3 Reasons Why the iPad is Good for Business Intelligence Software

BI on iPad
It’s not surprising, at least to us, that the major Business Intelligence Software vendors are making a beeline push towards the iPad.  MicroStrategy seems to have led the way with their mobile platform . The other leading BI vendors are catching up, with relatively new iPad apps from QlikView with their QlikView on Mobile , and the just recently released (with fairly poor reviews) from SAP their SAP BusinessObjects Mobile.  Some leading business intelligence software vendors are not there yet, like Cognos, which allows you to view reports on the iPad through a semi-optimized browser experience. Tim Kreytak from the Ironside Group wrote an interesting blog about their struggles to get a Cognos demo going on the iPad.

There are a couple of other vendors that are in the forefront of Mobile Business Intelligence. One of the leaders is Roambi, another is PushBI yet another is Yellowfin. These vendors allow a business to transform their reports and analytics developed for the PC to display properly on mobile devices, whether phone or tablet.

3 Reasons why the iPad is Good for BI

Here are 3 reasons why all this attention from business intelligence software vendors accelerating the development of iPad apps is good for BI, and frankly, good for Business. This isn’t to say that BI will no longer be necessary on the PC or the phone, an issue addressed in an article yesterday by Wayne Kernochan in Enterprise Apps Today. No, BI on those other devices are not going away soon, but the iPad adds a form factor that could move the needle for business intelligence software vendors.

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Demand for BI on the go

There is a tremendous demand for the increasingly mobile workforce to get their BI while they are on the go. Klint Finley in an article in RWW sites a Gartner report that predicts that by 2013, 33% of business intelligence functionality will be consumed exclusively on mobile devices. Some feel that this is a modest estimate. Right or wrong, there is no doubt that the workforce is moving in that direction. For the past 10 years I have been working with big companies bringing BI to mobile devices. It started with the phone, which is a little small for powerful analysis, but ok for viewing / consuming KPIs, metrics, and trends. Mobile business intelligence on a smart phone never really satisfied the demand for business people on the go. The iPad, and the business intelligence software iPad apps mentioned above have been well thought out and well developed and now allow us to interact with our data almost as well as we can on a PC, and in most cases, the analysis available on the iPad is more visually appealing.

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iPad enables the proliferation of BI

The business intelligence software world has always been hoping for the proliferation of BI into the depths of the enterprise. The idea has been that while the primary / heaviest users of BI are analysts typically in Corporate Headquarters, BI would eventually get to the point where it is easy enough to consume and to use that sales people, service reps, plant floor managers, and even executives would become regular consumers of BI. This has been an elusive goal, one that has yet to be achieved with BI on the PC. The direction of the BI iPad apps gives me great hope that the iPad will enable the further proliferation of BI. The way these iPad apps are making BI so easy to use and so beautiful visually with little or no technical skills necessary bodes well for the explosion of BI into the enterprise.

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iPad increases the sexiness of the already sexy BI

Mobile business intelligence has received a tremendous amount of attention. For example, the MicroStrategy iPad app was featured on an Apple commercial for the iPad. According to recent research done by Dresner Advisory Services which you can find here , executives and board members are demanding BI on their iPads at a quicker rate than managers and individual contributors, and “this increase can be attributed to both continued consumer and mass-market excitement surrounding tablet devices and genuine value that has been received using Mobile BI”.  For the last 10 years, BI has been at or near the top of CIO priorities. With the renewed push from high level executives for BI on their iPads, this spending should continue to grow.

Business Intelligence Software vendors that have yet to embrace the iPad, or who are only halfheartedly adapting to mobility standards should quickly rethink their priorities.

Please let me know your thoughts either through comments or on twitter @adambookman.

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