Mobile BI for the iPad – Game changer or just keeping on the field

In the summer of 2011 SAP released a new Business Intelligence (BI) application for the iPad on Apple iTunes, SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI application for iPad. The supporting server infrastructure is has been released ar part of the SAP BusinessObjects BI4.0 platform . Feedback thus far has been very positive, but the initial question of support for other tablet devices has been address and versions for the Blackberry and Andriod devices are planned for early 2012.

The Mobile BI application facilitates access to instances of corporate Web Intelligence reports from an iPad both online and offline with automated prompting when new content becomes available to the user. Essentially SAP has written a device specific application (for the iPad initially with others to follow) that connects to the corporate SAP BusinessObjects landscape for authentication and renders a standard WebI report in a structured display format.

It could be cynical to say that SAP has developed the application following the traction seen and marketing hype around competitor/complementary technologies including Roambi and Microstrategy. SAP had to do something in the Mobility space to drive adoption of BI outside of the enterprise firewall and the iPad is great a place to start.

I see Mobile BI for the iPad predominantly adding value to management and information workers so they can stay up-to-date and make decisions using their trusted BI information whilst out of the office. The scope for sales and field service staff to provide the right customer, product, and work order information where and when it’s needed is huge. Imagine having all the customer information you need at your fingertips in one place before you have that all important meeting without the need to boot up a laptop, find a 3G signal, log onto the VPN and refresh a suite of BI queries.

The immediate value add of SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI for organisations is the ability to access the trusted corporate BI content users engage with regularly on their desktop but then navigate and analyse the information without a need for additional training, it’s a iPad app remember

Is SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI a game changer? No, but I certainly see it forming part of a wider BI strategy and with such simple usability aiding the perennial challenge of driving user adoption.

(I wrote the content above in the summer of 2011 whist working at Bluefin Solutions and they have kindly aggreed for me to update it and use it in my personal blog)

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