I first published this post on Technorati as Mobile BI to Replace Reports Push Model
BI Content is typically distributed in either a push model or a pull model. In a traditional pull model, content is generated on the BI server, and users are directed to some portal, where they have access to the content. They login (or SSO) into a website where they typically navigate to the location of a certain report they have access to.
This model got a lot of push back from managers and executives who are many times not very technologically savvy (this is something we’ll see gone over the next decade, as a new generation of executives who grew up with computers take on the economy), or don’t have the time to login to the internal portal to view reports. These executives like BI content to be pushed to them, typically via email. “I want you to email me the report automatically every day at 7:00AM, and I’ll look at it when I check email”.
The push model created a significant headache for the BI vendors who now had to integrate into their BI software packages scheduling, bursting and mass emailing capabilities, that are not really part of their core competency. For a while, the competition between the large BI vendors had a lot to do with this capability. Can OBIEE iBots accomplish the same level of bursting that SAP BusinessObjects Publisher can? Can interactive BI applications and dashboard created in the framework be packaged somehow into static emails?
Well, as the evolution of business continues to accelerate around mobility, the push model is evolving as well. Executives who had only email as a tool to consume information in a compact, rapid and mobile manner now have a lot more choices. Cell phone applications, tablets, net books and other technological gizmos now allow executives to stay connected with essential applications in a very streamlined and simple manner. Email is no longer the only option to receive information from the office. In fact, compared to the new BI applications that are rapidly becoming available on cell phone platforms, email seems, well, a bit arcane and cumbersome.
Certainly the investment already made by the BI vendors in their distribution technology will not be retracted, and these capabilities will continue to play an important role in operational BI applications and use cases. However, I expect we will see mobile BI applications address many of the uses business previously saw for report bursting and publishing technologies.