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"At Yellowfin we are passionate about making Business Intelligence easy.
In fact Yellowfin was founded to tackle the problems its founders had experienced with more traditional
players in this market. What we saw was a significant market gap: the tools were highly complex, expensive
and designed for technical resources - not business people - regardless of the marketing hype!
Why only roll out BI tools to a chosen few, if all business people need access to their data."
Mobile Business Intelligence & Analytics
Mobile Business Intelligence
is also known as :
Yellowfin Mobile BI Platform
Business Intelligence Software
Mobile BI Applications
about Mobile BI Strategy
Mobile Analytics Environment,
Mobile Software Client,
Mobile Business Intelligence Solution,
Driving Mobile BI Adoption,
Mobile BI 1.0,
Business Performance Management,
Mobile BI Tool,
Yellowfin for the Iphone,
Scope of Mobile BI,
Key Benefit of Mobile BI,
Mobile Business Intelligence Employee Productivity,
Benefit from a Mobile BI Implementation,
Convergence of Business Intelligence and Mobility,
Yellowfin Mobile Application,
Use of a Mobile Device.
With the advent of the mobile phone a fundamental shift occurred in
telecommunications. You no longer called a place but you called a person. The
internet provides an even greater degree of interconnectivity, and it is these
changes which are having a profound impact on businesses and the way in which
they manage their people mobile or otherwise and the access that they provide to
their data assets. This white paper addresses these changes and discusses the
impact it is having on business information delivery.
The convergence of Business Intelligence and mobility, resulting in the
capability to deliver data anytime anywhere, has been well underway for some
time. Professionals are fast becoming comfortable with the use of smart phones
not only for communication purposes but also as a means of keeping up to date
with business information. The result of this is that your company's work force
will soon see mobility as the norm rather than a specialised set of applications
when they happen to be on the road. The dispersed work force and the end of the
commuting to a cubicle era will soon be upon us, and you should build out the IT
plan to accommodate mobility as the rule rather than the exception.
This paper looks at the audience for mobile BI applications. Senior management
and executives, key sales people and field service personnel, the key
influencers driving the need for mobile BI, and the benefits that are in store
for an organisation that embraces mobile analytics.
Beyond that, this paper analyses the requirements, both technical and
organisational that are required to ensure a successful rollout of a mobile BI
platform. platform that will have a direct impact on improving an organisaton's
bottom line, by increasing its competitive advantage, its employee productivity
and the level of customer satisfaction.
The definition of mobility needs to be much broader than just simply the
referring to the use of a mobile device. This definition defines mobility as
device independence. It is critical difference, as it has a fundamental impact
on how you should think about your mobile BI strategy.
To illustrate this let's use two examples: On the one hand there is the mobile
worker who is physically mobile and requires remote access to information
assets. This is the traditional definition of mobile BI. However, there is a
fast emerging group who are device mobile. These users switch between laptop,
desktop and smart phone in the course of a day, week or month but are not
necessarily out in the field.
What both sets of users have in common is an expectation of flexibility in
access to data, and of most importance is consistency in content - through all
available channels. In simple terms, no matter how the user accesses their
corporate data what they see should be the same.
Mobile business intelligence is the capability of the organisation to deliver
relevant and timely data to anyone, whenever they need it, wherever they are and
regardless of the device used to access that data.
The scope of Mobile BI also spans three distinct usage models:
|Exception & Alerts
||Users receive proactive alerts about events that fall outside predefined
norms For example, a purchasing agent could be alerted when the inventory of a
critical part fell to a level that threatened to interrupt manufacturing; a
sales executive would be alerted about a delayed shipment, so he or she could
intervene to expedite the process or proactively contact the customer about the
||Role specific predefined reports, such as key performance indicators (KPIs),
are pushed to executives (regardless of their location or their device) on a
regular schedule. For example, each Monday morning, a report on last week's
sales could be distributed to sales and marketing executives, while the CFO
might receive a report on critical financial metrics.
||Workers specify the information they want, using whatever input method is
appropriate for the available device. The user could access almost any type of
information available from a centralised server-based BI system. A salesperson,
for example, could ask the application to identify the current top 5 customers,
or to provide detailed background about a specific customer. This model supports
advanced data visualisation, including interactive charts, graphs and maps.
Three major professional groups stand to benefit from a mobile BI implementation. These are:
executives, key sales people and field service personnel.
The executive team and senior management have become proficient at absorbing information
delivered to them via their smart phones. Adding analytics and reporting is not a huge leap for this
end user group. For time poor executives who spend little time directly in front of their desktop the
ability to quickly tap into their KPI's, focus on variance and act on that whilst on the move between
meetings is a key benefit of Mobile BI. It is this group of users who display the highest propensity to
switch between devices, and as such can be considered the device mobile.
