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Desire for Mobile BI Continues to Increase

Almost three-quarters of users count on mobile access to BI insights, according to a new survey. Supported by improved technology and users' desire for more data access, mobile BI is growing in a big way.

Almost three-quarters of users count on mobile access to BI insights, according to a new survey. Supported by improved technology and users' desire for more data access, mobile BI is growing in a big way.

Clutch, a B2B ratings and reviews firm, recently surveyed 308 data analytics software users in the United States. The majority of respondents were business users (83 percent) and the rest were data scientists (17 percent).

The survey found that 70 percent of these data analytics users agree that a mobile application is "crucial" to their use of BI software. More than 80 percent agree that adoption of mobile BI is increasing at their workplace. That's a huge jump from last year. In 2016, a Clutch survey found that a mere 41 percent of respondents used a mobile phone or tablet to access BI data.

Today's numbers reflect a growing market. In fact, according to global market research firm Research and Markets, the mobile BI market is expected to more than double in value over the next five years, reaching more than 11 billion USD by 2021.

Major Reasons for Growth

The Research and Markets report cites a number of major growth drivers for mobile BI, including the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, the rise of mobile enterprise application platforms (MEAP), and the rapid advancement of mobile device features.

According to a recent Pew Research report on technology trends, 77 percent of Americans now own smartphones. That number rises even further -- to 89 percent -- when you only look at college graduates. It makes sense that many enterprises are letting analysts use their own technology to stay connected.

It's easier than ever to give users mobile access. Big players are starting to provide mobile services -- Microsoft recently rolled out mobile apps for Power BI -- and start-ups are jumping in as well. For example, London-based start-up Open As App promises to let businesses upload data and create a mobile interface automatically.

Latency and Access Issues

Increased interest in mobile BI is also related to data accessibility. A well-implemented mobile solution could potentially increase users' access to data and reduce latency.

Forty-three percent of the Clutch survey respondents said they currently relied on another person to receive access to data, and 36 percent of respondents said that on average they wait more than a day to receive requested data. The report is optimistic about mobile solutions helping to reduce this time lag, noting that "mobility allows users to check for updates regardless of the hour or location."

Such mobility is a concrete benefit of "mobile access" that is attractive to many users. The Clutch report quotes Kathleen Douglas, executive vice president of global sales and alliances at DrivenBI: "You don't have to be sitting at your desk [to work with your data]. You can be out in the plant. You could be in the field. You could be sitting with your client."

If it increases real-time access to data for more classes of users, the popularity of mobile BI will only continue to grow.

About the Author

Lindsay Stares is a production editor at TDWI. You can contact her at lstares@tdwi.org.


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