That’s right. It’s been less than a decade since you were limited to checking emails in the office, needed a street directory or GPS to find your way to meetings and visited the ATM or online banking website to check your bank balance.
Mobile technology has come a long way since 2007. But when it comes to business intelligence (BI) software and mobility, some vendors’ solutions are now more advanced than others.
Despite what vendors may claim, not all mobile BI solutions are created equal. There’s a big difference, for example, between being able to view a dashboard on a mobile device, and using a purpose-built mobile platform to create and edit content.
Most vendors’ BI platforms support mobile use, but few deliver a convenient, cost effective and easy to use mobile experience.
We spoke to Qlik Sense sales manager Claudia Pirko to find out the top five mobility questions every IT decision maker should ask before buying a BI solution. Here’s what she said.
Question 1: Does the platform offer anytime and anywhere access to analytics?
If your BI platform doesn’t let you access data at any time and on any device, it isn’t a mobile solution.
Claudia says that at a minimum, you should be able to view BI dashboards and reports on a mobile device. However, this is just a fraction of what’s possible with an advanced BI and mobility solution.
“People think that mobility means being able to view BI data on their phone. That’s part of it, but it is less than ten percent of what’s actually possible,” Claudia says.
“The best mobile BI solutions dig deeper. They think about the best way to present information, and how to deliver analytics to a mobile device in a way that is easy to read, interpret and edit.”
Question 2: What extra work is needed to get dashboards and reports working on mobile?
Many BI solutions require extra development work to run on both desktop and mobile devices. This means you may need to redevelop a BI solution several times before it is ready to deploy in a mobile environment.
This is expensive and time consuming. Claudia also says that if you choose the right product, it’s unnecessary.
“You should be able to develop once, and then deploy and consume your information from anywhere,” she says.
“With Qlik Sense, for example, you don’t need to worry about making your applications, dashboards and reports work on mobile devices. You don’t need to go through multiple development cycles. You can start using the solution on a mobile device from the go live date.”
Question 3: Can we develop applications and dashboards on mobile devices?
The best mobile BI solutions are those that let mobile users do everything desktop users can do, but with a mobile-optimised user interface.
Claudia says you should be able to create, modify and edit all of the following on a mobile device:
“Sometimes sales people working remotely might have new questions or business problems that a static dashboard doesn’t answer.
“They should be able to create and edit applications on their phones, and be confident that what they develop on the mobile will also work on a PC once they are back in the office. Many BI products can’t do that,” Claudia says.
Question 4: Can we access BI content on any browser?
Vendors and app developers are having trouble keeping up with the changing mobile landscape. Mid-sized devices and hybrid touch devices have made support across all devices more challenging.
And while native iOS and Android apps were once the gold standard, they are now difficult to maintain and adapt.
Claudia says this is why all mobile solutions, including BI platforms, should be responsive and use latest web technologies like HTML5.
These technologies mean you can access content on any device via a web browser. The browser will also automatically adapt according to the screen size to deliver a great user experience every time.
Question 5: Is the mobile interface optimised for touch interaction?
Check to make sure that your BI solution supports advanced mobile gestures like tap, hold-tap, swipe and pinch. People don’t use mice or track pads to point and click on mobile devices, but software vendors seem to forget this when developing mobile BI solutions.
“You want a BI solution that’s specifically designed for small screens and touch interaction,” explains Claudia.
“The user interface should automatically present visualisation and objects in the best way for the screen size, without additional customisation.”
Find out more about Qlik Sense, or contact one of Professional Advantage’s BI consultants to discover how the right mobile BI solution can work for your organisation. Call us on 1800 126 499 today.