Couple of weeks ago I presented a topic, “Going Mobile with Web Intelligence”, as a part of our Let’s Speak BO webinar series. During the session we asked the attendees whether they are using Web Intelligence on the Mobile BI app. There were about 60 attendees and only 10% of the attendees were currently using WebI on mobile while 50% of them did not have any plans to use Mobile BI and 40% of them had plans to use WebI on Mobile within the next 12 months. Although web Intelligence on Mobile BI is less popular, I strongly believe that mobile BI app support for Web Intelligence, which has come a long way since it’s inception, is better than any other BI tool rendering on the Mobile BI app. It is also an easier solution for any organization to start with Mobile BI. In this blog I have outlined 5 major topics discussed during my presentation.
- Difference in Visuals - The look and feel for native charts and report parts of Web Intelligence is completely different from what is seen on the BI Launch Pad. I see that as a cool feature since the navigation on an iPad is completely different from the navigation on the BI Launch Pad. Business users can’t use a mouse here and there’s no right click on an iPad. With very minimal effort we can have a visually appealing dashboard just by displaying data on native Web Intelligence charts. In the example below, I have illustrated how an iPad renders a webI report with 8 different charts into 4 charts on 2 pages that can be swiped. Another big advantage we get with the Mobile app is the Card layout structure (placing a report in the Mobile Category), where the reports are automatically adjusted to the screen size.
- Intuitive Chart Codes – With the usage of chart codes and conditional formatting, we can transform a normal/boring tabular form of data into a cool score card. These score card options are not a part of native BI Launch Pad, but by using the Format Table options, we can create visual score cards that can be used by analysts to quickly diagnose positive or negative performances
- Working Offline - In order to view the reports offline, the BI server needs to be enabled with a “true” value for Offline Storage. To enable offline storage, navigate to BI Server - Central Management Console -> Applications -> SAP BusinessObjectsMobile -> Properties -> Client Settings
For a report to work offline, the report will need to be downloaded to the device while there’s an active internet connection
Only a few features are supported in the offline version. Before you decide on offline viewing, analyze the report features which are supported offline and then design the report accordingly.
What’s Supported in Offline Mode? - Sections, Chart & report navigations
What’s Not supported in Offline Mode ? - Drill down, Filters, Input Controls, Parameters, Element Linking and Open Doc
- Delivering Mobile BI Connection to Users - A large number of organizations adopt remote work strategies and it is extremely difficult and time consuming for the BI admin to set up a connection individually on every user’s iPad. To set up a connection you need the information such as Tomcat URL and CMS Name. Not every user might be aware of this information. The easiest solution is to create a hyperlink with the server information and email the link to users. When the link below is configured with server & CMS names and opened from an email on the ipad, the app opens up with the BI details and the users need to fill in only their BI credentials
There are sophisticated Mobile Device Management tools from SAP and a lot of other vendors such as Airwatch, MobileIron and Mass360 who do a much better job of pushing updates, controlling, and remotely managing a user’s device. Organizations have to come up with a solid strategy for managing Mobile Devices and to answer questions such as “What if a user’s device is lost?”, “How can the device be wiped remotely?” et al
- Skillsets required for implementing Mobile BI - In terms of the report development skills, the report writers need to get familiar with certain chart codes and organizing the reports under categories. The display of various report elements is a trial and error exercise because there is no mobile preview option within Web Intelligence. The BO Admins have to get familiar with Mobile Server settings and Client Settings. To access the BI Server from an outside network, the network and BO admins have to work together in troubleshooting Mobile BI connections as well as building a strategy for BYOD (Bring Your Own Devices).
Mobile BI with Web Intelligence is an evolving topic and everything that I have discussed in this blog might take a different turn with the next release of BI 4.2 which is SP04. I am eagerly waiting for SP04’s FIORI based navigation with HTML5 based Web Intelligence reports. Once it is on GA, I will work on a webinar specific to Web Intelligence SP04. Feel free to comment, email or Tweet your questions, feedback and suggestions to me. For more exciting webinar content, register yourself at speakbo.com if you aren't already!