Over this year working with SAP BusinessObjects BI4 I have demonstrated the Business Analytics technology suite countless times and recounted stories about how companies could use SAP BusinessObjects technologies to drive efficiencies, reduce costs or find the golden nugget that could change a business.
As you would expect in today’s world more and more I am seeing mobility playing a significant role in these conversations and hearing perceived business needs that can “only be satisfied by a Mobile BI Application”.
However, when you unpack these requirements they often fall into 2 general areas, Dashboards (aka Grids and Graphs) and Reporting with the need to drill down from summary to detail. As you would expect SAP BusinessObjects have technologies that address these needs but I suggest often the right tool for the job can be overlooked.
There is a significant amount of information from both inside SAP and the Dashboard social media influencers regarding the recent Xcelsius Statement Of Direction and the forthcoming ability to have an Xcelsius dashboard on an iPad in HTML5 format. However, I question why this is really needed as I personally feel the iPad Mobile BI app, displaying a Web Intelligence report with sparklines, traffic lights, Input Controls, with refresh on demand, annotation and Streamworks integration meet a the majority of the needs I see without the well documented and discussed limitations of SAP Dashboards (Xcelsius) that need to be addressed by using some of the excellent 3rd party apps available.
Reports with drill down on the move
The penny really dropped for me recently on this topic when I was working through a set of user requirements that started as a collection of interlinking reports with multiple levels of drill down to enable root cause analysis to identify actionable items. Often the default start point is WebIntelligence on the desktop to meet this sort of requirement, but why? And how do we mobile enable it?
I have been known to refer to WebI as the Swiss Army Knife in the SAP Business Objects toolset, it has all sorts of features, some good, some not so. You could build a raft with a Swiss Army Knife but is it the right tool for the job….
Taking the same set of user requirements and mapping them onto SAP Explorer would give a very easy to use mobile enabled user experience, empowering users ask numerous questions from different perspectives with the ability to get right down to the detail.
Choosing the Right tool for the right job is not a Harry Potter “Dark Art” but we must remember the end users real requirement…. http://wp.me/p248fQ-o