Mobile phones break through the traditional computing platforms as they help organizations to maximize their decision making potential irrespective of travel or location using Business intelligence (BI) and analytics. A smooth flow of data from the executive to operational level is possible when mobile devices infuse applications, services, and native functionality with computing, data discovery, communication, multimedia content, and transaction inputs. The integration allows for the refining customer and partner relations, employee yield, business operation, and sales and service in more than one innovative way.
BI and analytics are two tools that help innovate the data insights obtained from a mobile activity. While organizations initially fretted upon this idea for security breach and performance concerns, technological development has broken through these obstacles and paved the way for deploying secured applications on user devices. Instead of mobile applications being a replica of desktop-based BI reports, dashboards, and analytic capabilities, organizations are focused on engineering applications that enhance maximum user adoption to allow for better business’s operations, relationships and decisions.
Six of the crucial practices required for maximizing the potential of mobile BI and analytics are:
1. Development of Mobile BI and Analytics to expand business horizons
Businesses require easy access to data even when their personnel is out of the office because most business deals get negotiated right across the table. In order to improve the business’s operational efficiency, mobile BI and analytics allow for the access of customer information when dealing with business transactions on the go. A business person would be able to take decisions with aid from the ready access to data to ensure that opportunities for the business are never missed. By utilizing mobile applications that are developed with these capabilities, executives, managers, and frontline personnel can fundamentally change business interactions for the better. Moreover, the data collected on the field can be easily added on to the business’s data collection by allowing for write back capabilities in the mobile applications.
2. Adapting mobile applications into a collaborative environment
Since mobile phones have limited space for display of detailed visualization and data, the applications have to be designed to adapt the phone’s native functionality to generate the best BI and analytics solution. As the needs of the users grow, the applications need to accommodate easier navigation by using cloud computing platform in order to be able to access the information across mobile devices, desktops, and workstations. Only by using open application programming interfaces (APIs), BI and analytics can be smoothly integrated into the mobile environment to help focus on important elements such as key performance indicators (KPIs), real-time analytic trends, etc. Designers should also integrate other communicative applications such as email and social media to allow a business to access it clients at any point in time.
3. Analyze user experiences to improve satisfaction.
There is a lot of back work that has to be efficiently incorporated for making mobile BI and analytics successful. To start with expanding the adoption, performance, design, and relevance of mobile applications through every organization will help collect user’s data every time they tap on the screen or perform an action. Mobile devices supply geolocation data that can provide contextual insights into both performance issues and application use. A strategic monitoring and analyses of user experience can help understand and cater to each individual’s user experience both online and offline.
4. Use native device functionality to improve the user experience.
Compared to PCs and workstations, users are always excited about working with mobile which possesses native functionality such as touch gesturing, photography, integration with voice, video, and text communication, hands-free voice command capabilities, and integration with geolocation functionality. Designers should construct BI and analytics tools that can function in coordination with the mobile device’s inherent native functions such as OS interface, GPS, Push notification, offline applications, etc, to enable a simple access for any form of data. Breaking these boundaries will naturally help business to move beyond simple data or analytics consumption and build a two-way channel that can further their goals for data-informed decision making, smarter operations, and competitive advantages based on information innovation.
5. Secure an overall security strategy
Although mobiles have an inherent level of OS security, it is still a major concern whether it is part of an existing or new architecture. Businesses need to ensure that sensitive data is secure during data transfer between the applications and databases and the mobile server accessed by users, which can be situated behind the firewall. Procedures to deal with a lost or stolen device to ensure data is not compromised should be established. Further, the business’s identity, authentication, and access management processes should be securely set up so that functionality privileges and access permissions only go to select mobile users.
6. Move beyond analytics consumption to turn insights into action
The addition of write-back functionality can be useful for creating data-driven mobile applications wherein users, be it the business or its customers, can input data from mobile devices into business applications such as ERP, CRM, OLTP, or other system-of-record application. This functionality will allow for personnel to respond to updated situations, and using the latest data, they could also create on-demand reports and visualizations that would aid the organization in determining correct strategies based on real-time views.
Many organizations have barely scratched the surface with mobile BI and analytics. Yet their personnel are increasing their use of mobile devices, putting pressure on organizations to make faster progress toward enabling users to interact with data and apply insights for better business outcomes. With industry practices and technologies maturing, the time is right for organizations to develop mobile applications that further their goals for data-informed decision making, smarter operations, and competitive advantages based on information innovation.
Author: Nagraj Rao
Nagraj leads the BI practice at Sigma. With over 12+ years of experience in the Services Industry, he has in-depth knowledge on many diverse technologies, Implementation Services and Practice Management. He is passionate about BI & Open Source technologies and loves sharing his views around them.