Three challenges facing mobile BI projects. Is your current BI tool up to the job?

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1 Is your current BI tool up to the job? 1

2 Does your current BI tool cut it in the mobile world? Today's decision-makers expect to access their business information wherever they are. This means ensuring that the types of business intelligence (BI) regular business users value interactive dashboards and reports are available on mobile devices as well as the desktop. However, successfully delivering BI to mobile devices throws up a whole new set of challenges. Now, we're not talking about security here. Everyone knows that data security is an important factor in a mobile BI project. Security is seldom overlooked and, in fact, BI vendors generally have security well covered. Instead, we are looking at three less obvious considerations which are critical to the success of your project, yet do not get the coverage they deserve and are often glossed over by BI vendors. These three considerations, which we will look at in more detail, are: Catering for mobile and desktop users without increasing project time or cost Delivering acceptable response times on low bandwidth networks Providing offline access without loss of functionality The rise of mobile BI offers the possibility of spreading critical business information throughout the whole organization, and creating a culture of data-driven decision-making. By going mobile, you give business users access to information in the places where work is getting done: the break room, executive meetings, brief chats in the hallways and discussions with customers and partners, as well as in the office. 2

3 Catering for mobile and desktop users without increasing project time or cost A mobile BI project is never just about mobile usage. Invariably, users will also need access from their desktops and laptops, too. In the same way that they expect their to be available in a consistent manner across multiple devices, users also expect their information to be easily available regardless of where they are or how good or bad their network connectivity is. So, how do you deliver this content to multiple mobile devices and desktops, particularly if you have adopted or are thinking about adopting a bring-your-own-device policy, without increasing project time or cost? The key to this is choosing a technology which can deliver across the board. As we have seen lately, Flash is on its way out and HTML5 is rapidly emerging as the standard, crossdevice rendering technology. However, there are still many subtle differences in the way HTML5 is rendered across different devices, on top of the issue of having to deal with a variety of screen resolutions and aspect ratios. So, even with HTML5 content, the reality is closer to write once, test everywhere, which, if you re not careful, leads to the perpetual create-deploy-test loop. 3

4 Catering for mobile and desktop users without increasing project time or cost For example, imagine designing an interactive dashboard for delivery across a desktop, an ipad and a Galaxy Tab. You spot that on the ipad, a chart legend goes off the right hand edge of the screen. So you go back to your design tool and move the chart slightly to the left. You redeploy. You view again and all looks good on the ipad. But, what's this? Now the chart overlaps a table on its left hand side on the desktop. So you go back to the design tool and tweak the chart again. You redeploy but now this causes issues on the Galaxy Tab. And so your project continues, with a myriad of small changes required to ensure your dashboard works well across all devices. It is easy to see how, in this way, your project costs escalate, deadlines come and go, and business users become frustrated. So, the first challenge you need to consider is how to deliver information successfully across multiple devices without falling foul of these issues. 4

5 Delivering acceptable response times on low bandwidth networks The second challenge to consider comes into play if your business users need access to their information beyond your organization s firewall. In these cases you won t have control over network quality and performance and business users will be at the mercy of slow Wi-Fi connections and patchy mobile networks. No matter how great the strides in mobile and online technologies, we still find ourselves in places where a reliable network is hard to come by. Those of you of a certain age may recall the days when international phone calls were routed across physical cables, rather than by satellite. The result was a discernible and annoying delay from when you stopped speaking until the other party responded. This is latency, and latency is a big factor where network speeds are slow. For the business user, this is experienced as unacceptably slow click-to-click response times, rendering the app frustrating at best and unusable at worst. The problem is that most BI tools are designed to run on local area networks (LANs), where latency isn't an issue. Data is stored, processed and aggregated on a server and each time the user interacts with their content (drilling, filtering, pivoting, etc.), this triggers a round-trip to the server to fetch more data. On a fast LAN, this is barely discernible. However, on the slower networks beyond your firewall, this approach is fundamentally flawed. So, the second challenge to address is how to deliver the interactivity your business users expect, with great response times even over these slower network connections. 5

6 Providing offline access without loss of functionality We ve all been there. Everyone is waiting for you to start, all eyes are on you And you have to delay your presentation because you have no network connection. The final of the three challenges facing mobile BI projects is offline access. Whether it s because there is no Wi-Fi access point nearby, or you find yourself beyond cellular coverage, or you device is in airplane mode a lack of network connectivity can be a huge problem when you need access to your business data. Regardless of the reason behind the loss of connectivity, business users still expect to be able to access to their information, and, crucially, they do not want to compromise functionality. Offline access is a key workflow for every mobile BI project and it cannot be overlooked. Many vendors do not offer offline access to BI, perhaps hiding behind the weak argument that it is a security risk. However, surely it is for you to decide whether you want your data to be available to your users when they are offline? This is not something that should be dictated by a vendor. Other vendors allow you to bookmark views (or take snapshots) of your information for offline access, requiring you to guess which information you will need in the future. Bookmarks have their place and they are great a great way to highlight interesting data when you are preparing for a meeting, but they are a poor substitute for the type of interactive offline access most users need. So, the final challenge is how to provide your users with fully interactive offline access to their business information. 6

7 Is it time to move on? If your existing BI tool comes up short against these challenges, perhaps it is time to consider a new tool that will give you these capabilities, and more? DecisionPoint from Antivia makes delivering mobile BI easy. It is aimed at organizations who want to deliver stunning interactive reports, interactive dashboards and BI applications on mobile devices and the desktop, without writing any code. It was designed from the ground-up to handle the challenges of creating and delivering information in an omnichannel world. The most productive way of delivering omnichannel BI To ensure project costs do not spiral out of control or delivery dates slip, DecisionPoint includes the unique LivePreview technology which provides an instant preview of your visualizations as you design, on each target device. So every time you make a change, it is reflected immediately across all devices so you really can design and test once, regardless of how many devices you need to support. 7

8 Is it time to move on? Great performance across any speed of network Where the performance of traditional BI tools in the mobile world is hampered by the need to make constant round-trips to the server after every user interaction, DecisionPoint solves this with its client-side data storage which works hand-in-glove with server-side storage to ensure users enjoy blistering performance whilst navigating their data and retain the capability to roam over very large data sets. All the interactivity users need whether they are online or offline DecisionPoint s client-side data storage also ensure users have full offline access to their dashboards, with no loss of functionality when they are disconnected from their corporate network. With DecisionPoint, there is no need to second guess the information you will need offline by bookmarking it in advance all of a business users information is available whenever and wherever they need it, leaving them free to always make informed decisions. At Antivia, we are 100% focused on helping organizations deliver this style of business user BI, quickly and effectively. See for yourself this short video shows why DecisionPoint is ideal for delivering mobile BI. 8

9 About Antivia Antivia was founded in 2007 and since then our software has been helping organizations realize more value from their data by getting information into the hands of frontline decision-makers. At Antivia we believe that BI needs to be designed for the end-users in a business sales people, store managers, warehouse managers, executives, call center team leaders -the people who run the business on a day-to-day basis. These people need fingertip access to information to help them make informed decisions. They don't have time to wait for IT to get back to them with the latest figures and they are not analysts, so they don't have time to learn and master a Data Discovery tool. These people need something different. That something different is DecisionPoint. DecisionPoint makes the vision of BI for everyone a reality. It is a modern BI tool that enables you to create stunning interactive dashboards, reports and BI applications for mobile devices and the desktop, with a no-coding interface that lets you produce the dashboards you need in minutes Antivia 9

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