Inovex, a creator of software solutions largely oriented to health care and energy sectors, realized a market need for an analytic engine to help people better understand their data, specifically with a location-based component. Maps BI is a cloud-based software as a service system that brings together mapping, business intelligence and community in one platform, to help users visualize all the meta data they’re mining in a fast, easy to understand and relevant format. Early on, the developer of Maps BI, decided to focus on 2 key strategic partnerships.
A successful mobile business intelligence solution must account for the following five points:
- A mobile BI solution should be an integral part of a BI platform, so that it can be easily integrated into the existing process and application landscape.
- A mobile BI solution should be device-independent, so it can be used without any further adjustments on all major smartphones tablets and other mobile devices.
- A mobile BI solution needs into the existing IT infrastructure, IT standards and security guidelines fit.
- A mobile BI solution needs to access all relevant data sources in an enterprise and can support all relevant output formats.
- A mobile BI solution combines the full functionality of BI solutions with the ergonomic advantages of mobile devices. This includes in particular a read and write access, so that data is changed and new data can be collected.
Functionality: What tops the list?
Unsurprisingly, users were clear that both dashboarding and data analysis/discovery are an essential part of their day-to-day lives with a mobile BI application. It’s also clear reporting in mobile media is slowly decreasing and leaving space for more data discovery functions.
Surprisingly, the level of importance that users gave to alerting functionality above collaboration abilities despite the hoopla around the importance of collaboration embedded within all types of enterprise software. Time will tell if this trend continues.
The embedded video shows how Google’s Glass might be used in a healthcare environment. The nurse checks the route plan displayed on her smart glasses and then sets off with her medication tray. She scans the bar code on the patient’s wristband and immediately receives information about which medication that particular patient needs to take. If she has any questions, she can contact and speak to the responsible physician immediately via the glasses. At the end of the working day, all the data stored on her smart glasses is transferred to a backend IT system.
Not only does medical staff have their hands completely free to treat their patients, they also have real-time access to patient data and can make notes in speech and image form as they make their rounds. This example uses SAP HANA’s in-memory facilities to provide access to all relevant data and processes from the smart glasses in real time – even while on the move.
According to Gartner, 30 per cent of all business intelligence (BI) is now on a mobile device. In a market that’s worth around $140 billion for both software and hardware services, that’s proof that not only is BI one of the top priorities of CIO’s today, it’s also becoming increasingly mobile.
Platfora, a startup that sells an analytics and visualization app designed to run on Hadoop, has raised a $38 million series C round of venture capital. Source: Hadoop analytics startup Platfora raises $38M
High adoption rates and reliance on mobile devices makes safe mobile computing a critical concern. A comprehensive mobile security solution must provide security at these levels:
- Authorization, Authentication, and Network Security
The best way to ensure data will not be tampered with is to not store it on the client device (mobile device). As such, there is no local copy to lose if the mobile device is stolen and the data can reside on servers within the data center with access permitted only over the network. Most smartphone manufacturers provide a complete set of security features including full-disk encryption, email encryption, as well as remote management which includes the ability to wipe contents if device is lost or stolen. Also, some devices have embedded third-party antivirus and firewall software such as RIM’s BlackBerry.
Transmission security refers to measures that are designed to protect data from unauthorized interception, traffic analysis, and imitative deception. These measures include Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), iSeries Access for Windows, and virtual private network (VPN) connections. A secure data transmission should enable the identity of the sender and receiver to be verified by using a cryptographic shared key system as well as protect the data to be modified by a third party when it crosses the network. This can be done using AES or Triple DES with an encrypted SSL tunnel.
Authorization, Authentication, and Network Security
Authorization refers to the act of specifying access rights to control access of information to users. Authentication refers to the act of establishing or confirming the user as true or authentic. Network security refers to all the provisions and policies adopted by the network administrator to prevent and monitor unauthorized access, misuse, modification, or denial of the computer network and network-accessible resources. The mobility adds to unique security challenges. As data is trafficked beyond the enterprise firewall towards unknown territories, ensuring that it is handled safely is of paramount importance. Towards this, proper authentication of user connections, centralized access control (like an LDAP Directory), encrypted data transfer mechanisms should also be implemented.
Ventana Research recently completed a comprehensive evaluation of mobile business intelligence assessed in seven key categories: usability, manageability, reliability, capability, adaptability, vendor validation and TCO and ROI. Spoiler alert: MicroStrategy, IBM and SAP still hot, Birst, not so much. Source: Mobile Business Intelligence: Who is Hot in 2014?
In a frontal assault to Tableau Software and others, Microstrategy releases Analytics Desktop. The free tool lets users create pie graphs, matrices, networks, maps and other visualizations with data pulled from various sources that include Excel, relational databases, multi-dimensional databases, cloud-based applications or Hadoop.
Once created, visualizations can be dragged and dropped into dashboards to help users spot patterns and changes in data, which can be loaded from different sources and combined to make new metrics.
The debate over which is better — native mobile apps or HTML or browser-based mobile apps — seems never-ending. In the case of mobile business intelligence (BI) or mobile analytics, a recently published Aberdeen Group study on Mobile Analytics found that given the current state-of-the-art in HTML5-based and native code-based apps, native has the upper hand.
|Mobile BI Approach||Advantages||Disadvantages|
|Browser-based||Easier to deploy||Not mobile-optimized|
|Compatible with all mobile browsers||No offline capabilities|
|Native App||Greater functionality||Not universally compatible with all platforms|
It’s worth noting that the use of native mobile BI apps requires more thought and planning than the browser-based approach. For example, organizations that already use browser-based BI on laptops can immediately use the same apps on any mobile device with a browser, even without optimizing them for mobile access. On the flip side, for native apps, more decisions need to be made: Which platforms will be supported — tablets and smartphones? Apple, Google and Microsoft? What about BlackBerry? Which OS versions?
For organizations with a well-developed mobile ecosystem, the native approach is probably preferable, as current HTML5-based apps offer feature parity with native apps only up to a point. But for companies that are just starting out, or need rapid and universal deployment, the browser-based approach might make the most sense.