Mobile BI is clearly on our door-steps, with many organizations starting to integrate a level of Mobile Business Intelligence into their reporting and analytics road-maps, although the uptake has not been as strong as one might expect, this is mainly because of the following reasons:
- The landscape of the Mobile BI reporting suites is still very new with only a few names out there that offer such solutions
- Integrating a level of Mobile BI into your report offering could mean an increased level of complexity in terms of data preparation.
- Due to a low number of providers, Mobile BI tends to be more expensive than what one might expect, which could increase the risks of a project revolving around such a system, causing managers to be deterred away from taking the first step, even if that steps allows for a competitive edge.
But this is all about to change, Mobile BI is becoming as easy as installing an App on your Tablet.
Ok I feel like I should note that I don’t usually write posts about specific product offering, and in no way I am affiliated with ReportPlus or have been asked to blog about their product, but I love a good BI product when I see one, and this one seriously got my juices flowing.
ReportPlus is one of those products that arrive into a market to change it forever… basically like the first IPhone that changed the entire Smartphones industry, this is a Mobile BI product that sets the bar, and now all other Mobile BI offering have to adjust their business model in order to compete effectively. ReportPlus offers a data-exploratory Mobile BI experience that can plug right into your existing infrastructure, without an intermediate data storage layer, for the cheap price of $9.99 per client. This is simply a huge leap.
So why is it so awesome?, well if you read my blog you know that I am a Microsoft technology enthusiast, and although Microsoft current do not have a Mobile BI offering (instead they recommend partner technologies such as Roambi), I have repeatedly deployed a full MSFT BI solution all the way from Warehousing to Data-Marts, Analysis Cubes and SharePoint & SSRS integration points. The technology is just easy, highly supported, and does a lot of the work “out-of-the-box”. What has been really exciting in the new 2012 suite is the self-service BI and data-exploration technology, powered by the sleak PowerView and PowerPivot projects, which removes the burden of producing reports and analysis models from IT and Power-Users, and allows End-Users to create exactly what they want in a very easy and intuitive manner. This is exactly where ReportPlus plugs-in, and during the brief period that I played with ReportPlus, the features below really did it for me.
- Fully supports Microsoft’s Data-Sources: ReportPlus plugs-in at a ridiculous number of Microsoft Data-Sources, including SQL Server Databases, SharePoint, Analysis Service, Reporting Services, Excel and even OData’s XML. This means that ReportPlus can seamlessly integrate with whichever level your End-User is comfortable with, or you are comfortable allowing your End-User access. This is very powerful, because not only this means that you do not have to do any form of data preparation in order to use ReportPlus, but if your End-User likes the data that already exists in her SSRS report, she can easily just plug that data into her ReportPlus app and slice, dice and view it in whichever way she likes.
- Allows Data-Exploratory Report Design: Similar to PowerView in a way, or Excel’s PivotTables, ReportPlus’s easy to use interface and very familiar UI makes building ad-hoc reports a doodle, and the dynamic display makes exploring the data feel very familiar to a PowerView user.
- Cheap as a bag of Chips: $9.99 per license!! that is truly mental. This effectively eliminates any risk associated with a Mobile BI project.
Ok so that is the good, what is the ugly?
- ReportPlus is Available on the IPad Only: This is a shame, particularly because am starting to dislike Apple as a company and a product, and strongly considering moving to the “lighter-side of the force” with an Android based mobile ecosystem. To be fair am sure if the product takes on, this will be ported as an Android app.
- Lack of Non-MSFT Based Data Sources: Currently the only data-sources supported by ReportPlus are Microsoft based, and although I am a die-hard fan of the Microsoft BI Stack, I would like to see ReportPlus consider some of the other major data-sources existing out-there.
And that is it, this is how ReportPlus has set the bar for me, and any other Mobile BI offering will need to try really hard to convince me why I need to spend mountains of cash, create another data layer or have a team of data analysts churning out report templates to satisfy End-User requirements.
Mobile BI Just Got Cheaper and Easier with ReportPlus rated 4 out of 5 by 1 readers