What is Mobile Business Intelligence?
You’ve probably heard the term business intelligence, or operational intelligence, which is a term used to describe real-time data that provides businesses with greater visibility and insight into their operations. Often used by front line workers, as well as IT and Operations staff, this data is used to maximize decision-making and improve business processes.
Mobile Business Intelligence (Mobile BI) is very much the same, only the information is accessible from a mobile device. Utilizing a mobile computer gives users the flexibility to access critical data without being tied to a desk. Regardless of whether they are on the factory floor, in the warehouse, or out in the field, they can still access data and information needed to view the performance of devices (IT) and effectively perform operations (Front Line Workers).
How can Mobile BI help my business grow?
Before the popularity of mobile computers came to be, workers (particularly field positions) struggled to obtain real-time information. This proved to be troublesome, especially if they arrived on a service call and didn’t have the correct parts, or if the customer wanted to make a change to their order or had a question about their account. Anticipating customer needs helps keep customers happy and having the right information makes it much easier to achieve. Business growth results when the processes in place keep productivity high and costs low. Here are a few functions that achieve operational improvement:
- More accurate picking and packing
- Efficient route planning
- GPS tracking and important customer alerts
- Proof of delivery
- Access to inventory data
- Access to account history and information
Less time spent phoning the main office with questions, backtracking routes due to misinformation, or searching for parts and order details means there’s more time to focus on improved performance and successful field operations.
Who benefits the most from the use of Mobile BI?
From a high level, everyone in the business benefits from increased effectiveness and better decision making, including customers, due to fewer errors and increased customer service levels. At the user level, front line workers and operations personnel are able to proactively utilize data and put it into practice on a daily basis.
The benefits are clearly about greater accuracy and visibility. According to a survey conducted by Business Application Research Center with over 2,600 business intelligence users, respondents listed these top achievements:
- Faster, more accurate reporting & planning
- Better quality of data
- Improved employee satisfaction
- Improved customer satisfaction
- Improved operational efficiency
- Controlled costs / increased revenues
All these benefits work toward greater growth and more streamlined workflows. They also assist in prioritizing future business and technology requirements.
What hardware and software do I need?
The type of equipment will depend on your application, how the devices will be used and the level of complexity of your environment. There are a variety of different mobile computing devices on the market today and choosing the right one will depend on the workload and functionality needed for daily tasks. With respect to software, there are vendors on the market who may be a good fit depending on your unique needs, as well as industry-leading mobile computer manufacturers who offer lifecycle management software to effectively track, manage and the optimize the performance of your data collection mobile devices. The approach you take will depend on the strategy you develop.
Who can help me get started?
The key is to be able to turn data into insight and actions, and the best place to start is scheduling a consultation with a solution provider who is well-versed in your industry, with a strong knowledge of mobile computing and data collection applications. Ask for references, understand vendor partnerships (you’ll need the right hardware and software to execute effectively) and agree to tour other organizations to see how their business makes use of BI in their environment.
For more information about the benefits of Mobile BI and other advantages that go along with operating in a mobile environment, contact us to schedule a free consultation.