Mobile BI: Beauty and Brains

Feature Article | January 5, 2012 by Heather McIlvaine

Up until now, mobile analytics mostly focused on simply making business information accessible on mobile devices. For example, the SAP BusinessObjects Mobile app – delivered earlier this year with the SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 release – allows users to view reports on a smartphone or tablet. This is without a doubt an important part of increasing accessibility to BI content, but it is just the first step companies need to take in the process of unwiring enterprise analytics.

The next level of analytics involves exploring and actually analyzing vast information on a mobile device and entails taking advantage of third-party services like Google Maps, augmented reality, and intuitive views that present answers instantly. SAP is developing a new set of mobile analytic apps that support such capabilities. These apps go beyond simple on-the-go analytics and actually guide users through their information to help them understand root causes of business problems, get instant answers, and respond from anywhere.

For example, the SAP BusinessObjects Explorer mobile app enables users to find data simply by using key word search, sort and filter data, generate charts, interact with the data, and also share reports by email or bookmark. And since October of this year, integration with Google Maps and augmented reality capabilities are now a standard part of the app.

Leveraging the iPhone or iPad’s GPS location and compass, the SAP BusinessObjects Explorer mobile app is able to provide users with geo-localized business information. Users can call up a list of business locations, for example, and see the points of interest displayed either on a map or overlaid onto the real world. And simply by tapping a particular point of interest, users get more detailed information via the familiar SAP BusinessObjects Explorer interface. This video shows the app with its integrated augmented reality tools in action.

The SAP BusinessObjects Explorer mobile app is currently available for free in the App Store on iTunes. With over 240,000 downloads, it is one of the most downloaded business apps on iTunes. It is also the most used frontend to SAP’s powerful in-memory computing database, SAP HANA.

Augmented reality in the SAP BusinessObjects Explorer mobile app on the iPad (screenshot: SAP)

The next version will transform the way every employee interacts with analytics. (screenshot: SAP)

Planned improvements

The next release of SAP BusinessObjects Explorer Mobile App is planned for Q1 2012. The updated version will have even more compelling visuals, will be integrated with solutions like SAP StreamWork and the Sybase Unwired Platform, and will be available on demand. A preview app, called SAP BusinessObjects Experience, provides a glimpse of the upcoming version. This preview app is free to download from iTunes; it is compatible with iPad and requires iOS 4.0 or later.

Planned for release in mid-2012, the new SAP Business Analytics Studio will be the first ever mobile analytics software development kit that allows SAP, partners, and customers to build custom mobile apps based on specific use cases for industries and lines of business. With this tool, developers will be able to embed analytics into any mobile app, blurring the lines between analytics, transactions and collaboration. For instance, a user can be in a workflow app and easily access analytic reports in order to make a more informed decision; or a user can be in an analytics app and then start a workflow to immediately act on a business problem.

Here is a video depicting how SAP can transform every person’s role in an organization with Mobile Analytics from SAP.

The Future is Now

Combining in-memory processing and SAP’s acquisition of Sybase and Business Objects, respective experts in mobility and business analytics, the latest mobile analytic apps deliver some truly impressive new features and functions.

Nevertheless, SAP is at work building even more features and functions in its mobile analytic apps that will enable every person to get instant insights, make informed decisions immediately, and deliver results anywhere. The next releases will include features like the ability to understand root cause instantly, perform what-if analyses, respond accordingly, and even start the appropriate workflow from within the application. This video depicts the near future of Mobile Analytics from SAP.

The following mobile analytic apps are already available today.

These analytic apps compliment the broader suite of mobile apps from SAP. There are more than 30 apps available today, which can be found in SAP Store, the new home for SAP mobile apps. In this blog, Eric Lai, a blogger for Sybase, an SAP company, gives readers an introduction to SAP Store.

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