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Posts Tagged ‘mobile’

SAP Shifting Focus from Product Integration to Innovation

SAP is taking a new approach in the BI space by focusing on innovation as was presented at the recent SAPPHIRE NOW event in Orlando, FL. One of the most promising products, Visual Intelligence, is a desktop tool used to visually explore and manipulate date. Visual Intelligence is a compliment to their recently launched HANA platform and is in direct competition to other visual discovery tools such as Tableau and Tibco Spotfire. Here is a brief demo of Visual Intelligence in action:

We have been slowly seeing a growing trend in bigger industry players willing to take the risk and innovate. Even IBM has joined also joined the in-memory analytics fight with IBM Cognos Insight.

However, this is all part of a larger shift in focus for SAP. To structure this new focus, they have devised a 5-Point BI improvement plan described in a recent Information Week article:

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Gartner and IDC Predict Big Data Trends for 2012

In addition to increases in cloud computing and consumerization of IT, Gartner’s analysts predict that in 2012, we’ll see noticeable increases in big data.

Among other specific predictions, according to FierceCIO:

  • Gartner’s analysts fear that the ever-expanding volume of information available to organizations, coupled with IT’s diminishing control, will make it harder to ensure the consistency and effectiveness of data.

IDC predicts:

  • Worldwide IT spending will grow 6.9% year over year to $1.8 trillion in 2012. As much as 20% of this total spending will be driven by the technologies that are reshaping the IT industry – smartphones, media tablets, mobile networks, social networking, and big data analytics.
  • Big Data will earn its place as the next “must have” competency in 2012 as the volume of digital content grows to 2.7 zettabytes (ZB), up 48% from 2011.
  • Over 90% of this information will be unstructured (e.g., images, videos, MP3 files, and files based on social media and Web-enabled workloads) – full of rich information, but challenging to understand and analyze.
  • As businesses seek to squeeze high-value insights from this data, IDC expects to see offerings that more closely integrate data and analytics technologies, such as in-memory databases and BI tools, move into the mainstream.
  • And, like the cloud services market, 2012 is likely to be a busy year for Big Data-driven mergers and acquisitions as large IT vendors seek to acquire additional functionality.

Where is your big data focus going to be in 2012?

Starbucks goes mobile with business intelligence

Business intelligence is a pretty strong buzz word right now, and for good reason. So many companies are jumping on the bandwagon, investing funds into BI because it can provide unique business insights that drive efficiencies, speedier decision-making, and mobility, among other benefits.

This is particularly true for the retail sector, where operations such as inventory management, staffing, order management, scheduling, and supply chain management are all more accurate, more timely and easier to accomplish with robust business intelligence tools.

But one recent news article I read about Starbucks investing heavily in BI gave me a double take. Everything about Starbucks use of BI made sense to me:

There are plenty of BI tools that help retailers track things like inventory, sales and staff schedules, but the technology Starbucks is testing from MicroStrategy also lets managers take actions–such as ordering supplies–in the same application

Except that I was shocked – and quite impressed – to read that they have encourage such a broad percentage of their work force to utilize the BI tools.

Starbucks has been using MicroStrategy technology since 2005, and approximately 40,000 of its employees access the BI tools.

Why? Because the company wants all of its store managers to be able to interact directly with supply chain and HR systems on mobile devices.

Read more about how they’re defining the mobile and tablet-based environment to support exception-based reporting and richer analytics:  Starbucks BI Test: Can Managers Beat Heatwave?


Will Mobile Business Intelligence Replace Full-Client Systems?

Everyone agrees that taking business intelligence mobile adds flexibility and versatility to access to information. On the road or out in the field, access to data and analytics is increasingly mobile, and for good reason. Access to business data on the fly is making us more efficient and helping us make decisions faster and more frequently than ever.

A great article by SAP’s Timo Elliott appears to predict that the mobile device may someday replace full-client systems. One of the technology advancements that has enabled this to happen is the growth of our mobile devices into having larger interfaces and in many cases, the more convenient and versatile multi-touch screen. How often do we all do this: “I find myself reaching for my iPad to access data, rather than my laptop, even when it’s right in front of me,” says Elliot.

Perhaps we should stop thinking about our devices as “mobile” or “not-mobile” as eventually most of our machines will be mobile-enabled? Just think about how many businesses have replaced desktop PCs with laptops, even for the thousands of workers who do not travel or work from home. That was the first step. And now there’s so much more.

Elliott makes several cases for the eventual replacement of the full-client system:

  • “it’s simply more intuitive and easy to access  information using your fingertips than it is a mouse.”
  • “tablets are becoming more powerful, and supporting “traditional” operating systems like Windows”
  • “laptops are starting to come installed with multi-touch touchpads, GPS and 3G connections.”

While Elliot sees this as an inevitable evolution, I also agree with him that there are several challenges in the way that may delay the process, one of them being the plethora of new platforms (Android, Windows, iOS, etc.) that must be accommodated, requiring extra work for vendors and slower adoption by the enterprise.

You can follow Timo on Twitter at @timoelliott and Perficient at @Perficient.