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The Slow Adoption of Mobile BI

Friday, August 19, 2011

My post last week on mobile BI centered around Microsoft's strategy. Interestingly enough, a recent survey on mobile BI mentioned on Dashboard Insight revealed that dashboards were not being adopted by business users for business intelligence purposes. In fact, the results were a staggering 3% using smart phones for business applications and 7% using tablets.

I'm not really surprised. The survey was answered by managers. Mobile BI is more beneficial to those who are out in the field dealing directly with clients or on client sites. Managers who do not have these types of responsibilities can't take full advantage of information on-the-go. Consider the following scenario. The IT Network manager receives notifications with information regarding the health of mission critical web servers. However, they are not the one's responsible for fixing the problem. That is left up to the network support team. The manager knows about the situation but they can't really do anything about it so it's NOT mission critical to them. If he's going to just call to make sure the situation is being looked at, that's inefficient and unnecessary. The notification should just go directly to the network team.

As a manager myself, reports and ad-hoc analysis tools are not beneficial for me on a mobile device as I don't typically work directly with client's onsite. In addition, there's more to data analysis then just looking at some numbers and graphs. I need to write up my findings and communicate with others to further understand the data. Phones and tablets are great for calling and sending out text messages / emails, but it is not practical to write up documents on it.

If mobile BI is to make a difference in the corporate world, vendors need to focus on the people on the field, not managers.

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