For analytics to be effective, they need to be available to line-of-business personnel as needed in their normal course of conducting business, which today means providing rich mobile access to analytics through phones and tablets to support a mobile workforce seeking to conduct business in any location at any time. Workers today expect these mobile capabilities, which means organizations must make choices to provide analytics and BI platforms that can deliver them.
Our recently released Value Index on Mobile Analytics and Business Intelligence focuses on the challenge of delivering analytics and business intelligence on a variety of mobile devices including phones and tablets. When it comes to the smaller of these devices, mobile phones, it may not be realistic to expect full-blown analyses due to the small form factor. But screen resolution is improving, and larger devices such as tablets can support nearly any type of functionality that mobile personnel may need. These needs are substantial: for example, more than two-fifths (45%) of organizations report that it is important or very important to be able to address data preparation tasks on mobile devices. Nearly two-thirds of organizations (65%) provide support for both types of devices.
Analytics vendors are divided in their approach to providing mobile capabilities. Some vendors have invested in developing applications that are native to the two platforms that dominate the mobile landscape, Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating system. Other vendors have opted to invest in an HTML5 approach, often in combination with a helper application that provides some of the native capabilities such as participation in the store or marketplace where applications are distributed. Our research suggests that both approaches can be effective.
The small form factor of these mobile devices, especially phones, has helped push the boundaries on ease of use. Users can’t be expected to make multiple selections and accomplish complex interactions using a small display so vendors have simplified how tasks are performed. In addition, mobile devices offer capabilities such as voice interaction, location information and cameras that can enhance the user experience. Voice interaction can be used for natural language query and natural language responses. Users can initiate queries or charts based on a customer or vendor’s location information. Cameras can identify products on retail store shelves and their location to help drive sales analyses and projections.
We also see a growing interest in – and a growing set of capabilities for – collaboration in conjunction with analytics. Two-thirds of organizations report they are using or plan to use collaboration with analytics. Collaboration provides a way for organizations to derive more value from their analytics by sharing results and interacting with others who can put the information to use in the operations of the business. Collaboration also helps make it easier for individuals to find the information or analyses they need more quickly. Mobile technology is critical for successful collaboration because it reaches so far into the community of potential collaborators. They can be informed via their mobile devices that a topic of interest requires their input or that new information is available.
Ventana Research has conducted market research in a spectrum of related areas including Data Preparation, Machine Learning, Data and Analytics in the Cloud, Next-Generation Predictive Analytics and Big Data Analytics and Integration. We have examined the expansion of business intelligence through the use of cloud computing, mobility and advanced analytics as well as how BI products use collaboration capabilities, social media techniques and location-related analytics. The findings of these research undertakings guide our comprehensive approach to this Value Index, the findings of which we will discuss in our next post.
SVP & Research Director