Ventana said.
Now, although not every employee within an organization is mobile, practically everybody can be collaborative to some degree, said Tony Cosentino, vice president and research director at Ventana, during a Webinar earlier today. Survey respondents plan to add collaboration to 14 functions; by comparison, they expect to add mobility to only eight, said Cosentino: "The entire org does not need to get mobile devices. Collaboration, on the other hand, is going to hit every area of an organization."
In the past, enterprise business leaders wanted collaboration tools that enabled folder sharing, videoconferencing, and instant messages. Today, managers want to give dispersed employees access to discussion forums, Facebook-like wall postings, and Twitter-like broadcast capabilities, Ventana determined.
They want mobile BI to improve workflow productivity; enhance BI or performance management initiatives; improve customer service; broaden collaboration; and increase sales. Increasingly, enterprises use tablets for mobile BI, adding to the complexity of today's bring-your-own-device conundrum, said Cosentino, referring to responses Ventana collected from a mix of job roles and titles.
"On mobile, they are looking to directed communications. On tablets, we need much more directional. We are seeing an increase in organizations wanting to centrally manage. In the future whether we'll be carrying around two tablets is an interesting question."
Global manufacturer and distributor Dorel Industries -- which owns brands such as Schwinn, Mongoose, Safety 1st, and Cosco -- needed a way for managers to gain better access and share critical information for timely operations planning, as well as create a unified solution to streamline planning and forecasting, as well as facilitate regulatory compliance. After an eight-month evaluation process, Dorel Industries chose a suite of IBM Cognos solutions, including Cognos Business Intelligence and Controller. The second phase featured IBM Cognos Mobile, which empowered executives with mobile access to analytics via their BlackBerry devices, according to an IBM case study.
As Ian Farthing, vice president, corporate services at Dorel Industries, said: "I've been to board meetings, and I see the CFO with access to real-time information that is fully up-to-date. He can talk about this division and that division, and this customer and that customer in a way that's a lot more confident, backed up by data. And I think that's very powerful."
When it comes to analyzing the data itself, employees are crunching more information from a diverse number of sources including locations. However, many enterprises have yet to act on location-based data, Cosentino said. That will, no doubt, change soon, he noted.
Like many technologies, adoption of mobile BI is partially stymied by security and network concerns. Sharing proprietary data with employees spread all over a state, nation, or world can put a company's information, customers, workers, and partners at risk. Operating systems, the built-in insecurities of mobile devices, and connectivity safeguards are key to ensuring mobile BI's success.
In part because of security concerns, in part because mobile and collaboration are so critical to the future success of their analytics implementations, and in part because of a relatively low satisfaction rate, brand loyalty is decreasing, Ventana reported. Only 28 percent said they are satisfied with their mobile BI solutions; only 32 percent said they feel that way about their collaborative BI solutions, the research firm found.
This provides developers with the opportunity to woo new customers -- and impress existing clients with new capabilities, features, or services. And mobile, collaborative BI gives businesses a chance to do the same for their customers, too.
— Alison Diana , ThinkerNet Editor, Internet Evolution