Business intelligence (BI) is more useful to companies when it can be customized without a major effort by the IT department. On Monday, Oracle released a self-service Mobile App Designer so that users can create their own analytical apps for mobile devices.
The drag-and-drop interface is browser-based and can be used to combine data, text, images, visual graphs, and tables from a variety of sources to create apps designed for a particular business need. In an announcement accompanying the release, Oracle said that "creating professional mobile analytical applications is as easy as working with common office productivity tools."
Paul Rodwick, Oracle's vice president of product management, noted in a statement that such purpose-built mobile analytical apps "greatly expand the opportunities for companies to deploy analytics broadly to everyone, everywhere."
A web-based mobile simulator allows users to instantly preview their mobile apps, or they can scan QR codes to run the apps on their mobile devices. Apps can be shared through an App Library, available to users via subscription.
The apps support touch-and-swipe gestures, and uses include analyzing sales pipelines and forecasts, presenting customer profile briefings, or tracking inventory. The apps utilize HTML 5, so they can run without modification on iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile smartphones and tablets.
The BI Mobile App Designer is part of the Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite, or is available via the Oracle BI Mobile option to the BI Enterprise Edition. The app is designed to leverage metrics, calculations, and analysis where data has been centralized, or users can feed their own data.
The app employs the same security model as Oracle BI, and the company said that when used with Exalytics In-Memory Machine, deployments can be scaled to tens of thousands of users.
As the center of computing has moved to mobile, the value of mobile business intelligence has grown. A report released in July by business intelligence provider Jaspersoft, for instance, found that while 85 percent of respondents felt there were advantages to accessing BI tools on mobile devices, only 8 percent were doing so.
The Jaspersoft survey, conducted in May, queried 500 members of the company's community. Slightly more than a quarter of respondents said that they were embedding BI into mobile applications themselves.
Additionally, a recent report from industry research firm Gartner predicted that over half of mobile BI users will rely exclusively on mobile devices for the delivery of business insight by 2015.
Self-service business intelligence access is popping up all over. Microsoft, for instance, recently announced its Power BI for Office 365, which provides self-service BI delivered via the cloud, through Excel and Office 365. This offers a more extensive self-service BI from Microsoft than was previously available for non-data analysts.
SAP recently launched the cloud-based, self-service BI solution SAP Lumira Cloud, which is targeted at small or medium-size organizations or departments.