Mobile BI solution: functionality, top 3 tools, benefits, and best practices

Mobile BI solution: functionality, top 3 tools, benefits, and best practices

August 3, 2023

Mobile business intelligence market stats

$61.15 bn

is the projected mobile BI market size in 2030

Market Research Future

The US & China

are the two largest mobile BI markets

Research and Markets

Scheme title: Mobile Business Intelligence Market Size

Data source: Mordor Intelligence

Study period

2018 – 2028

Fastest growing market

Asia Pacific

Largest market

North America

Major players

Common features of mobile BI solutions

Data delivery

  • Scheduled (time-based, event-based, etc.) data delivery for different types of users via mobile-optimized reports and dashboards, alerts, notifications, and emails
  • Instant personalized notifications and alerts on important changes to key performance indicators, anomalies, or goal achievement
  • Interaction with reports and dashboards via intuitive gestures (drilling down and up, sorting, filtering, zooming in and out, data hiding)
  • Self-service report creation with drag-and-drop functionality, filters, or NLP
  • Rich data visualization capabilities, including charts, pivot tables, KPI widgets, summary/tabular views, and dashboards
  • Storytelling capabilities
  • Content search


  • Report distribution to groups or individual users on a schedule or based on business-defined rules
  • Messages and comments customization according to the recipient’s user role
  • Content (tiles, reports, or visuals) commenting, annotation, and sharing
  • Interaction with data through discussions, commenting, or clapping
  • Automated notifications about new posts, questions, comments, or replies via push notifications or emails
  • BI content embedding (portals, intranets, blogs, web applications, and websites)

Native device functionality

  • Access to BI content from different devices
  • Offline mode (proactive automated caching and offline editing)
  • Uploading files from a mobile device, including audio, videos, QR-codes, or barcodes
  • Mobile touch control
  • Real-time push notifications and alerts to the home screen about a particular analytics pattern or trend
  • GPS integration


  • Data analysis from different points of view with drill-down, drill-through, and slice-and-dice capabilities
  • Predictive modeling for foreseeing business scenarios and patterns
  • What-if analysis for simulating complex scenarios and finding optimal business outcomes
  • Geospatial analytics
  • Augmented analytics
  • Real-time data analytics

Data preparation and management

  • Pre-built data source connectors to heterogeneous sources, including databases, business applications, flat files, Excel files, feeds, and web URLs
  • Universal APIs for building custom integrations to get data from any cloud or on-premises system
  • Data transformation and quality management (validation, cleansing, deduplication, enrichment) enabled by ETL/ELT processes

Data storage

  • Storing business data in a relational, columnar, and multi-dimensional format
  • Consolidating company-wide data in an enterprise data warehouse
  • Housing business line-specific data in data marts for particular user groups
  • Pre-built integrations with a data lake
  • Accompanying analytics data stores with an operational data store for operational and high-volume business data analysis and reporting
  • Housing metadata in data catalogs, business glossaries, dictionaries, etc.

Data governance and security

  • Multi-factor authentication (user passwords, device ID, biometrics)
  • Data encryption in transit and at rest
  • Ability to prohibit particular data from downloading
  • Fine-grained access control with specific options (read-only, read-write, report authoring, drill-down, or export)
  • Data encryption and data masking
  • Sensitive data labeling
  • User activity and access log

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Mobile BI access methods

Here are three common ways for end-users to access business intelligence capabilities via portable devices:

Web-based mobile BI applications

BI applications accessible via a web browser. Users don’t have to download and install web-based mobile BI software and only need an internet connection and a browser to access it. These solutions are also device-agnostic and can be accessed via any device regardless of hardware and software specifics.
Easier and quicker to build and maintain A single app for all platforms Cheaper than native and hybrid mobile BI apps
Needs a browser and internet connection Cannot access mobile device features Inconsistent user experience due to dependency on browsers  Slower than native apps

Native mobile BI applications

Applications developed for a particular device and operating system that require installation on a user’s smartphone or tablet. Native applications can work offline and deliver superior customer experience due to supporting hardware-specific functionality (touch gestures, geolocation, camera, microphone, etc.).
Fast and interactive Tailored to a specific platform Distributed through app stores Interacts with the device’s utilities
Requires heavy financial investment Expensive to build Maintenance is the responsibility of a user

Hybrid mobile BI applications

HTML5 browser-based applications offering some native app functionalities, such as push notifications, offline work with automatically pre-cached content, zooming and double-tap features, calendars, notifications,  and more.
Easier, faster, and cheaper to build compared to native apps User experience on  par with native apps  A single app for all platforms Access to the device’s utilities
Slower and less interactive compared to native apps More expensive than web-based apps

Best BI tools with mobile capabilities on the market

Scheme title: 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms
Data source: Gartner, 2022

Completeness of visionAbility to executeChallengersGoogleDomoNiche playersMicroStrategyPyramid AnalyticsIncortaZohoAmazon Web ServicesAlibaba CloudLeadersQlikMicrosoftSalesforce (Tableau)VisionariesSAPOracleSisenseThoughtSpotTIBCO SoftwareSASYellowfinTelliusIBM

Mobile-specific functionality

Native mobile apps for Windows, iOS, and Android

Authoring reports for mobile users with Power BI Desktop and the Power BI service

Annotating and sharing snapshots of tiles, reports, or visuals with colleagues and customers from the app

