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Business intelligence on the go

Jack Loo | April 11, 2012
The fast pace of business and influx of devices such as tablets are making BI mobile.

The speed with which highly competitive markets now change and the proliferation of mobility devices such as smartphones and tablets are main factors driving the rise of mobile business intelligence, according to Dane Anderson, VP, research director & region manager, Forrester Research.

"Speed-to-market and speed-to-decision is now more critical than ever, and yesterday's model where business intelligence and analytics took place in the back-office to be fed to the field no longer works," said Anderson.

IDC predicts that worldwide IT spending will grow 6.9 per cent year-over-year to US$1.8 trillion in 2012. As much as 20 per cent of this total spending will be driven by smartphones, media tablets, mobile networks, social networking and Big Data analytics.

'Mobile ascendency'

2012 will also be the year of what IDC called "mobile ascendency" as mobile devices surpass PCs in both shipments and spending and mobile apps, with 85 billion downloads, generate more revenue than the mainframe market.

The influx of tablets over the last few years is also helping to push the demand for mobile business intelligence, said Jane Farquhar, manager, BI product marketing - mobile and self-service, business analytics, IBM. "The large real estate of the screen and portability make tablets ideal for delivering a rich, interactive experience," said Farquhar.

In Singapore, an IBM customer from the pharmaceutical industry realised its 700-plus mobile sales force was spending too much time waiting for information and calling colleagues to perform research. The company then introduced IBM Cognos Mobile on iPads with the aim of providing the most current territory information at the sales worker's fingertips. The result is "uninterrupted productivity with quick and easy access to analytics," said Farquhar.

"Analytics is 80-90 percent about consumption of information," said Scott Tunbridge, APAC EPM/BI program director, Oracle Asia Pacific. The ability to capture and modify content for mobile devices, and deliver full spectrum of business intelligence functionality will change the face of analytics, he said. Estimates from Gartner indicate that 33 percent of business intelligence functionality will be consumed via handheld devices by 2013.

Organisations with extensive field operations or a large mobile workforce will benefit from a mobile applications strategy, according to Tunbridge. Currently, Oracle's offerings in this area include device-friendly version of its Hyperion, and an app called Business Intelligence Mobile that can be downloaded from the Apple App store.

For SAP, Singapore customers deploying mobile analytics include those operating in the real estate, transportation, logistics, banking and telecommunications vertical, said Shyam Prasad, vice president for business analytics and line of business solutions for SAP South East Asia. SAP's offerings in the analytics space include industry specific apps covering banking, retail and utilities.

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