Mobilizing Business Intelligence – challenges and parameters

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Everybody talks about BI (Business Intelligence) and its virtues since a few years; everybody wants BI seeing in it a miracle remedy to its enterprise or Sales Force performance or thinking it could be the new growth vector they’re looking for. And probably with good reason but it can’t be done with a blink of an eye, there has to be a sound analysis done before mobilizing Business Intelligence!

Challenges of Business Intelligence

First, let’s define objectives, which is not always evident considering that although Business Intelligence may be used by many business units it could also be useful while not critical to these same business units operations; in short, define clear objectives if you want to be able to measure the impact and eventually, the ROI.

Enhancing Mobile Workforce productivity

Probably the most evident objective but even then…

  • Pushing sales representatives out of the office and increasing the number of clients’ meetings
  • Enhancing the decision-making process of sales representatives in terms of business offering at Point of Contact
  • Better servicing Clients by providing the right information, anytime, anywhere
  • Saving time by eliminating trips looking for information

Creating a differentiating / competitive advantage

  • Will strategic information at the Point of Contact with Clients give you a competitive advantage enabling you to better service your Clients than competitors?
  • Will strategic information at the Point of Contact with Clients generate a higher closing rate than competitors?

A 2nd major challenge consists in selecting the critical information to mobilize, considering the business units it’ll be used by?  Generally speaking; the information presented to either the representative or the client should help/enhance the decision-making process.

  • For the business development (ex: availability or not of a product; ex: rates/fees chart for a  specific class of clients)
  • For Clientele Satisfaction (ex : recent notes taken from the client relationship)
  • For Productivity (ex : clients’ activities / sales ratio, sales volume, etc.)
  • Competitive advantages? (ex : added-value products or services outplaying competitors)

A 3rd major challenge consists in ensuring security of the mobilized information

The challenge consists in enabling access to critical data from outside the office but without using a VPN link and without compromising data and systems security.

In the case of a financial institution, for example, the cost for this functionality is certainly non-negligible.  At the opposite, if the information mobilized concerns mainly a standard consumer product inventory, efforts to secure data shall be minimal.

Finally, the decision-maker shall keep in mind that for most of IT environments, security was implemented as far as the walls of the premises; making a whole in the walls of any enterprise could make for more than a challenge for most IT departments.


We shall just oversee the most evident variables you should take into account in the development of your Business Intelligence application (mobile / web mobile).

The nature of information / data manipulated

  • Enterprise data (ex.: real-time inventory, clients’ strategic data (notes, YTD Sales, Capex, % repeat business, etc.)
  • Non-structured data (ex.: any information being part of the business management communication flux not identified in a specific way in a specific application such as emails, telephone conversations, etc.)
  • Multimedia content (ex.: any audio, video or infographic content such as a critical software training video, Evernote notes, etc.)

The vector or final destination

  • Impact and restrictions of IT technology environment (back office)
  • Smartphones (Mobile Web mode or native)
  • Tablets (Mobile Web mode or native)
  • BYOD (Bring your Own Device)
  • Cloud

Mobile Communication method

  • Data transfer / bandwidth capacity (what are your real needs?, how many heavy users and occasional users?)
  • Will your Mobile Workforce work in an area or environment where the internet/mobile connections get frequently cut?

Security… again and again!

  • Data Reading Authorization only
  • Data Reading & Writing in systems Authorization


Much ado about…

What’s surprising with the wave of the day in technology is that it’s such a buzz that although everybody agrees on the advantages of the concept or technology; we very often forget the original benefit praised, likewise with Business Intelligence.

Apart from meeting your objectives and profit from it, have you implemented metrics to really « measure » the impact of the mobilized Business Intelligence; in short, what’s the true ROI of your investment in mobilizing Business Intelligence for your enterprise?

Here’s a few metrics to consider:

  • Which data are really useful; the most read, the most profitable?
  • What are the real benefits, the real impact?
    • More Sales
    • Shorter Sales Cycle
    • More Marketing Activities
    • More Client Activities
    • Less Contract errors
    • Overall enhanced Clientele Satisfaction


In short, in technology more than anywhere else, it’s important to measure the impact of your investments.


Safe journey,


Denis Paul & Michel

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