Whether it’s better workforce insight or a better bottom line, any organization can improve its day-to-day through business intelligence. In the past few years, information analytics has moved from a business augmentation tool to a standard to play in the big leagues. Now, business intelligence (BI) implementations are being turbo-charged with the addition of fully integrated mobile BI solutions.
Whether you’ve been carefully considering your mobile BI options, or are just now looking to get into the game, it’s important to distinguish between the frills, good features, and must-have components. In this blog post, we’ll examine the five features of a mobile BI solution that are simply non-negotiable.
1. Uniformity Across Platforms
When picking mobile business intelligence software, one of the first questions you need to ask is: Are the UI and interaction consistent across different platforms? This, of course, assumes your BI options all work across platforms, and that assumption is not only reasonable, but necessary. If your data analysis and display tool has you chained to a desktop, you lose a lot of the flexibility and efficiency afforded by mobile data access. As for the user experience, a program with a consistent interface, options, and methods of interaction will make adoption easier. In addition, it will prevent a world of headaches when using the program in different settings and situations.
2. Dynamic Data Interaction
While meticulously designed dashboards and page presets may be attractive, if you can’t interact with the displayed data, your insight will be seriously limited. Some vendors don’t offer this kind of capability. If that’s the case, then drop them from the list of possibilities. Many other vendors offer different BI packages, leaving data diving and interaction for the bigger, more expensive packages. If this is the case, be wary. Unless you plan on going all in on the big package upfront, you may find yourself months into a mobile BI implementation pulling your hair out because you’re not getting the results you wanted. In this case, your only options are to switch software (eating the sunk cost) or upgrade to the package the vendor knew you would need all along.
3. Centralized Data Access
Whether or not your company has a large staff or spread-out workforce, centralized access to up-to-date information is invaluable. No one wants (or let’s be honest, even has the time these days) to be messaging back and forth to confirm that shared files are the most up-to-date or that the numbers reflect the company’s current standing. Making sure the BI solution you’re interested in boasts a highly usable centralized data store and a means of updating reports and dashboards will ensure that your employees won’t be hemorrhaging time (and building animosity towards the implementation/implementer). Ease-of-use is a huge factor in pragmatic implementation and continued usage, and centralized data access is a tenet of that critical usability factor.
4. Modular Data Governance
The prettiest, most streamlined dashboard design isn’t useful if you can’t adapt it to changing data and data analysis needs. Centralized data access will ensure your stats and dashboards are always up-to-date. However, what happens when analysis needs change and new situations arise? Having modular, editable models and data integration tools will turn new business endeavors from a new problem to solve into a (much easier) analysis of what factors have been changed or added since the last project. The more flexible and adaptive the data models, the easier for you to tackle each new business venture.
In this day and age this should go without saying… but it can’t be stressed enough. Your data, insights, and infographics are important business property and you should protect them as such. If mobile BI software you’re looking at doesn’t have robust security options, drop it from the list. No question.
How can you make sure you’re getting the right mobile BI capabilities? Build it into your BI RFP. Read our blog post on what you need to consider as you’re building your RFP to learn more.