Sharing links from the app to view reports and dashboards (Power BI Pro and Premium Per User license)

Push notifications about personal data alerts, new shared dashboards, changes to group workspace, Power BI events and meetings

Location-based report filtering 

Barcode and QR-code scanning for Power BI data and reports

Data access in the offline mode and background data refresh 

Mobile formatting options for visuals in a mobile-optimized layout

Natural language querying

Data security with Microsoft Intune


Power BI Desktop

Power BI Pro
$9.99 per user/month 

Power BI Premium
$20 per user/month or $4,995 per capacity/month with an annual subscription and an unlimited number of users 

Power BI Embedded
from $1.0081/hour 

Free 2-month trial


Example of Power BI Mobile app UI
Data source: — About mobile-optimized Power BI reports

Mobile-specific functionality

Available for Android and iOS as an add-on for Tableau Cloud and Tableau Server 

Automatic creation of dashboard layouts optimized for mobile devices

Interactive previews caching for offline access and work

Content filtering based on the viewer’s credentials 

Automated notifications about shared content, comment mentions, and status updates for the owned content

Notifications via emails, in-app notifications center, or Tableau for Slack app

Personalized content recommendations based on viewing habits

Search capabilities (results sorted by projects, workbooks, views, and business metrics)

Vast sharing options, including sending links via third-party apps

Support for a variety of authentication methods, including SAML, OpenID Connect, Mutual SSL, VPN or reverse Proxy, MDM with AppConfig, and MAM

Content access permission configurations using Tableau Cloud or Tableau Server in a desktop browser


Tableau Creator

Tableau Explorer
$35/user/month (fully hosted by Tableau)

Tableau Explorer
$42/user/month (on-premises or public cloud)

Tableau Viewer
$12/user/month (fully hosted by Tableau)

Tableau Viewer
$15/user/month (on-premises or public cloud)

Free 14-day trial


Example of Tableau mobile app UI
Data source: — Explore Content on Tableau Mobile

Mobile-specific functionality

Available through a web-based client in mobile browsers and the fully native, optimized Qlik Sense Mobile app

Intelligent layout adjustment, including charts resizing, data detail rescaling, and optimizing visualizations

Alerts through push notifications on any data change

Content sharing via email, WhatsApp, file storage, social media, and others 

Interactive online and offline exploration

Natural language search


Qlik Sense Business

Qlik Sense Enterprise SaaS
custom pricing is available upon direct request

Free 30-day trial


Example of Qlik mobile app UI
Data source: — Mobile Analytics | Qlik Sense®

Mobile BI benefits

The highest value of business intelligence is the support of data-driven decisions. Mobile BI capabilities, in turn, can bring the same benefits and beyond, such as:  

Improved efficiency of work

Mobile BI users can instantly access specific information to make timely decisions and accomplish their daily tasks on time even if they are away from their computers.

Enhanced user experience

Mobile devices are easy to carry around and do not limit users to a particular location, which makes mobile BI a very user-friendly option. Native device functionality also enables a truly interactive user experience.

Improved collaboration

Mobile BI features encourage end-users to collaborate and brainstorm new ideas, such as new content, instant notifications and alerts, comments and reactions, secure content sharing, in-app discussions, and user activity tracking.

Increased data democratization

Mobile BI allows more employees to access data and analytics capabilities to handle information properly and maximize its value. In the long run, increased BI adoption rates accelerate digital transformation and help the company stay competitive.

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Mobile BI challenges

Mobile devices can be lost or stolen, exposing sensitive business data.

Data security risks

When a device is stolen or lost, the IT department should be able to block the owner's access to all corporate accounts and sensitive data. Companies adopting mobile BI also need to redefine all existing data security practices and policies. Some other features that could help safeguard data are:

  • Screen capture blocking
  • Clipboard access control
  • Configurable data caching
  • Detection of jailbroken devices
If a mobile app’s interface isn’t intuitive and easy to use, negative user experience can lead to employee resistance and sabotage.

Poor user interface design

It’s crucial for mobile BI providers to keep user experience consistent, because modern users are accustomed to the polished interfaces of consumer mobile apps and expect the same experience in a mobile BI solution. The following recommendation can help deliver the expected user experience:

  • Make user interface self-explanatory (e.g. an app can provide explanations and hints to help users with a certain task)
  • Employ functionality common in native apps and familiar to most users, like swiping, pinching, or double-tapping
  • Enable users to collaborate with colleagues and customers via email, internal platforms, or social media
  • Monitor use adoption, including the most and least used features and user behavior patterns
Lacking value for target users, mobile BI can eventually become just a tool for reconfiguring desktop reports and dashboards for handheld devices.

Failing to cater to unique user needs

Start with examining the needs of workers predominantly using mobile devices and PCs and creating the functionality most needed by each user group. For example, your employees can prefer to input text with a physical keyboard, run complex analysis on big screens, and switch between windows with a mouse, but use their mobile devices to upload video and audio files. This analysis will lay the groundwork for your mobile BI strategy and change management planning.

Decision-making from anywhere with mobile BI

Mobile business intelligence is among the most prospective trends in data analytics. With mobile computing so mature and affordable, mobile BI will evolve at an even more accelerated pace. With proper preparation and an experienced BI partner like Itransition, you can build a truly-effective mobile business intelligence solution. 

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