Mobile-based business intelligence (BI) tools may already be available in the market, but the limited pool of "serious users" and the challenges of deploying such technology has hindered uptake, one Oracle executive shares.
Scott Tunbridge, program director of enterprise project management (EPM) and business intelligence at Oracle, said the number of mobile BI users in any organization constitute only a handful of key senior executives who are tasked to make decisive, real-time actions based on the information generated. He was speaking to ZDNet Asia during an interview Thursday.
These "serious users" who access BI reports and, using the information, craft a new report and workflow to change how business should be conducted directly from their mobile devices are merely a small segment of the total mobile user base currently, Tunbridge added.
"You don't see a proliferation of mobile BI users yet. It's not like everyone in a room uses mobile BI; it might just be that one person who's doing sales, production, or cost management and must be able to have up-to-date information in order to make a decision in real-time," he said.
By contrast, end-users who consume data feeds via their mobile devices are not considered serious users as the functions undertaken are largely static and no action has been taken by them, the executive noted.
Web tech to ease deployment challenges
Tunbridge said the capabilities sought by serious users are currently possible using Web-based BI tools, which means it is only a matter of time before these technologies migrate to the mobile platform.
This is the approach Oracle is taking, he added, saying the dashboards built for Web-based users can also be deployed for mobile platforms. This way, organizations can write once but run it on multiple form factors, he said.
Additionally, there are other implementation issues to resolve, such as integration, security, encryption and login credentials, which business customers would rather not deal with. Oracle hopes to differentiate its offerings from competing products by focusing on its in-built integrations capabilities, which would allow its mobile BI tools to be run on top of a company's existing IT systems, the program director said.
This would also help bring down costs as compared to when companies opt for the pricier option of buying best-of-breed BI apps and technologies that they will have to spend time and money to cobble together, Tunbridge said.
As for the best platform to run mobile BI tools, he noted that customer demand appear to point to tablets, particularly Apple's iPad, rather than smartphones.
"Everyone initially thought mobile BI [refers] to the mobile phone's interface, but navigating that small device with your fingers is a difficult user experience. We see more of a push to provide better capabilities on tablet devices," he said.