Mobiele BI: twaalf overwegingen

Twelve Things to Consider When Implementing Mobile BI

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In 2013 zal 33 procent van alle BI-functionaliteit worden gebruikt vanaf handheld devices, zo voorspelt Gartner. Het invoeren van mobiele BI kan voor bedrijven een complex en verwarrend proces zijn. Er zijn zeer veel leveranciers, die allemaal claimen dat ze het beste platform hebben voor mobiel rapporteren en analyseren. Die claims zijn doorgaans weinig waard. De meeste van de huidige tools bieden slechts zeer beperkte toegangsmogelijkheden. Deze whitepaper van Information Builders behandelt de belangrijkste factoren die nodig zijn om een mobiele omgeving te ondersteunen. Zowel functionaliteit, beveiliging, beheer als gebruikersvriendelijkheid komen aan bod. Daarnaast worden de mobiele mogelijkheden van het WebFOCUS BI-platform besproken. Dit platform is ideaal voor bedrijven die een veelomvattende mobiele BI-omgeving willen implementeren die rijk is aan functionaliteit.

augustus 2012
  • Benut het mobiele BI-platform bestaande hard- en software?
  • Ondersteunt het platform alle apparaten?
  • Hebben offline-gebruikers toegang tot alle functionaliteiten?
  • Zijn offline-documenten veilig?
  • Kunnen de unieke mogelijkheden van elk mobiel apparaat benut worden?
  • Kan BI moeiteloos geïntegreerd worden binnen andere mobiele applicaties?
  • Kan de mobiele BI-omgeving uitgebreid worden met toegang tot transactionele data?
  • Is het beheer centraal geregeld, terwijl de eindgebruiker maximale controle heeft over rapportage en analyse?
  • Kunnen gebruikers automatisch relevante informatie toegestuurd krijgen?
  • Kunnen mobiele gebruikers eenvoudig grote hoeveelheden rapporten beheren?
  • Kunnen BI-documenten doorgestuurd worden via mail?
  • Is de eindgebruikerservaring intuïtief?
Twelve Things to Consider When Implementing Mobile BI Asking the Right Questions Can Help Ensure Your Project Is Successful A White Paper by Gregory McGrath Gregory McGrath Gregory McGrath has been with Information Builders since 1985, serving the company in a variety of positions in consulting, product management, sales, sales management, and business development. Mr. McGrath is currently director of Vertical Solutions for Information Builders and he has been part of the iWay management team since the launch of iWay Software in February 2001. Table of Contents 1 2 2 2 3 4 4 5 5 6 7 7 7 8 Executive Summary Choosing the Right Mobile BI Solution Does the Mobile BI Platform Leverage Existing Assets? Does the Platform Support All Devices? Can Offline Users Access the Full Range of Functionality? Will Offline Documents Be Secure? Can the Native Capabilities of Any Mobile Device Be Exploited? Can BI Be Seamlessly Incorporated Into Other Mobile Applications? Can the Mobile BI Environment Be Extended With Transactional Capabilities? Is Administration Centralized, With Some End-User Control? Will Users Have Subscription Capabilities? Can Mobile Users Easily Manage Large Numbers of Reports? Can BI Documents Be Captured and Forwarded Via E-mail? Is the End-User Experience Intuitive? 9 Conclusion Executive Summary The rapidly increasing use of mobile devices such as BlackBerrys, iPhones, Android-based phones, and iPads is not only changing the overall face of computing, it is also impacting the business intelligence (BI) landscape. According to the recent Mobile Business Intelligence Market Study from Dresner Advisory Services, 33 percent of organizations claim that they will provide mobile BI capabilities to at least 40 percent of their workforce within the next two years. Only four percent of companies indicated that mobile BI was "not important".1 Gartner concurs, predicting that by 2013, 33 percent of BI functionality will be consumed via handheld devices,2 as advancements in mobile reporting and analysis functionality continue to expand the overall base of BI users. For companies embarking on a mobile BI initiative for the first time, the process can be complex and confusing. There are countless vendors claiming to have superior platforms for mobile reporting and analysis. Those claims are often empty, as many of the tools available today provide only the simplest information access capabilities. In this paper, we will discuss the most critical factors to consider when selecting a solution to support a mobile BI environment. We'll cover such important items as functionality, security, administration, and usability. We will also introduce the mobile capabilities of the WebFOCUS business intelligence platform, and highlight why WebFOCUS is ideal for companies that want to implement a comprehensive, feature-rich mobile BI environment. 1 2 Dresner, Howard. "Mobile Business Intelligence Market Study," Dresner Advisory Services, February 2011. "Gartner Says New Relationships Will Change Business Intelligence and Analytics," Gartner Press Release, January 2011. 