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Ventana Research has newly published its Mobile Analytics and Business Intelligence 2016 Value Index. The Value Index provides a comprehensive evaluation of vendors and their product offerings across seven categories. In performing that analysis, I realized that this software category is at a crossroads. Once an optional capability often reserved for executives, mobile analytics is becoming a requirement of business users across organizations. The blurring of lines between work and personal lives has provoked a change from single device BI to BI on multiple devices including smartphones and tablets as well as laptops and desktops. From a platform standpoint, the adoption of HTML5 is contesting the prevalence of native mobile applications.

In preparing the product evaluations for this 2016 Mobile Analytics and BI Value Index, we relied on the extensive findings of several of vrmobilebivi-500our benchmark research projects: Data and Analytics in the Cloud, Big Data Analytics and Information Optimization. That body of research examines organizations’ current and planned use of business intelligence and the capabilities they require for successful deployment. In doing so it uncovered widespread use of mobile business intelligence. More than four out of five (82%) organizations in our data and analytics in the cloud research said they access analytics and BI via mobile technology. This is the case across organizations of all sizes, annual revenue, industry segments and geography. The research also shows strong support from senior management: More than two-thirds (69%) of executives said that providing mobile access is important.

We considered easy access and use to be important in this Value Index analysis because in all three research projects the largest percentage of organizations identified usability as an important evaluation criterion for mobile business intelligence applications. This finding echoes an emphasis on the importance of usability that we regularly find in our research. In the case of mobile business intelligence, it also may be reinforced by the recent transition to a second generation of BI on mobile devices that features a richer user interface and a broader set of gestures. It is clear that today’s mobile workforce wants to be able to access and analyze data simply and straightforwardly through a familiar and intuitive interface regardless of whether they are using their smartphones, tablets or personal computers.

The current environment of mobile device platforms, in which Apple, Google and Microsoft each has its own operating system and default Web browser, provides the backdrop for an ongoing three-way debate that pits native mobile BI applications against browser-based and hybrid applications. Each has pluses and minuses. Native applications interact with the underlying operating system and so can provide support for operating system-resident features such as multitouch gestures, double-tapping and pin-and-stretch. A purely Web-based application, generally using HTML5, which our information optimization research finds is the second-most widely used technology standard for information (by 54% of organizations), enables developers to deliver rich user interface experiences to mobile device screens independent of the underlying operating system. The third approach is a compromise, developing a hybrid application using tools that wrap the HTML5 code in a native application container. This approach draws advantages from both of the others since it can enable users to take advantage of native device functions such as a camera while using a single code base to support the application. The Value Index analysis found several vendors in the midst of a change between these approaches; some are embracing HTML5 and a hybrid architecture while others have made bigger investments in native applications.

This 2016 Mobile Analytics and BI Value vr_mobile_analytics_and_bi_2016_company_weighted_overallIndex report evaluates 13 vendors that offer products that address key elements of mobile analytics and business intelligence as we define it: Domo, IBM, Information Builders, Logi Analytics, Microsoft, MicroStrategy, Oracle, Qlik, Salesforce, SAP, SAS Institute, Tableau Software and Yellowfin. The chart included here presents the overall ranking of the vendors, their scores and their ratings as Hot, Warm or Cold.

We urge organizations to do a thorough job of evaluating mobile analytics and business intelligence systems and tools and dig deeper than just the overall rankings. We offer this Value Index as both the results of our in-depth analysis of these vendors and as an evaluation methodology. The Value Index can be used to evaluate existing suppliers and also provides evaluation criteria for new projects. Applying it this way can shorten the RFP cycle time and enable your organization to optimize its mobile analytics and business intelligence efforts. Click on the link to learn more and receive a complimentary copy of the 2016 Value Index for Mobile Analytics and Business Intelligence market report.

Regards,

David Menninger

SVP & Research Director

Follow Me on Twitter @dmenningerVR and Connect with me on LinkedIn.

 

Collaborative and mobile technologies continue to influence business intelligence (BI) software products. The recent release of Yellowfin 6 embraces these innovations in a visually appealing, end-user-oriented BI product. Yellowfin is an independent BI software vendor based in Australia that was recently recognized, along with its customer Macquarie University, as a Ventana Leadership Award winner for the use of location–based aspects of its technology for effective planning and student acquisition initiatives.

As I’ve written previously in “The Consumerization of Collaborative BI Has Arrived,” we have begun to see more collaborative capabilities incorporated into BI applications and process. Our firm will soon launch a benchmark research program on this topic to develop understanding of how collaborative and mobile capabilities can enhance an organization’s BI activities.

Yellowfin 6 has a well-integrated set of collaborative and mobile capabilities designed to enhance BI processes. This release incorporates an inbox and activity stream, which enable users to comment on and subscribe to relevant analyses. As consumers move from email-based to collaboration-based communications that use social networking tools, we expect to see the same shift in enterprise communications. Yellowfin incorporates these concepts in its proprietary collaboration technology; I would like to see the company support commercial tools as well, because that would broaden the dissemination of the information. Users can subscribe to analyses based on a time interval, such as every day or week, or based on values crossing a certain threshold. For example, users can have the software send a report if the average hold time in the customer support center exceeds 60 seconds.

Release 6 provides dashboard syndication so that entire dashboards can be embedded in other Web pages. For example, an intranet or wiki page can display a Yellowfin dashboard of relevant information if you copy and embed in it a code snippet, in much the same way you can embed a Google calendar in a Web page. Since Yellowfin’s architecture is entirely Web-based, users have full access to all dashboard functionality, not just to a limited subset.

The new drill-down capabilities in this release will be important to existing Yellowfin users, but these capabilities are common in other BI tools. The company has put some effort into exposing drill-down capabilities in a way that end users will understand. As the designer of a dashboard, you can decide what types of drill paths will be exposed, including a new “drill anywhere” option that lets users pick from a pop-up menu of relevant options. Other elements of the interface have been enhanced, and present a clean and userfriendly experience. In particular, I like the series selection tiles used to display and pick dimension values. They include a sparkline, a value and a trend indicator that provides a lot of useful information in a compact representation. Report previews, another nice feature in this release, show a thumbnail of each report along with its description when a user needs to select one report from a list.

This release also includes native iPad application support. You can try it for yourself here. Not all Yellowfin 6 features are supported in the version currently downloadable, but the company says it will make a new version available early next year that supports the drill-anywhere features, which will greatly aid navigation on the iPad version. Yellowfin also expects to provide a native Android version. In the meantime, the browser-based version of the product runs on mobile platforms.

Though it offers many enhanced features, Yellowfin still has some gaps in product functionality compared to other BI products. For example, Yellowfin does not support planning and whatif analysis. Nor does it support brushing, which would enable users to select a subset of data in one part of the dashboard and see the relevant selection reflected as a subset of the other portions of the dashboard.

Despite these limitations, I expect we’ll see more of Yellowfin. It has amassed 500 customers and more than 100 OEMs and resellers. If you are looking for a user-friendly tool with collaborative and mobile capabilities that I refer to as the next generation of BI software, take a look at Yellowfin.

Regards,

David Menninger – VP & Research Director

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