Big Data

The convergence of mobile and Big Data

Mobile BI apps are a necessary part of any Big Data strategy. Will Kelly looks at some mobile BI apps from Pentaho, SAS, and SAP.

Mobile Business Intelligence (BI) and Mobile Location Analytics are becoming two of the great equalizers in Big Data for business staff who need immediate access to Big Data for reporting and visualization. Easy to use mobile analytical tools take what were once labor intensive back office functions and let mobile workers run reports on corporate Big Data repositories to get actionable data that can be turned into business results.

If your organization is moving into Big Data, mobile analytics apps offer you the flexibility to put data visualization and reporting into the hands of your business power users, such as sales people and even your executive team, and there's no programming, script running, or system administrator pestering involved. More mobile analytics apps for the iPad and Android tablets are being launched all the time, and they're only getting easier to use. Better yet, there are demos for most of these tools readily available. Putting a business user in front of such demos can help open up user discussions at the requirements gathering stage. They can also show that Big Data accessibility for them can become a reality.

Established players and startups alike are helping foster a real convergence between mobility and Big Data. Here are some examples of what companies are offering for mobile access to Big Data.

Pentaho Mobile: How a startup handles mobile Big Data visualization

Pentaho Business Analytics is getting plenty of buzz lately and deservedly so, because their Pentaho Mobile product offers mobile users data discovery, analysis, and visualization of the iPad. The iPad native gestures power touch filtering, drill through, and drag and drip by touching. These gestures really separate mobile data reporting and visualization using Pentaho mobile or other solutions from desktop and web-based Big Data tools. Pentaho users can also create analytic reports using their iPad that access dashboards, analysis, and reports without ever having to pull out a laptop. It also includes personalization capabilities such as startup customization, which helps mobile workers become more productive.

Pentaho builds their mobile app using a standards-based and open architecture, leaving the door open for companies to embed analytics into their mobile apps. These kind of architectural moves are going to help bring more mobile Big Data apps to market and encourage the custom development of such apps inside organizations.

Additionally, Pentaho doesn't use a downloadable mobile app for mobile Big Data visualization and analytics. Instead, they use HTML 5 to offer mobile users the tools to analyze, visualize, and present data.

SAS: How an established player handles Mobile Big Data

SAS, a well-known BI and Big Data player, is also making some key mobile moves with SAS Visual Analytics. They have a SAS mobile BI app for both Android tablets and the iPad with all of the tablet gestures and capabilities that help separate mobile BI and Big Data from traditional methods on a PC.

Organizations using SAS Visual Analytics can empower their tablet users with the following free SAS mobile BI app features:

  • A full range of customizable reports, dashboards, and graphs that you can adapt to the needs of your business users on mobile devices
  • Gesture support including pinch, zoom, tap, and multi-touch, which set mobile analytics apps apart from even the most usable desktop applications
  • Offline and online access to reports
  • Access to Big Data from the SAS LASR Analytic Server, an in-memory server for processing data
Figure A shows an example of mobile reporting on the SAS Mobile BI app on an iPad. Figure A

SAS Mobile BI reporting on an iPad
Android tablet users aren't left out with SAS Visual Analytics, because reporting is available through the Android version of the SAS Mobile BI app (Figure B). Figure B

SAS Mobile BI on an Android tablet.

SAP: Mobile Big Data is part of the strategy

SAP also considers mobile a big part of their Big Data strategy and play to the convergence of the cloud and mobile devices to put actionable business information in the hands of business users. The SAP BusinessObjects Explorer mobile app enables organizations using the SAP BusinessObjects Business platform to open up Big Data analytics and visualization to their mobile users.

Mobile users can use the app to analyze key metrics for discovering data trends within your Big Data. Your organization can then make decisions on actionable customer data. The app also extends existing SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence and SAP Crystal Reports to mobile users. Naturally, it works online and offline. It also offers collaboration capabilities and a connection to SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand. Figure C shows an example of a dashboard as seen in the SAP BusinessObjects Explorer mobile app. Figure C

SAP BusinessObjects Explorer mobile app.

Intertwine your Big Data and mobile strategies

To best implement the apps I profiled in this post (and similar ones), your organization's mobile and Big Data strategies need to intertwine at an early stage. After all, these apps act as the mobile front end of your Big Data platform, and bringing these apps onboard works best as part of an overall Big Data strategy and not some afterthought.

About

Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer and analyst currently focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consumerization of IT. He has also written about cloud computing, Big Data, virtualization, project management ap...

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