By Mary Hayes Weier
Information Builders on Wednesday released new software, WebFocus Mobile Favorites, that lets professionals organize business-intelligence reports they access
through their mobile devices.
Various BI vendors have begun offering access to reports via mobile devices in recent months, but customers aren’t exactly flocking to the capability. Information Builders executives insist that’s about to change with the new and better generation of smartphones offering bigger screens with better resolution, and better form factors and
Using Safari on the iPhone, “you can meaningfully navigate [BI reports] on these phones,” said Rado Kotorov, the company’s technical director of strategic product management. Kotorov says Information Builders has a handful of beta customers testing mobile access to BI, including NASA engineers accessing space-shuttle data. However, they don’t recommend sending large fields and reports,” he said.
Information Builders’ mobile users access BI dashboards containing business data residing on Web servers through their device browsers. A traveling salesperson can view sales results, for example, via columns, pie charts and fever charts. Information Builders is targeting executives, salespeople, and other on-the-go professionals with the software. The new Favorites feature, installed by an administrator onto a Web server and accessed by the user through a Web link, lets users add or remove frequently accessed BI reports.
The standard-browser approach helps businesses get around the problem of having to develop or purchase applications customized for mobile devices, and then support that separate software. Since users’ favorites folders are on a Web server, they can change or
use different devices, including a laptop, PC, or different mobile device, to access their frequently used information.
Information Builders’ s browser approach to mobile BI is distinctive since its focus is to make BI accessible regardless of the mobile device used. Cognos began shipping Cognos 8 Go Mobile in February for accessing BI reports on the go, but it’s currently limited
to Blackberry devices. Microstrategy last month also began offering mobile access to BI reports, but that’s also limited to BlackBerrys.
Business Objects, like Information Builders, has taken a more open approach, and in May began offering software that lets professionals access and interact with reports residing on their companies’ BusinessObjects XI Release 2 deployments, from Blackberrys, Windows Mobile, and “various other” devices.
More on WebFocus Mobile Favorites
Information Builders Mobile Favorites™ offers business decision-makers a unique tool that is compliant with emerging mobile technology trends. It is a low cost solution that does not require any additional software or hardware investments, and no special security enhancements. Mobile Favorites™ allows the user to vary their information requests through simple, interactive forms, thus providing a greater variety of information.
With its innovative pure browser-based approach to mobile computing, Information Builders has established itself as the leader in delivering mobile reporting to business and non-technical users. With just two clicks, content can be easily added or removed from the Mobile Favorites folder in Information Builders’ standard BI Dashboard. The process is no different from adding content to the favorites folder in a Web browser. From an end user perspective, reporting through Mobile Favorites™ is as easy to use
as using e-mail or the Internet on a mobile device. Viewing a Mobile Favorites™ report is similar to scrolling through a Web page. Experienced mobile users can take advantage of parameterized reports and active reports, which allow users to customize content and apply analytics on the go. And, Active Technologies also allows interactive dashboards to
be delivered to mobile devices.
Some of the benefits of WebFOCUS Mobile Favorites™ include:
- The ability to share documents across multiple devices organizations can deliver applications and content to mobile devices without having to change their underlying systems infrastructure. Users typically change or upgrade their devices every 18 months. Once in place, Mobile Favorites allows BI consumers to be device independent and also eliminates programmers’ burden of customizing reports for multiple devices.
- No device software to support — reports are delivered directly to a device’s browser, eliminating costly maintenance, updates, and versioning for different operating systems; reports are available on all mobile browsers.
- No additional hardware required — standard Web and BI technologies are used so that dedicated mobile servers aren’t needed to convert BI content to mobile formats or manage interactions.
- No unique design and delivery tools needed — create mobile reports and make them immediately available using standard development and delivery tools; existing reports can be distributed to any mobile device without conversion.
- No special security considerations — provide a secure connection through mobile device and virtual protocol networks (VPNs); WebFOCUS Managed Reporting is used to manage user access and any Managed Reporting user can be immediately given access to mobile content.