1 Information Builders Choosing the Right Mobile BI Solution Choosing the right mobile BI solution requires extensive research. Knowing exactly what's needed and what to look for can simplify the evaluation and selection process and help companies make the best decision. Before you begin, or even if your search is already underway, you should consider the following 12 questions. Does the Mobile BI Platform Leverage Existing Assets? For years, companies of all types and sizes have made reporting and analysis capabilities available to on-site employees via their PCs and laptops. But as a greater percentage of the workforce becomes mobile, organizations are realizing the importance of giving employees the same ability to access and analyze corporate information when they are out of the office. However, some businesses may hesitate to deploy mobile BI environments because they don't want to invest in additional hardware or software licenses, or take on the risk associated with another major technology implementation. They've already made substantial investments in BI technologies and want to avoid making those existing assets obsolete, or building a completely separate architecture to support mobile access to corporate information. The mobile capabilities within WebFOCUS leverage a browser-based (thin-client) architecture that relies entirely on web technologies to deliver mobile applications. By reusing report design and distribution technologies already in place, WebFOCUS maximizes reporting portability and minimizes total cost of ownership (TCO), enabling organizations to rapidly expand the number of applications and content available on mobile devices. With WebFOCUS, there is no need for organizations to purchase a separate mobile server or other hardware, use new development and delivery tools, or change their underlying infrastructure. Does the Platform Support All Devices? Some mobile BI solutions are not truly device-independent, and call for the creation of native mobile reporting applications. Because a variety of mobile devices are used throughout the organization, many companies fear that they will either have to standardize on a single device, or spend countless hours building different reporting and analysis applications for each type of appliance. For a mobile platform to be fully effective and remain economical, it must easily support the widest range of device preferences, without additional expense or development effort. WebFOCUS enables business intelligence on the go ­ without device-specific barriers. The WebFOCUS Mobile Favorites solution, a fully integrated part of the WebFOCUS platform, is built on a portable web model that makes existing BI content readily available on any type of mobile device by delivering reports, dashboards, or web applications directly to a device's browser. This eliminates the need for companies to create and maintain multiple versions of their BI assets for each mobile platform. Instead, the BI assets in WebFOCUS are automatically transformed into the appropriate format, and made accessible via all the most popular mobile platforms. 2 Twelve Things to Consider When Implementing Mobile BI Furthermore, as phones and mobile browsers continue to evolve, most users will change or upgrade their devices every 18 months. Once in place, WebFOCUS Mobile Favorites allows BI consumers to remain device independent, and eliminates the burden on programmers to customize reports for multiple devices. WebFOCUS content can be developed once and deployed and viewed anywhere. Can Offline Users Access the Full Range of Functionality? Many mobile BI tools provide access only to static data and reports. End users have limited ability ­ if any at all ­ to interact with information. Other solutions give users some analytic capabilities when they are connected to the mobile BI application, but not when they are in disconnected mode. This makes it impossible to analyze information when no web connection is available, and prevents the mobile BI environment from delivering on its true promise of "anytime, anywhere" business intelligence. With WebFOCUS Mobile Favorites, users have unhindered access to BI applications, whether they are connected or not. Connected, mobile workers can easily generate reports and interact with corporate information. When disconnected, they can still trigger reports to be dynamically sent as attachments that they can then view and use. WebFOCUS Active Technologies also provide advanced data analysis functionality to mobile users in both connected and disconnected modes. Data and interactive capabilities are bound in a single, selfcontained HTML file and delivered to mobile devices, allowing users to not only view content while in transit, but also to transform it into diverse permutations by performing sorts, filters, calculations, rollups, visualizations, and more. 3 Information Builders Will Offline Documents Be Secure? Mobile BI enhances information access and sharing not only among mobile employees, but also with customers and other external partners. When these users work in disconnected mode, it requires them to store offline documents, which may contain sensitive or confidential corporate information, on their mobile devices. Security is such a major concern that 40 percent of survey respondents in the Dresner study indicated that they would not allow data to be stored on the mobile devices themselves, but only on their own secure corporate servers.3 This, however, makes it impossible for users to work offline. That's why it's so critical that a mobile BI solution offer the most stringent security possible. Existing BI users, whose rights to view certain applications, reports, and