I get many questions about the usage, pervasiveness, and adaption of mobile BI applications. What's a mobile BI application? Beyond a simple delivery of alerts, URLs, or actual reports via email - functionality that has existed for years - here are a few newer approaches to deliver BI on a mobile device:
The no brainer. In theory any mobile device equipped with a browser can access web based, thin client, HTML only BI applications. Yes, these BI apps will be mostly static, not interactive reports and dashboards. Navigation (scrolling, zooming, etc) will be quite awkward. But, this approach indeed requires no additional effort to deploy.
Customization. The next step up is to render each (or all) reports and dashboards to a format suitable to any mobile device in terms of screen size, usage of screen real estate, and mobile device specific navigation instrumentation. A variation of this approach is to create device specific navigation controls (thumb wheel or thumb button for Blackberries, up/down/left/right arrows for Palms, gestural manipulation for iPhone, etc). This obviously requires more development effort, but still no additional software.
Business is all about placing bets and knowing if the odds are in your favor.
As I noted in my most recent Forrester report, business success depends on your company being able to visualize likely futures and take appropriate actions as soon as possible. You must be able to predict future scenarios well enough to prepare plans and deploy resources so that you can seize opportunities, neutralize threats, and mitigate risks.
As people spend more time consuming information digitally at home and at work, reliance on paper continues to decrease. But how far are we across the Digital Divide? In 1975, George E. Pake, then head of Xerox Corp.’s Palo Alto Research Center, predicted that in 1995 his office would be completely different: “There will be a TV-display terminal with keyboard sitting on his desk. I’ll be able to call up documents from my files on the screen, or by pressing a button. I can get my mail or any messages. I don’t know how much hard copy I’ll want in this world.”
Last week Informatica announced the release of Informatica 9, its data integration/data management platform that continues to evolve its flagship PowerCenter and PowerExchange data integration and access technologies into a much more comprehensive data management platform going well beyond the scope of traditional, batch-oriented ETL that remains Informatica’s bread and butter.
The three main themes Informatica has pitched for this release include: - Pervasive Data Quality - Business-IT Collaboration - SOA-based Data Services
While these themes and capabilities - reusability, SOA-compatibility, real-time, business engagement - are not necessarily new to the broader data integration or data quality software markets, few organizations have been effectively able to execute on them. For the purposes of this blog post, I’d like to focus a bit more on the DQ and business/IT collaboration parts of the announcement.
I'd like to drill into some more details on my BI SaaS blog from September 2009. A key critical point to "what differentiates one BI SaaS vendor from another" discussion is what really constitutes multi-tenant architecture. Here are some initiall thoughts to stimulate the discussion:
DBMS. There's got to be back end, DBMS architecture that allows for one of the following:
Automatically generate a separate DBMS instance for each client
Use same DBMS instance for multiple clients, but automatically generate a set of unique tables for each client
Use same DBMS instance and tables for multiple clients, but automatically assign unique keys to to each client so that they can only update and retrieve their own rows
Application. Similar functionality has to exist in the application tier:
Automatically connect to the appropriate, client specific DBMS instance, or
Automatically use views that only point to client specific tables, or
Append "where" clause to each SQL statement to only retrieve client specific rows