As executives begin to use mobile phones and laptops almost interchangeably, and as those phones
become capable of displaying rich Web content, business leaders are seeking more extensive access
to corporate data. The requirement for Executives to have access to real time KPI data is a key
factor. Business time frames are being compressed and if a company is going to have a competitive
advantage then its decision makers need to have access to the to the information they need -
wherever they are, whenever they need it and then make important decisions on-the-go.
Key sales people, who are mobile, and in constant contact with their customers need to have access
to a mobile analytics environment. Having the ability to view current sales for the month, sales history
and orders by that customers competitors, provides the sales person with the timely information they
need to increase sales via customer up-sell / cross-sell, and act upon opportunities as they happen.
Imagine the difference in sales opportunity management if this data was delivered as a static monthly
report lost in the wave of email versus a real time interactive report right there at the customer's door
The field service personal are in a similar situation to the sales team. They need to have an accurate
understanding of the customer's record and history for them to do their job effectively. The field
teams also stand to benefit through the use of pro-active alerts which can tell them in real time about
changes to a customer's details or requirements. This can also lead to an increase in the efficiency of
your field workforce and an increase in employee productivity. Companies seeking to invest in
providing mobile workers with access to applications and real or near-real time information
understand that the potential benefits go beyond the ability to respond more quickly to customer
demand, but also toward achieving higher efficiencies, cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, risk
management, and workforce cohesiveness.
End User Matrix
|Executive / Senior Management
||Real time Organisational KPI's
Anytime. anywhere access to data
Decision making on the go
Proactive Sales Alerts
Real Time Customer Data
Sales Performance Reporting
||Proactive Service Alerts
Real Time Customer Data
There are three major external factors that are driving Mobile BI adoption. These are: device maturity,
end user expectations and constant connectivity.
Mobile BI has reached a new level of maturity. Mobile devices such as the Apple iPhone allow users
to have a rich reporting and business intelligence experience directly from their phone. As devices
mature and the functionality and usability of those devices approaches that of a traditional desktop we
will continue to see convergence of applications across devices. Traditional thinking about mobile BI
which included email delivery is incorrect. As devices have matured BI vendors, such as Yellowfin,
have followed up with delivering applications that are suited to these devices. Mobile BI needs to be
supported through rich clients on similarly high function devices.
Users expect to interact with the internet. The device-savvy digital generation continues to enter the
workforce, using devices to stay connected in ways previously unthought-of. This means they are
becoming device independent. The personal use of the internet and mobile devices continues to
grow and is shaping the expectations of business-oriented use as a way to keep well informed, and to
tailor business information to their own personal needs. For example, social media applications such
as twitter have a web client but also a myriad of mobile clients each with slightly different UI. What
they have in common is that all the applications deliver the same content. In the internet-centric world
content is king and this is what users want to stay connected to. They need to because they want to
take action through any device and automate many of their activities on a daily basis, allowing them to
participate in business processes wherever they are. This allows them to react to change more
immediately and for those in the field to more effectively respond to customer needs and issues.
The final trend that is driving mobile BI is pervasive connectivity to the internet. Here again we see a
divergence from the Mobile BI 1.0 of a disconnected environment, users needing to work offline etc.
Workers needed to work offline because they were on the road and did not have access to the
network -that has changed forever. The fundamental issue of working offline is that data now has to
be stored on the device. This is an IT blocker! How do you secure the data? What happens if the
device is lost? How do you lock it down? From a business perspective offline means out dated data -
no real time access.
With the lowering cost of data and pervasive access to a network offline, access is fast becoming
irrelevant. By delivering your mobile BI platform via the internet you remove security issues and
deliver real time data capabilities to your end users.
There are three fundamental internal drivers for mobile business intelligence
employee productivity, improving data delivery efficiency and finally the need to deliver real time
reporting and analytics.
Increasing employee productivity is a key factor in delivering business intelligence to mobile devices.
For the mobile worker the lack of access to real time information is a major inhibitor to delivering high
productivity. As discussed above, one of the key requirements for all of the end user groups is access
to data to assist them to improve their own performance. Delivery of the right data at the right time
can significantly improve productivity by reducing the time wasted in searching for data and or not
having the right data to do their job effectively.
The second driver is improved data delivery efficiency and closed loop reporting. Improving
information flow through the organisation is a key driver to mobile BI projects. For mobile workers
who are not often connected to their desktops a mobile BI application provides them with direct
access to the organisations data assets. In addition to delivery efficiency, the ability to act on that
data and "close the loop" by approving orders etc means that direct organisational effiency can be
achieved through this approach.
