With modern technology, many companies have the ability to collect a vast array of data about their business processes, from the early stages of research and development, to the final stages of sales, as well as everything in between. Big data analytics is invaluable and can help a company improve every aspect its business, but in raw form, the data is often difficult to decipher.
Business intelligence (BI) is a method of analyzing and aggregating that data into a useful format for decision makers to interpret and use to get results. Mobile business intelligence is the process of delivering that information to mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, allowing those decision makers to interpret the information, even when they are on the go.
While mobile business intelligence can greatly enhance a business, there are plenty of pitfalls that a company should avoid. Courtesy of Transpara, the following are five mistakes to avoid with mobile BI.
1. Locally-installed Software
Mobile devices go through rapid development cycles, and their operating systems are intrinsically intertwined with the functionality of their hardware. An app that is designed to work with a particular device and particular OS will miss out on a lot of profit from other devices and operating systems. Therefore, if they want to install their software locally on the devices, they must create several versions for each mobile platform and keep them updated when upgrades or new devices are released.
On the other hand, mobile app developers can minimize the amount of required coding, updating, and device-specific bugs by providing a browser-based interface rather than a locally-installed app. With modern web storage techniques like those found in HTML5, users can still have both online and offline access. The web app can still take advantage of unique mobile device features, while still maintaining compatibility across all platforms, include iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and more.
2. The Necessity of a Big Project
Mobile BI delivery does not have to be a major project that costs a ridiculous amount of time and money. Companies often make the mistake of sinking money into add-on services from vendors and custom screens created to reinvent the display of key metrics in a mobile space. This is usually more costly yet less effective than a solution that addresses the most common types of metrics in a standard format, allowing companies to focus on fine-tuning rather, than creating from scratch.
Rather than spending money on design and infrastructure, a company with a solid mobile BI app can focus on implementation and the actual analytics of the data. Making your mobile BI overly complicated does not mean that it will produce results that are any more rewarding than a simple system that provides the aggregation and analysis your company actually needs.
3. These Aren’t the Metrics You’re Looking For
Mobile BI can only be effective if the data you use is actually the data you need. The bulk of your mobile business intelligence should focus on operations data rather than future planning data. Leave the major planning to the office. The mobile data should be the more urgent and relevant to the moment data that will help your business now, rather than later.
4. Customized to Death
It is very easy to fall into the customization traps of application development and configuration. Vendors may offer you a plethora of customization options, but you truly only need a few. Mobile BI does not have to be complex. Actually, if you can keep data analysis and metrics simple, you will be much more efficient.
5. Not Your BI Software on the Go
A common mistake is to create a mobile BI application that is simply an extension of your standard BI software. In some cases, the mobile BI is only a connector or a frontend client to the desktop version. This is a mistake, and many of those reasons relate to #3 on this list. The mobile BI should not just be a unique interface. It should also have unique and fresh information that is relevant to “here and now” that characterizes mobile business.
Moreover, you can use your mobile platform to merge multiple data sources in one place, giving you a greater view of the big picture and ultimately more control over it.
Beyond the basics, you should treat mobile BI software purchasing just as you would with other major business application purchases. Look at your overall business process and what you hope to glean from it through data analysis. You must also consider the type of technology you are currently using. If you use open source software to manage your big data, you will want a mobile BI that is catered to work well with that database software. Other considerations include security and total cost of ownership
The Ultimate Goal
The ultimate goal is to have business intelligence in the palm of your hand. If the software you deploy is too complicated, unwieldy, or focuses on the wrong data, it will be little more than a shiny new toy with no real function. When you look for the right features and functionality, however, it can extend your business intelligence beyond the confines of the office.