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Art of BI: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Christian Screen | | June 21, 2011

I asked the question to a group of Business Intelligence end-users the other day, “Would your company supply individuals within your organization Blackberry Playbooks to take advantage of the Mobile BI technology from their BI tool first or would they all get iPads?”.  Seemingly all at once a resounding negative air about the Blackberry tablet filled the room, then someone stated, “Blackberry missed the boat when it comes to tablets”.  Okay, I thought it was still a footrace but apparently this is a common sentiment and most declare iPad as the clear winner.  This post really isn’t about market share for tablet technology but rather about what appears to be an emerging concept that gleamed from that conversation.  Prior to asking that question I had originally thought that since RIM’s Blackberry device clearly controlled the market with their “blueberries” several years ago that most companies would simply continue to adopt and leverage whatever RIM put out on the table.

Okay some IT folks still need a “crack-berry” if they are on a support team for their organization.  And if you compare support with BI you are talking re-active versus proactive, yes, I know. But with Mobile BI becoming so pervasive what will the investment look like inside of these large organizations in order to consume their BI more readily.  I think a decision is getting made about low total cost of ownership, investment in physical devices, and the real need to provide something other than a laptop to each and every analyst within an organization just to see the same data they could see if they just waited 5-minutes to walk back to their cubical.

What resulted from the conversation I had with the group of BI Folks was my better understanding for the emerging initiative called Bring Your Own Device.  Today is June 21, 2011 and if you Google “Bring Your Own Device” you will find a lot of recent article results on the topic but I know that the concept isn’t new.  I recall reading a report about Google corporate allowing its employees to use any laptop and any Operating System that they wanted to.  You see the folks at Google are smarter than most pedestrian organizations and they can still efficiently support and keep secure many different systems without necessary standardizing on just one.  But they are Google so enough said.  Perusing these BYOD articles, I hit this one, http://www.informationweek.com/news/personal-tech/smart-phones/230600156, from Information Week which talks a bit about healthcare and security concerns with tablets in an organization.  I think this is relevant to business intelligence in that if you happen to misplace your smart phone or tablet that is running a BI application, your company’s analytics are exposed.  So clearly some mechanism for security needs to be in place almost at a middle tier in order to meet this security concern head on.

As it relates to Oracle BI it is clear that mobile technology is a very desired extension of the enterprise suite.  The new release of Oracle BI on the iOS (iPad / iPhone) this year was interesting enough that two top contributors in the Oracle BI space, John Minkjan and Kevin McGinley, gave presentations on the topic at Rittmanmead’s BI Forum 2011 in Atlanta this year.

As it relates to tool agnostic Business Intelligence there is clearly a lot more to BYOD that I have rambled about here.  But I think this is a topic worth exploring in more detail as the tablet market is now providing a new degree of difficulty and opportunity for those who are seated in Information Technology; both the makers and the shakers.  I’m just trying to get in from the Business Intelligence and Enterprise Performance Management angle to figure out where I can get off the sidelines and into the game.

Let me know what your thoughts are for Business Intelligence on tablets.  Are you rocking an iPad, iPad2 or an Android?

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