data are defined within the WebFOCUS Managed Reporting environment, can easily have those same access rights extended to their mobile devices. WebFOCUS Mobile Favorites also provides a secure connection through all mobile device and virtual protocol networks (VPNs). WebFOCUS Active Technologies allows integrated security and password protection to be incorporated directly into active reports and dashboards. Can the Native Capabilities of Any Mobile Device Be Exploited? Few enterprises have standardized on a single type of mobile device. For example, a company may equip its technicians with BlackBerrys, while its sales force uses a combination of iPhones and Android-based devices. Without the right mobile BI technologies in place, this can pose significant problems. If the environment cannot dynamically exploit the native functionality of multiple types of devices, then BI content will have to be manually converted into native mobile formats ­ something that can be both time-consuming and expensive. Some users may also find themselves with limited information reach because they are using a device that is not fully supported by the platform. 3 Dresner, Howard. "Mobile Business Intelligence Market Study," Dresner Advisory Services, February 2011. 4 Twelve Things to Consider When Implementing Mobile BI WebFOCUS Active Technologies delivers scalable, device-independent BI content as mobile web apps, dynamically exploiting the finger gestures, animation, and interactivity controls of each type of mobile device. Unlike other solutions that require users to create and maintain multiple versions of their BI assets for each mobile platform, organizations can leverage Active Technologies to create BI assets that can dynamically detect what device and/or browser is being used, and can automatically transform results into the appropriate format (i.e., HTML5). BI content can efficiently and cost-effectively be made accessible via all the most popular mobile platforms. Can BI Be Seamlessly Incorporated Into Other Mobile Applications? In some scenarios, standalone reporting and analysis on a mobile device is not enough. The implementation of mobile applications is increasing, and many companies will need to extend and enhance these mobile solutions with advanced BI functionality. The WebFOCUS portable web model makes it easy to incorporate rich BI content and functionality into any type of mobile application, portal, or other solution, with minimal effort and cost on the part of development teams. Active Technologies can also be seamlessly embedded into existing websites, native applications, mobile storefronts, and more. This reduces the cost and effort of manually converting BI content into native mobile formats or HTML5-based web applications. Can the Mobile BI Environment Be Extended With Transactional Capabilities? Many mobile workers need the ability to not only access and analyze corporate data from their mobile devices, but also to modify and alter that data. For example, a sales rep may need to update customer contact details or make changes to an existing sales order from a client's site. A field technician may 5 Information Builders need to adjust inventory levels when they pull spare parts for service calls. A physician may need to add new information to a patient record, as test results become available or as diagnoses are made. Or, a driver may want to make note of current stock when products are delivered to stores. Update capabilities are crucial to the success of mobile BI implementations. Forrester Research Analyst Boris Evelson lists "data entry forms" as one of the key criteria to look for when evaluating a mobile BI vendor.4 Dresner states that, "more advanced features, such as `write back'...will be uncommon during 2011," and will give vendors that offer them a significant edge.5 With the WebFOCUS Maintain add-on, organizations can efficiently and economically build and deploy online transaction applications. Mobile BI content can be extended and enhanced with cutting-edge modify functions. This approach facilitates closed-loop BI in mobile environments by enabling users to not only retrieve and review data, but also to modify, delete, or add to it. Is Administration Centralized, With Some End-User Control? Mobile business intelligence that requires IT teams to manage a second set of infrastructure ­ such as specialized development tools and/or dedicated mobile servers ­ will drive up costs and present a huge administrative burden. For mobile BI to be efficient and effective, end users must be able to personalize and customize their own environments to meet their unique and specific mobile reporting and analysis requirements. WebFOCUS provides comprehensive management and administration facilities that enable easy and secure deployment of information to all users. Administrators can make specific reports and capabilities available to specific users, monitor usage, assign user groups, define access rights, schedule distribution, enable event-driven alerts, set security permissions, and more. WebFOCUS Mobile Favorites also empowers users with full control over what information is delivered, when, and how. For example, users can run parameterized reports on-demand, 4 Evelson, Boris. "Mobile Tablet PCs, Not Phones, Will Create Critical Mass for Enterprise BI Adoption," Forrester, March 2011. Dresner, Howard. "Mobile Business Intelligence Market Study," Dresner Advisory Services, February 2011. 