Bringing Business Intelligence to the Tablet

Michael Vizard

The thing most people like best about the Apple iPad is how it makes it simpler to consume information. Now that this usage model is fairly well understood, the next big mobile challenge will be integrating data from diverse applications for presentation on the Apple iPad and similar mobile computing devices.

One of the first companies to try to address this issue is Saama, provider of a platform for building composite applications that is most widely used to integrate data sets from diverse business intelligence applications. Saama has extended that concept with the release of Saama mBI, which in addition to other mobile computing devices, supports the Apple iPad.

According to Rajeev Dadia, vice president of business development for Saama, there's no doubt that BI applications are going to be heavily accessed by users of mobile computing devices. But as it is unlikely that IT organizations will be standardized on one set of BI applications, many IT organizations need to find a way to deliver BI data from multiple applications in real time.

Rather than come up with a cross-platform approach to delivering these applications, Saama is arguing that a middleware platform such as Saama mBI will allow IT organizations to maximize the user experience of each mobile computing platform by developing an application that runs natively on that platform and shares a common BI engine on the back end.

We're a little early in terms of most IT organizations being required to do that, given the fact that business executives are just now getting their hands on devices such as the Apple iPad. But as adoption of the Apple iPad and other tablet computing devices expands, the complexity of managing the data and applications that these devices are accessing will increase.

The challenge going forward, therefore, is finding a way to manage mobile computing access to enterprise applications at a high enough level of abstraction so as to not get caught up in tracking and updating every device and application every time an upgrade is made on either side of the equation.

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