As business analysts, we use a lot of really great and powerful tools to visualize our valuable information. The only problem is that the world as a whole is moving towards a more mobile environment. And that leaves me with the question of what is going to happen to our tools and what does this mean for BI?
It doesn’t really matter what business you’re in, it should be clear to see that the way humans consume data is on the go. I probably do just as much, if not more “googling” on my phone, as I do on my PC/laptop/etc…
The point is: data is going mobile.
According to an article written on BusinessInsider.com*, “There will soon be one smartphone for every five people in the world”. The official numbers say that by the end of this calendar year, 2013, there will be an approximate 1.4 billion smartphones in use. This isn’t a bubble, people! “The annual smartphone growth rate in 2013 is projected to be 44 percent, which is just ever-so-slightly down from 2012’s 45 percent but is still a torrid pace.” The only way that number is going to keep dropping is if more and more of the people in the world gain access to a smartphone. With phones and plans becoming cheaper and cheaper, it’s plausible to entertain the idea that soon there will be a smartphone in everyone’s pocket.
So what does this mean for BI? And a bigger question is what does this mean for BI at large corporations? A lot! The hardware needed to access Business Intelligence applications portably, are now in the palm of users all over the globe. This touches on the same ideas as stated by my colleague, Chris Kruger. He has a great article on “BI for the Little Guy” that ties directly into this benefit, go check it out.
This transition won’t affect just the little guys, it affects everyone. Anyone who has to work for a living, even in Fortune 500 companies (you know who you are). Some of you may still be tied down to checking emails on your PC and staying in contact with your clients from a desk phone. Like me, you may be even lugging around huge laptops just to access those heavyweight programs like Xcelsius, or our BO suite. But what if we could change that?
Well, the great thing is that the market is moving that way and it has been moving for a while. The legendary Santiago Becerra started years ago by developing one of the best data visualization tools, Xcelsius. Years later down the line, he continued to pioneer the charge of the mobile revolution by releasing Roambi. The idea of the program is eponymous, it is roaming business intelligence. This is just one example of the many new programs out there.
Today, one of my favorite solutions to the problem of having our information on the go, is using HTML5 to process all of the data on the fly in the browser. And the best part is that every smartphone is capable of reading HTML5, opening the door for BI to reach every one of those 1.4 billion smartphones already purchased and in use.
This market is still fairly new, so I’ll keep you updated on any new products as best as I can. However, in the meantime, if you want to gain a leg up on the market, I’d highly recommend checking out tools like InfoBurst Apps to see if it will fit your business’s needs. For those real go-getters out there, I’d challenge you to brush up on your HTML5 and CSS skills. I’ve been using a great website, codeschool.com, to train myself in my free time. The site requires a small $25/month subscription fee, which I find in the long run to be worth every penny.
This industry is definitely going mobile, so the next question you need to ask is, “Am I?”