Real time data delivery is a key driver for any significant mobile BI strategy. Although similar to the
point above it does deserve to stand on its own. Mobile BI is about delivering real time or near real
time access to data. It is real time data that is needed by the field sales and service teams if they are
to achieve the organisational benefits sought. For example, if a customer cancels an order, the field
delivery team does not want to waste time and effort in delivering an unwanted good to the customer
Therefore it is critical that not only does the delivery mechanism, the BI solution, but also the
underlying data sources being accessed are capable of and have been optimized for real time data
The potential benefits of rolling out Mobile Business Intelligence to an organisation are enormous.
The major benefit for a mobile strategy is increased competitive advantage leading to greater levels of
profitable and a clearly definable ROI for a company's mobile BI rollout. Organisation's are looking to
be more responsive and flexible by adapting having access to data that keeps the mobile worker
ahead of the competition. Through access to real time data the opportunities to up-sell and cross sell
The second benefit is increased productivity of the workforce. With real time access to data the
potential for operational efficiencies are dramatically increased. The ability to speed-up the decision
making process, by extending critical information out to decision-makers in the field is a major benefit
of mobile BI. Organisation wide efficiencies are also sought where by mobile workers can be quickly
alerted to important or harmful events before they affect the business.
Finally, raising the level of customer satisfaction through improved customer service is also a major
benefit of delivering mobile BI to the field. Saving customer's time, by enabling mobile workers to
make decisions based on the right information, right now can lead to lasting improvements in
customer satisfaction levels. In addition, the most advanced users of mobile BI are integrating backend
business event-driven alerts with delivery to mobile workers who are at the coalface. This can
result in an instantaneous response to situations that would otherwise potentially cause harm to the
organisation or damage to a customer relationship.
To achieve the benefits sought in a mobile BI project a key set of organisational attributes need to be
It is vital that a company has already established a competency for business intelligence, or has a
general analytics strategy in place. Mobile business intelligence is a sub set of a broader BI program.
It should not be embarked upon in isolation. The general framework for the delivery of a successful
BI project applies equally well to mobile BI projects.
As companies continue to focus on delivering information to the mobile workforce, they will also need
to address the timeframes within which information must be delivered in order to affect action in the
field. A company will need to have established a corporate culture around 'anywhere/ anytime'
access to information. Opening up access to data is critical for the success of your mobile BI project,
employees on the move need to know that they can access the data they need when and where they
need it. This is not to say that data security concerns should be ignored. However, having a BI
platform with a comprehensive security infrastructure in place, this should not be an inhibitor. Rather
the security provided should free a company to broaden the access it provides to its data.
Understanding the reporting needs of each of the three main audiences of mobile BI, the executive,
the sales and services team is critical. These needs will differ. Develop KPIs and reports that are
meaningful to the user and content that will actively assist them to do their job. Ensuring that the
reporting content is relevant to their internal audience, companies will ensure a quick uptake and as
such have a far higher return on investment from their mobile BI project.
The success or failure of a mobile BI project does rest to some degree on the technology chosen to
be the delivery platform. The fundamental requirement is that this platform is internet
that there are some essential technology components that assist to deliver the business
The most critical selection criterion is that a single authoring environment exists. With a single
authoring environment, information can be delivered out to mobile users without having to create a
separate set of BI views, reports and dashboards, which would double maintenance and support
needs. This concept needs to be extended to ensure that users have access to any or all authorised
content that they would otherwise be able to access via their desktop. There should be no difference
between content accessed from one device to another. For example, if a user has a list of favourite
reports that they have marked in the full client they simply expect to see these in the mobile client.
The mobile software client should optimize the delivery of content based on the size of the screen.
Emphasis should be made to "bite size" reports such as KPI sparklines and bullet charts. This is not a
contradiction to the point above but an emphasis that what works well in a full size browser is not
often ideal on a mobile phone. For example, a Business Intelligence client has a wide range of
functionality that is used to explore relationships in data and deliver 100's of reports to an
organisation. Delivering an analytical dashboard with 8 to 10 reports on it would be a terrible user
experience on a phone. The iPhone client on the other hand should be designed to highlight those
strategic KPIs which are of the greatest concern, as well as drive action through exception reporting.
The final technology requirement is the need for proactive alerts which are pushed to the mobile
device. Alerts are scheduled reports which have specific delivery rules attached to them, such as
order delivery delay is greater than 1 day, and are only sent if the rule is met. These alerts prompt the
mobile worker to take action without the need to repeatedly scanning reports looking for exceptions.
