How the Apple iPad Alters Business Intelligence

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Although the Apple iPad is all the rage with consumers these days, chances are pretty high that the iPad will change the way we think about consuming data.

That's the thinking behind a relatively early gambit by Microstrategy, a provider of business intelligence software, to support the iPad. Microstrategy has previously supported the Apple iPhone, so adding iPad support is not that much of a stretch. But the iPad is a completely new animal for consuming information, said Mark LaRow, Microstrategy vice president of products.



While previous tablet offerings failed to take off because they required a stylus to really work, the iPad provides an intuitive display that makes information available to the touch. This not only eliminates the need to train users on how to use it, it also gives users the screen real estate they need to mash up data any way they want, said LaRow.

That's particularly important because rather than rely on IT departments to deliver BI reports, end users can pretty easily mock up a report in the exact format in which they want the IT department to deliver data. That cuts the deployment process down from months to days, said LaRow.

They key, said LaRow, is for software vendors to create dynamic dashboards for their applications that make it easy to drill down into data by truly leveraging the design of the iPad.

Obviously, there will be other next-generation tablets based on Google Android and Microsoft Windows platforms in the not-too-distant future. But no matter how well those products do, Apple will be remembered for changing the way we think about interacting with data.