Back in May, I blogged about an application from business intelligence vendor Cognos that could deliver BI data directly to BlackBerry handhelds. I cited optimistic forecasts regarding the growth of such mobile apps and said it made sense to me, given companies' increased emphasis on real-time data. What good does it do to have such data, I wondered, if decision-makers who need it aren't in the office?
A recent and opposing view comes from InfoWorld blogger Ephraim Schwartz, who questions whether "the world needs or wants BI on their cell phone." A comment by a Nucleus Research analyst that putting BI on a mobile platform will drive adoption is "overly simplistic," writes Schwartz. (Maybe so, but a Gartner analyst makes a similar comment in this story about BI trends on vnunet.com.)
Loading up mobile devices with multiple business applications will cause unwelcome issues with memory usage, user interface and other key factors, says Schwartz, suggesting that a single mobile view for all business-critical information would be a preferable solution.
Such concerns aren't stopping Cognos from moving forward. As InformationWeek reports, it recently extended its mobile application, Cognos 8 Go!, to other mobile devices, including Windows Mobile 6 smartphones and several Nokia devices. Interoperability with multiple operating systems is an important requirement for any mobile app, as I wrote in a blog about mobile CRM.
The move also may help IBM, which purchased Cognos last month, gain an advantage over Microsoft, Oracle and other big vendors trying to expand their share of the BI market. And perhaps IBM could help with the all-encompassing mobile view of which Schwartz dreams.