This level of automation further increases the productivity of the mobile worker.
Deploying mobile BI poses unique challenges. Security considerations are very important. Companies
must consider what information is going outside of their firewall and how they will protect it.
The most effective security strategy to enable your mobile users to have access to organisational data
is to not store data on the device - ensure that your users connect and authenticate in real time with
your BI servers. Too often, news stories and headlines tell a horror tale of executives whose laptops
or mobile devices are lost or stolen. The stories inevitably reveal the extent of the damage to
customers and stakeholders as the details about sensitive data on the device becomes known. In
this era of connectivity offline reporting is becoming fast irrelevant. In addition online access is simply
far more secure.
The second security feature that is critical is that authentication (such as password management)
needs to be managed centrally, preferably through an LDAP directory, so that a loss of device will not
result in unauthorized access to the BI server. As soon as the loss of a device is notified a single
change to a centralised authentication system will ensure that access to reports is no longer possible.
Finally encrypted transfer of report data transfer from the server to the phone should be made
available for highly sensitive data. If you do not make data available on the phone then effort should
also go into ensuring there is no compromise of security on an unsecured network.
Unlike the majority of Business Intelligence applications for mobile analytics, which simply use the
browser as a delivery mechanism, Yellowfin provides native applications, which make full use of a
smart phones functionality to deliver Yellowfin's renowned industry leading, ease of use and analytic
capabilities. What's different about the Yellowfin application is an understanding that the analytical
and reporting needs of executives and field staff are different from that of analysts sitting at their PC.
They are increasingly using their smart phones for instant access to data, from anywhere and at any
time. This is why Yellowfin has completely redesigned the user interface and navigation to meet
these requirements for information delivery.
The Yellowfin iPhone application has been designed to sharpen the focus on those KPIs which are
critical to a business's and executive's performance. This is the key difference between the mobile
application and the standard Yellowfin dashboard interface. The Yellowfin mobile application
addresses the IT concerns and requirements for a Mobile Business intelligence solution through the
Fast - no rework. We re-use existing report content. A user simply logs into their existing Yellowfin
account. With Yellowfin you do not have to re-create content for the mobile platform or repackage it
for mobile distribution. This allows customers to gain the benefits of Mobile BI immediately.
Secure - reuse of all of the Yellowfin security infrastructure means that security is assured. No data
is stored on the phone so the loss of the phone does not enable unauthorized access to your data.
Easy to use - intuitive navigation and quick access to favourite's means that users need no extra
training to use the application.
Yellowfin has been offering integrated reporting and analysis software to organisations and its OEM
software partners worldwide. Many of our customers have thousands of people both inside and
outside of their organisations that rely on Yellowfin reports and dashboards to provide timely business
Mobility is a pervasive aspect of an organisations IT landscape. Business Intelligence is one of the
areas that has the most benefit to offer a company that embraces mobile analytics for their staff. As
with all IT projects there are some challenges that need to be met for the full benefits of this initiative
to be achieved. These, covered in more depth in this paper, include:
- Real time data availability - providing access to the timely data that enables professionals to
improve their productivity and organisational performance.
- Security. Ensuring that content delivered to the mobile application is secure and meets the same
level of access control as your entire Business Intelligence platform.
- Delivery of content formatted for multiple devices, and allowing the freedom of the end user to
select the most appropriate channel to access their data.
By addressing these issues enterprises have the capacity to quickly gain the benefits from a mobile BI
platform which leading to increased competitive advantage, increased employee productivity and
higher levels of customer satisfaction.
Find out more
Contact Yellowfin at www.yellowfin.bi
and ask for our proven roadmap to assist you
to successfully implement Yellowfin Mobile BI
into your organisation.
Yellowfin, and the Yellowfin logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Yellowfin International Pty Ltd. All other names are
trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
While every attempt has been made to ensure that the information in this document is accurate and complete, some
typographical errors or technical inaccuracies may exist. Yellowfin does not accept responsibility for any kind of loss resulting
from the use of information contained in this document.
The information contained in this document is subject to change without notice. This text contains proprietary information, which
is protected by copyright. All rights are reserved. No part of this document may be photocopied, reproduced, stored in a
retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, or translated into another language without the prior written consent
of Yellowfin International Pty Ltd.
The incorporation of the product attributes discussed in these materials into any release or upgrade of any Yellowfin software
product - as well as the timing of any such release or upgrade - is at the sole discretion of Yellowfin.
This document version published November 2009 Copyright © 2009Yellowfin International Pty Ltd.