Dresner: Mobile Business Intelligence to Transform BI Industry

March 3, 2011
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Highlights from the Howard Dresner Mobile Business Intelligence Market Study 2011 webcast

Highlights from the Howard Dresner Mobile Business Intelligence Market Study 2011 webcast

Can you feel it?  Sense it?  See it bursting over the proverbial horizon?  We’re playing witness to great change.  Fundamental; unstoppable change.  The Business Intelligence (BI) industry is on the verge of transformation, and nothing will ever be the same again.

According to Howard Dresner’s updated Mobile Business Intelligence Market Study, officially launched in a live webcast sponsored by InformationWeek on February 17, Mobile BI is the new platform for BI itself.

A paradigm shift: BI goes mobile

“We are in the midst of a profound shift, a paradigm shift, in favor of Mobile Business Intelligence, and things will never fundamentally be the same again,” said Howard Dresner – report author, former Gartner Research Fellow and President and Founder of Dresner Advisory Services – during the webcast.

“The majority of [survey participants, who represented a broad spectrum of industries] found Mobile Business Intelligence ‘critically important’ or ‘very important’.”

Mobile BI: Wider audiences and applications

The benchmark report confirmed recent industry research, suggesting that the Mobile BI market is growing rapidly, as businesses across all industries realize the potential benefits.

“The research suggests that Mobile Business Intelligence now applies to a range of industries and users,” said Dresner.

“I had been thinking in my mind that the typical user was a road warrior – someone who spends a lot of time away from the office, that is, great distances away from the office. 

“Conversations [with survey participants] suggest that Mobile Business Intelligence applies to an entire range of users out there, that may not be travelling great distances, but might be in an office campus.  So in the case of a health care organization, going from an office to a conference room – being able to take the information with you is very important.

“In manufacturing, the ability to take the decision-making process right down to the manufacturing floor.  And that was also true in speaking to retail organizations – they want the manager to be out there on the floor, and Business Intelligence to be available to them.  And then the consumer products companies, this is more classic, their senior leadership team, who do travel a lot, want to have those key business drivers and metrics available to them at all times.”

Greater numbers of employees to have access to real-time analytics via mobile devices

The Dresner study revealed that the level of interest in Mobile BI remains stable compared to the original report from June 2010, indicating that the industry is in the midst of a permanent shift, not merely a fad.  As further evidence of this trend, only four percent of survey respondents said that Mobile BI was ‘not important’.

The report revealed that 11 percent of respondent organizations currently provide access to Mobile BI to over 40 percent of their workforce.  The report indicated that this figure is set to rise sharply.  Within 12 months, 18 percent of organizations said that over 40 percent of their workforce will have access to Mobile BI, with around 33 percent expecting to deliver Mobile BI to over 40 percent of their workforce within 24 months.

Many users set to receive access to BI exclusively via mobile devices

Dresner said that one of the biggest shifts encountered in the 2011 study, compared to the June 2010 study, was the increase in the number of BI users who were set to become exclusively mobile consumers of reporting and analytics within the next 24 months.

“Only three percent [of survey respondents] said they’re not going to have any [users using Mobile BI exclusively],” said Dresner.  “Seventy percent of respondents said [that] 25 percent [of their current BI users would be exclusively mobile users within 24 months].  23 percent said that half of their Business Intelligence users would be exclusively mobile [within 24 months].”

Respondents across the board said that they planned to increase the number of personnel with access to Mobile BI, and reflective of the transition to enterprise mobility, 97 percent of respondents said that 25 percent or more users would receive analytics exclusively on a mobile device by 2013.

“In the future with Mobile Business Intelligence, there’ll never be cause not to know something,” said Dresner.  “That’s the direction we’re going in; information will literally follow the end users.”

Device Data Storage and Mobile BI: The need for security

However, the spread of Mobile BI raises obvious concerns and questions regarding the management and security of corporate information and data assets.

Dresner said the report revealed that almost 40 percent of respondents said they would not store data on mobile devices, but only on their server.

“If you’re a governmental organization or in healthcare, or there’s any sort of really sensitive data that needs to be secured, [in that case] organizations will not let that data move down to the device,” said Dresner.

Conclusion: Mobile BI is the new BI

Dresner concluded the webcast by saying that the rapidly growing uptake and interest in Mobile BI meant that in the future, it would not merely represent a growing facet of BI, but would become the main form of deliver for business analytics and the focal point of the entire industry.

“Moving forward I expect to see a rising tide across all segments, all classes of user, and all verticals,” said Dresner.

“I do believe that this [Mobile BI] becomes fundamentally the new platform for Business Intelligence.”