Mobility has taken the business world by storm. Since the advent of the cellular phone and its increasing capability to deliver a host of functionality, executives on the move are accustomed to unparalleled information availability. Which is why Cognos has introduced business intelligence which can be delivered straight to the mobile phone, says Christo Bredenkamp, managing director of Synergy Computing.
Reporting back from the recent Cognos Forum global conference held in Florida, Bredenkamp says mobile BI is a logical next step. "BI is eminently about information availability. Getting the right information on time is essential if it is to result in timely decision-making, so the capability to get that salient data even when out of the office logically contributes value to the BI user," he says.
More than that, Bredenkamp says mobile BI will contribute to the further extension of BI users in the organisation. "Growing the BI user base is a marked trend in the industry. Once the preserve of top executives, BI is steadily making its presence and value felt at an operational level. Given the ubiquity of powerful handsets in the market which are capable of advanced display, connectivity and even processing, it is possible to provide mobile BI to practically any information worker who needs it," he says.
While Cognos 8 Go! Mobile is initially available for the BlackBerry wireless device platform, Bredenkamp says continued development will imminently result in a solution suitable for the Windows Mobile operating system, and possibly the Symbian platform on which Nokia and other leading handsets are based. "BlackBerry has enjoyed limited adoption in the South African market; it is likely that mobile BI will see larger scale adoption locally when the Windows solution is available," he says.
With Cognos 8 Go! Mobile, Bredenkamp says users can increase productivity and improve their decision-making when working remotely by accessing operational and strategic information.
"The mobile component is fully integrated with the back-office BI deployment. A rich client resides on the access device, which provides users with actual Cognos 8 BI reports, not static renditions or OEM reproductions. Furthermore, there is no need to re-author reports for wireless devices; the same report which is viewed on a regular PC is delivered to the mobile handset," he says.
Attention to administration includes remote installation and centralized management which allows distribution of functionality and upgrades to users, while reports consumed apply existing metadata, security, roles and workflows used in Cognos 8. "Most importantly, since potentially sensitive data is being accessed and transmitted, theft and loss protection is ensured with remote database locking and advanced encryption," Bredenkamp points out.
Since it integrates with the existing BI deployment, mobile BI has minimal impact and requirements from hardware infrastructure and can be rolled out in short time frames.
"Mobile BI is a logical extension of the accepted benefits of BI – the delivery of actionable information on time to make better decisions. It's the next big thing for BI," Bredenkamp says.