The mobile business intelligence app is growing in popularity as one of the many types of tools helping mobile workers do their jobs. But it’s not the reports they’re using – it’s real-time data, says one report from Ann Hall in her article Do BI Vendors Need to Think Niche for Mobile Apps?
There’s also a very interesting question thread over at LinkedIn on this topic. The topic is centered on what mobile applications are good for business.
Three key trends appear to be catching on with mobile applications and these apps all tie back to BI systems:
- Accessing sales data. While accessing sales reports may not be at the top of mobile workers’ list, information in sales systems and real-time data on customer accounts such as order status and shipping data is key for field staff. Managing this data with a flexible BI solution gives all involved departments – finance, operations and sales – an opportunity to optimize processes and control or even reduce costs.
- Managing inventory. Think the big retailers can depend on waiting until the next day to update inventory systems? No way. Barcode scanning and delivering data back to headquarters ensure the supply chains don’t break down.
- Physicians accessing patient data. Telemedicine is on the rise as is the need for healthcare professionals and physicians to travel to patients at field hospitals and specialty care centers. Using smartphones to access data from the field will be necessary in the years to come with the predicted shortage of physicians.
So, what can BI vendors do to take part in the growing interest in mobile applications?
- Ask customers about how they define a mobile worker. Sometimes a worker isn’t out on sales calls or delivering services in the field. They may be just across the university campus, at a satellite medical office, consulting with a client on tech solutions, etc.
- Define applications and build integrations for real-time data processing. Tying CRM, inventory and other systems to BI applications can streamline processes, control inventory and increase customer satisfaction.
This will be an interesting trend to watch as real-time data usage and predictive analytics advance. Stay tuned.
Spotfire Blogging Team
Image Credit: Apple