5 6 Twelve Things to Consider When Implementing Mobile BI and then drill down for further details. They can select the format in which their information is delivered ­ such as Microsoft Excel, Adobe PDF, or HTML ­ and are limited only by their device's capabilities. They can also personalize how they manage content by adding and deleting reports and other documents within their My Mobile Favorites folder. Will Users Have Subscription Capabilities? Business intelligence is most effective when it is flexible. Whether working in a desktop or a mobile BI environment, users should be able to pull information on demand, and have it automatically pushed to them, either based on a schedule or when critical events take place. In fact, alerting is considered to be a mandatory capability for any mobile BI platform. With WebFOCUS, users can have information dynamically delivered to them in several different ways: Subscribe to content, such as customer lists and production reports, to be automatically generated and placed in their My Mobile Favorites folder Set up e-mail alerts to be notified when existing content within their My Mobile Favorites folder is added or modified Trigger reports to be run and sent as e-mail attachments so they can work offline Can Mobile Users Easily Manage Large Numbers of Reports? As the user base grows, and users leverage their mobile BI more frequently, the amount of business intelligence content they generate and store will rise sharply. Therefore, a mobile BI platform must provide complete document management capabilities. Once users have generated Active Technology reports and dashboards, PDF documents, Excel spreadsheets, and other types of BI content, WebFOCUS Mobile Faves will efficiently capture, manage, and organize it in a user-friendly, catalog-like repository. Reports can be annotated with comments or descriptions for rapid retrieval, while a native search facility allows users to quickly find the reports they need by name or keyword. Users can even subscribe to certain types of BI content, which will be automatically pushed to them at regular intervals. Can BI Documents Be Captured and Forwarded Via E-mail? The ability to distribute information to other stakeholders significantly increases its value. When mobile users make a discovery while reviewing BI content, they may need to immediately share that insight with peers, supervisors, partners, and others ­ including users on other types of mobile devices. Mobile business intelligence solutions should offer flexible options for forwarding reports and other BI documents via e-mail. Both WebFOCUS Active Technologies and WebFOCUS Mobile Faves enable truly collaborative decision-making by providing mobile users with the ability to forward active reports, as well as 7 Information Builders any other report captured via e-mail or saved in the Mobile Faves catalog, to any other user ­ with absolutely no network or device constraints. Is the End-User Experience Intuitive? Dresner's research shows that by the end of 2013 most organizations will have at least one-quarter of the user base consuming business intelligence exclusively through mobile devices. It is critical that the interface be intuitive, natural, and easy ­ requiring little or no training. WebFOCUS mobile solutions are designed to provide a simple, user-friendly experience that requires no training on the part of mobile users. For example, all WebFOCUS mobile solutions provide native-like finger control, allowing users to access and interact with the data they need in just a few taps, clicks, or other simple action. Active Technology reports and dashboards include 95 percent of the most common Excel functions, allowing even those users who are not spreadsheet-savvy to easily manipulate data. WebFOCUS Mobile Faves leverages a familiar and intuitive e-mail paradigm that is as easy to use as Outlook or Gmail. 8 Twelve Things to Consider When Implementing Mobile BI Conclusion The ability to empower mobile workers with immediate access to vital corporate information will be a critical success factor for organizations over the next several years. To ensure the effective implementation of their mobile business intelligence strategy, companies must look for the following features when selecting a supporting platform: The ability to leverage existing technology assets Support for all types of mobile devices A broad range of analytical functionality, even when users are disconnected Extensive security for offline documents The ability to exploit the native capabilities of any device The ability to incorporate BI functionality into other mobile applications Transactional capabilities Centralized administration with end-user personalization Dynamic report subscription and distribution Simple, user-friendly ways to manage large numbers of reports The ability to capture and forward documents via e-mail An intuitive, familiar user interface Information Builders' mobile solutions provide companies with a powerful platform that meets all the most crucial criteria for successful mobile business intelligence deployment. 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