The feeling of anxiety among some IT professionals is persistent as the demands for mobile BI continue to increase across many organizations. This week, I presented a three hour workshop at BI2013 where I shared some of the experiences, successes, and problems that organizations are facing as they approach mobile BI. I had a wonderful group of professionals who provided a full span of skills and experiences that I was able to tap into.

  • Business consumers /analysts from oil and gas industry
  • System integrators who have had success with third party solutions like Roambi
  • Experts who have been implementing mobile with SAP BusinessObjects since the first Mobi
  • Report and dashboard developers who are still waiting for an enterprise-wide strategy
  • BI practicioners who have mobile VPN ready to go and are starting their first mobile BI projects
  • Developers still struggling to get their users off of DeskI
  • All attendees but one who were carrying a smartphone, 90% iPhone, 9% Android, and one Windows phone user.

I was lucky to have such a diverse crowd as I talked through the process for identifying mobile opportunities, what you get and don’t get out of the box with SAP, what strategic opportunities for success are out there. The common theme was that the demand and excitement for mobility is increasing but there seemed to be two common roadblocks or concerns:

1. Security

Mobile VPN seemed to be the most dominant path to securing devices with Cisco and Juniper topping the list with the group. Also popular among the attendees were certificate driven single sign on through a network proxy. Citrix virtual desktop configurations rounded out the group who do have a mobile network and application security approach. The rest did not indicate that they have anything running yet. The bottom line is customers are investing on mobile security but the approaches are quite different.

2. Use Cases

Finding strategic use cases for mobile outside of porting existing content is still a challenge. Like any new BI initiative, finding low hanging fruit out of the gates is a proven formula for selling BI success within an organization. With devices locked and loaded and BI tools now readily available, BI practitioners don’t want to spend their days re-purposing reports with no additional value to their users.

Overall, I had a great time sharing the knowledge I have gained over the last couple of years as I hone in on mobile analytics, specifically in location intelligence.


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