Mobile business intelligence is the ability to analyze, query, and visualize data about your business on your mobile device - iOS, Android, or the mobile web.
As people increasingly get work done on their phone (76% of Slack’s weekly users use Slack on mobile), choosing a business intelligence tool that allows you to ask questions on mobile is key to empowering colleagues across your organization to use data to make decisions - wherever they are, be it in a factory, field or on the go.
Most existing business intelligence tools do not allow users to query from mobile - and instead only allow viewing existing dashboards created on a computer. This approach is fundamentally limiting because it increases the time between a question and the somebody needing to be at a computer create a dashboard or write a query that answers it.
Challenges Unique to Mobile Business Intelligence
Building a mobile querying interface has a number of unique challenges which have not been handled well by traditional desktop-based business intelligence tools.
- Handling large result sets
Returning the a full result set (potentially billions of rows!) wouldn’t work on a mobile device - due to the sheer data transfer volume and the appropriate.
- Long running queries
If you’re sitting at a computer, a query can take hours and you can easily multitask. But Apple’s iOS (and in some instances, Android as well) will kill background processes - meaning the client cannot maintain a persistent database connection reliably. This is why the mobile experiences for existing desktop-focused or web-focused tools (even if they have mobile apps) tends to result in poor performance
- Querying interfaces
On a desktop, there is lots of space to display all fields, aggregation types, partial results, and metadata. But with a much more confined screen, the querying and visualization surface needs to be re-thought. For example, drop-downs and typing SQL which maybe work fine on desktop are more error prone with small mobile keyboards. Much like a photo-editing or video-editing app on mobile requires different interactions on mobile than desktop to ‘make sense’ for that platform, so too do tools for business intelligence.
- Push Notifications and Location
Legacy users of BI tools would schedule emails often to send out a daily update or PDF. But with real-time data (Zing can run checks for changes up to every minute), up-to-the minute push notifications are faster and more interactive because a user can be notified in near-real-time of changes and then drill down into causes. Similarly a phone’s unique hardware (such as GPS for location, NFC for lookups of records) opens up new mobile-specific use cases.
When more people at an organization are querying data to answer a broader set of questions, discovering questions asked by others at your organization really valuable - it lets you avoid ‘reinventing the wheel’ and gives you a hint of the data sources and fields that might be useful in answering an adjacent question. Key to this are shared questions, shared dashboards, the ability to build on others’ work from anywhere (mobile or web), and @mentions with notification infrastructure to pull in relevant people from across the organization to take action on impactful data findings.
How we went about solving these
Zing Data’s mobile-first focus means that we solved for all of the challenges outlined above to deliver the best way to query, visualize, set up alerts, and collaborate on mobile.
For instance, limiting a time range is a simple pinch-to-zoom. Setting push notifications for when a series hits value you specify or changes by some amount is three taps. This simplicity comes from building interactions which are native to mobile interfaces (tap, drag, long-tap, pinch-to-zoom, etc.) and a powerful query optimization engine that ensures the query run is optimized for mobile display and speed.
Check out how easy we’ve made it to set up a data source, query it, visualize results, export it to CSV or PNG, tag colleagues for action, create a public link for broader sharing, and set up proactive alerts.
Get started free at console.getzingdata.com