A participant in one of my Friday #BIWisdom tweetchats observed that “in the mobile ecosystem, Big Data + social + the NSA data surveillance news are a perfect storm.” Will the NSA storm change attitudes regarding mobile BI and thus hinder its growth? It’s a good question and it sparked an interesting discussion in our Twitter group.
Before the perfect storm, our tweetchat tribe (comprised of
customers, vendors and consultants/analysts) were of the opinion that
the growing “app” mentality for “cool stuff” among consumers and the
easy-to-consume info in mobile apps could end up increasing trust and
thus lead to less testing and faster releases.
But one of the tribe tweeted that, at a minimum, the NSA storm will draw more attention to the organizational risks inherent in BYOD models. However, another member pointed out that BYOD
is already a big challenge in mobile BI adoption because it makes it
difficult to keep standardize and optimize the mobile BI experience.
Someone tweeted that users in finance groups were already the least
interested in mobile BI. They tend to be risk averse, and the NSA
storm may cause the risks to seem even larger. But another participant
tweeted that customer-facing business units are the biggest adopters,
not the back-office finance groups. In fact the biggest drive for mobile
BI is coming from the boardroom.
The #BIWisdom tribe concluded that the perfect storm won’t have much
impact on the growth of mobile BI because “it’s absolutely essential
that data be real time” and “in a data-driven culture, the information
needs to follow people everywhere.”
Our group agreed that a lot of organizations are trying mobile BI,
but achieving success is a slow process. Other organizations are
reluctant to justify the investment without greater proof of success,
and many of the benefits (such as more eyes on the information, ready
access to information) are hard to quantify.
• Connectivity issues that make live mobile BI undependable.
• Difficulty in authoring and using advanced analytics until the UI/UX
fundamentally changes. It can’t just be a simple port of existing code
to mobile; it requires rethinking.
An even bigger issue, tweeted a tribe member, is that by definition
mobile BI informs one person at a time. “What happens after people are
seamlessly informed individually?” he asked.
“They can still collaborate,” tweeted someone else. “What’s the difference if they collaborate on the road or in a cube?”
“Collaborate how?” he responded. “Collaboration requires some thoughtful engineering, which is currently lacking.”
“BI can’t be in its own dimension,” another tribe member tweeted.
“Collaboration must be part of the workflow and process to decision
making, and that workflow must be smooth and transparent. And not all
users feel comfortable with collaboration features, so there’s a
cultural shift that must take place.”
The #BIWisdom group concluded that, despite the NSA storm and the technical issues that still need to be addressed, mobile BI will grow.
Bottom line: Like an unpolished diamond in the rough, mobile delivery
of business intelligence hasn’t yet reached its potential. But our
annual Wisdom of Crowds® market studies show that mobile is increasingly
becoming a force in BI. In fact, our recent report on the Wisdom of
Crowds® Cloud Business Intelligence Market Study highlighted the fact
that 70.4 percent of respondents ranked mobile BI as “critically
important” in 2012.
Mobile BI is also a natural complement to cloud BI, which is
definitely growing in importance. Our 2013 Wisdom of Crowds® study also
found that many small organizations are embracing mobile BI and cloud BI
as a means of side-stepping traditional computing. The user data
indicates strong synergy between cloud and mobile in BI.
The demand for business intelligence arises from multiple needs; some
won’t suit mobile delivery, but some will. So mobile BI adoption will
grow despite its current drawbacks.
Consequently, mobile BI will engage a whole new group of users — and they will need to be educated about the use of BI data.
Click Here to Purchase Your Copy of the 2012 Wisdom of Crowds ® Mobile Computing/Mobile BI Market Study
Howard Dresner is president, founder and chief research officer at Dresner Advisory Services, LLC,
an independent advisory firm. He is one of the foremost thought leaders
in Business Intelligence and Performance Management, having coined the
term “Business Intelligence” in 1989. He has published two books on the
subject, The Performance Management Revolution — Business Results
through Insight and Action, and Profiles in Performance — Business
Intelligence Journeys and the Roadmap for Change. He hosts a weekly
tweet chat (#BIWisdom) on Twitter each Friday. Prior to Dresner Advisory
Services, Howard served as chief strategy officer at Hyperion Solutions
and was a research fellow at Gartner, where he led its Business
Intelligence research practice for 13 years.