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[Guest post by Dave Sherman]

All workers, no matter what role they play in an organization are now expecting to be able to get access to corporate systems from their smartphones to make decisions and to help them do their jobs better.  It has indeed gone from being a nice to have to the more urgent level of “gimme!” and “must have, now!”  Gone are the days when checking critical systems in all types of discrete or process manufacturing systems, data operations and financial systems meant getting out of bed at night when there was a problem and going to the office or plant to check in. The expectations have changed because the number of smartphones and all other web-capable devices (e.g. iPad, tablet PCs, iPod Touch, flat screen TVs, etc.) has grown so large that almost every decision maker has access to one. Whether it is a personal device or a corporate-issued device is irrelevant.

(I am still wondering exactly why my 12yr old wants the latest Android device with a full data plan, but that’s another subject)

So this begs the question, “Why not give workers access to their most important data to help them do their jobs?”  Well, ahead of this potentially contentious corporate decision to provide the access, is the research and comparison of current best practices for delivering any kind of data to a mobile device.

We thought you might like to hear what questions have come up most often from people just like you, who are looking to leverage their existing investment in data systems and find a solution to mobilizing it.

Real-Time KPIs on a BlackBerryTo date, here are the 10 most popular queries:

  • Is my data secure if I deliver it to a mobile device?  How?
  • What types of data are most beneficial to mobile users?
  • What will my operational data look like on a small device?
  • How long does it take to implement a Mobile BI project with my current data?
  • Do we have to create a new data source or can we leverage our existing ones?
  • Can I only view simple data, or can I perform lightweight analytics?
  • Do I need to run software on my devices, and which ones are supported?  Blackberry, iPhone/iPad, Android, Windows Phone, others?
  • How much coding needs to be done during implementation, and must we do it again when we need to make changes?
  • How much time and/or money will a Mobile BI system save my company?
  • What are best practices for deploying operational data to smartphones?

As always, we would like to hear from you, and over the coming weeks, we will post some answers to these questions and possibly even more questions.  Feel free to send us your own.

Until next time…

Dave Sherman