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

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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

Definition
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.
Differentiators
Easier and quicker to build and maintain A single app for all platforms Cheaper than native and hybrid mobile BI apps
Limitations
Needs a browser and internet connection Cannot access mobile device features Inconsistent user experience due to dependency on browsers  Slower than native 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

Pricing

Power BI Desktop
free

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

power_bi

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

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.