10 mobile business intelligence apps for on-the-go analysis

Mobile business applications will keep your employees connected to the real-time data that helps them make key business decisions. These 10 apps are more than just colourful charts and graphs

Mobile business intelligence (BI) has quickly emerged as an easy way to provide real-time sales, revenue and customer data in dashboards small enough to fit on an employee's tablet or smartphone screen. With this information, employees can make more informed decisions on the fly, which will ultimately help a company improve the bottom line as well as productivity. These 10 mobile BI applications will keep employees connected to Cognos, BusinessObjects, Salesforce, Microsoft Reporting Services and other business intelligence suites.

Roambi

Roambi Analytics provides a mobile business app that is intuitive to use and easy to integrate with systems that range from salesforce.com, SAP and IBM Cognos to Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Reporting Services. This iOS app, recently listed among the "40 Best Apps for Business" in Fortune, is fast and has amazing graphics, too. Roambi Analytics ES4.4 for the iPad, for example, offers rich and crisp graphics and colours, while charts are interactive and fast to load. The product comes in three versions: Lite (free), Pro ($99 per user per year) and ES4 (contact Roambi for pricing).

Platform: iOS

MicroStrategy

Whether on the road or in a conference room with a large LED display, the MicroStrategy Mobile App Platform, a mobile version of the company's client app, delivers dashboards by mobilising business intelligence. The app provides interactive scorecards and the capability to use the iOS app Airplay to present and control visualised data on to a TV. MicroStrategy also includes transactional apps; these provide real-time interactions designed to trigger business processes in an internal system. MicroStrategy Mobile differentiates itself from other mobile BI toolswith its support for multi-language content, offline analysis capabilities, and customised alerts that use Push notifications when specific thresholds or criteria have been met.

Platform: Android, iOS

PushBI

PushBI, as its name suggests, makes existing business intelligence tools go mobile by pushing data to devices either onsite or in the cloud. PushBI supports several data source types, ranging from SQL Server and SAP Business Information Warehouse to XML, Atom and RSS. Since this product provides web-based content, you must be connected to the Internet at all time to access information.

Platform: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Mobile

Power View Mobile

As part of Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services, Power View is a data visualisation app launched via SharePoint. Power View Mobile has full support for Windows Mobile and is compatible with the Excel plug-in PowerPivot. Power View offers the self-service capability of the Microsoft Business Intelligence platform. Through Power Pivot, meanwhile, you can design your own reports and charts, and publish them to mobile devices. Power Pivot is priced as part Microsoft SQL Server and may require SharePoint Add-ons as well. Microsoft plans to deliver touch-based data exploration and visualization capabilities in a browser on iOS, Android and Microsoft platforms later in 2012.

Platform: Windows Phone; coming soon to Android and iOS

MobiWeave

If you're using Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services and unwilling to wait for the full mobile Pivot View to be released on iOS devices, the free Mobi Office app provides viewing capabilities for existing SharePoint reports and charts, as well as Microsoft Business Intelligence Dashboard data available through SharePoint. Mobi Reports Pro, available for $39.99, offers additional functionality, including the capability to download and view Reporting Services reports from multiple reporting servers and bookmark and history features for quicker navigation.

Platform: iOS

Yellowfin

With personalised dashboards, Yellowfin provides mobile BI tools that are easy to customise. This platform, based on the Yellowfin client-based business intelligence app, lets anyone create custom reports and dashboards that can be published and accessed from any platform or device. In addition, Yellowfin has incorporated enterprise collaboration capabilities within the mobile app, which lets you collaborate and discuss issues relating to specific charts and associate a conversation with specific reports or data points. Finally, while some mobile BI apps require always-on connectivity, Yellowfin provides both online and offline work modes, the latter of which is helpful if you need to see reports and data while on the go. A trial version of the product is available from the Yellowfin website.

Platform: Android, iOS

Jaspersoft

A popular open-source mobile BI platform, Jaspersoft extends its BI functionality by supporting both a native application for the iPhone and browser-based architecture for the iPad. This lets organisations decide with option would best suit its needs. Features for end users include an ad hoc design environment that allows for on-the-fly creation of new reports or dashboards. A mobile SDK is available for developers, and IT departments can use server-side authentication for security management.

Platform: iOS

IBM Cognos Mobile

For organisations already using IBM's Cognos platform, Cognos Mobile provides the capability to view BI content from many types of mobile devices, to create multiple dashboards and to push those reports to devices. (This app does require IBM Cognos Business Intelligence content in the backend and Cognos Mobile Server.) Cognos Mobile provides drill up, drill down and drill through capabilities; moreover, this data interaction is available online as well as offline This app supports all the intuitive iOS touch gestures. The native iPad version of Cognos Mobile also provides impressive data visualisation capabilities. Contact IBM for pricing.

Platform: BlackBerry and iOS native and web clients; Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile web access

Cyfe

Cyfe provides analytics tools for small businesses. With its cloud-based service and mobile app, Cyfe provides small business owners with all-in-one business dashboards for a monthly subscription fee. Dashboards are easy to set up and include ready-to-use widgets that connect to social media, marketing, monitoring and sales data sources such as Salesforce, Google Analytics, Constant Contact, Twitter, Gmail, Amazon Web Services and FeedBurner. Cyfe also connects to internal databases and lets you combine internal and external data to create dashboards. There are currently five pricing models, ranging from a free version to a Pro version at $49 per month to a customised White Label offering (contact Cyfe for details).

Platform: Android, iOS

SAP BusinessObjects Mobile

If you use BusinessObjects (SAP OE BI platform), SAP BusinessObjects Mobile provides robust analytics and interactive charts for the mobile workforce. Since this app uses the existing SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise, it provides a strong level of security and flexibility. Using SAP StreamWork, you can discuss different reports with fellow employees; such collaboration capabilities make BusinessObjects Mobile a useful enterprise tool. The app is free to existing BusinessObjects users.

Platforms: Android, BlackBerry iOS, Symbian, Widows Mobile

  • Roambi
  • MicroStrategy
  • PushBI
  • Power View Mobile
  • MobiWeave
  • Yellowfin
  • Jaspersoft
  • IBM Cognos Mobile
  • Cyfe
  • SAP BusinessObjects Mobile
  • Play
  • Play
  • Backward
  • Forward

Mobile business intelligence (BI) has quickly emerged as an easy way to provide real-time sales, revenue and customer data in dashboards small enough to fit on an employee's tablet or smartphone screen. With this information, employees can make more informed decisions on the fly, which will ultimately help a company improve the bottom line as well as productivity. These 10 mobile BI applications will keep employees connected to Cognos, BusinessObjects, Salesforce, Microsoft Reporting Services and other business intelligence suites.

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