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VRMobileBIVI_HotVendorMobility continues to be a hot adoption area in business intelligence, according to our research across analytics and line of business departments. Nearly three-quarters (71%) of organizations said their mobile workforce would be able to access BI capabilities in the next 12 months according to our next generation mobile business intelligence research. Roambi, a provider of mobile business intelligence applications, has made important strides this year after moving to deploying its products in the cloud, an event that I covered previously. Roambi is rated as one of the top providers of mobile business intelligence or what we refer to as a ‘Hot Vendor’ according to our Value Index.

Earlier this year, Roambi announced a partnership with Box, which offers cloud-based data storage and file sharing. More recently it began to catch up with the market by announcing support for the Android mobile operating system. Roambi has focused on the mobile BI market from its inception, first by building on the Apple iPhone’s small screen and then progressing to support the majority of mobile devices in corporations today.

The Box partnership, announced in March, enables joint Box and Roambi customers to visualize and interact with data stored on the Box file sharing system. Specifically, users are able to sync Roambi Analytics, the company’s visualization engine, and Roambi Flow, its storyboarding capability, with Box. The integration allows fast importation of Box source files and the ability to create and share interactive reports through Roambi Analytics and to create digital magazines and content through Roambi Flow. Data can be automatically refreshed in real time via Box Sync.

This partnership serves both companies since the coupled service provide users with expanded capabilities and little overlap. Box’s rapid growth is being driven by its ease of use, open platform and cloud approach to file sharing. Thisis a natural platform for Roambi to build on and expand its customer base. For Box, Roambi’s dynamic visualization and a collaboration capabilities address its business customers’ needs and increase its market opportunities. In our benchmark research on information optimization 83 percent of organizations said it is important to have components that provide interactive capabilities to support presentation of information.

Roambi also works with other application vendors in the CRM and ERP market to integrate their applications. The same research shows that CRM (for 45%) and ERP (38%) are important types to integrate with others especially in areas such as sales and customer service. Apple’s recent announcement of a new SDK, should facilitate process integration between software systems so that, for example, users can access and navigate applications such as those from Box and Roambi and transactional applications such as CRM and ERP in a single workflow. This capability can provide further usability advantages for Roambi, which scored the highest rating in this area in our Mobile Business Intelligence Value Index.

Roambi announced its mobile BI support for the Google Android mobile operating system that operates across a wide range of those smartphone and tablet technologies. It had delayed its development of its software on the Android platform, which required significant development resources and investment but was part of its strategy to maximize its business potential and relationship with Apple. The release are available at the Google Play store . The initial version will include four of Roambi’s most popular views: Card, Catalist, Layers and Superlist. Similar to its application for the Apple platform, security features for Android include Device Lockout, Remote Wipe and Application Passcode. Integration with Roambi’s partner Okta provides identity management services and gives access to any applications supported by Okta. Integration includes Active Directory (AD) and lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP). While Roambi Flow will not be available on Android out of the gate, the company says it will be becoming available by the end of 2014.

Current approaches to mobile business intelligence applications on the market include native, Web-based and hybrid (a combination of both). We compare these approaches in detail in the executive summary of our Mobile Business Intelligence Value Index report.With the new Android support, Roambi has a unique approach to the hybrid architecture that bypasses the browser completely. There is no data cached in a browser and in fact the data is loaded directly to the device and rendered through Roambi natively on the device.  From the user’s perspective, the benefit of this approach is performance since interactivity does not rely on data traveling over a network. A second benefit is offline access to data, which is not available via non-native approaches. From the developer’s or information assembler perspective, testing across browsers is not needed since there is no data caching and the experience is the same regardless of browser in use.

vr_Info_Optimization_16_information_software_evaluation_criteriaOur next-generation business intelligence research shows that executives strongly support mobile BI: Nearly half of them said that mobility is very important to their BI processes. Executives also favor Apple over Android devices which is likely one of the key reasons for Apple’s dominance in the current business intelligence landscape. However our research shows latent demand for Android devices in the business intelligence market and given the dominance of Android in the consumer market as well as dominance in places like Asia and other emerging markets, any company that seeks to take significant global market share will need support for both platforms. Our information optimization research fond Google Android as second in smartphone platform (24%) behind Apple iPhone (59%) as first ranked position. Therefore, Android support is an important evolution for Roambi in order to address an increasing demand in the market for Android devices.

Usability has become the most important evaluation criteria and in the information optimization benchmark research was selected as most important to over half (58%) of organizations. Roambi ranked as the highest in usability in the Ventana Research Mobile Business Intelligence Value Index, though its overall score was hampered somewhat by the lack of support for Android. With Android support, the company now addresses the need for multiple and the so called bring your own device (BYOD) to work methods now becoming more prevalent and allowed by organizations. By addressing this as well as taking advantages of broader market developments such as the new Apple SDKs, Roambi continues to address what organizations find important today. Usability of business intelligence systems is a top priority for 63% of companies. Even our big data analytics research finds a growing level of overall importance for mobile access in almost half of organizations (46%).  Any company that wants to get a user friendly business intelligence into the hands of its mobile workers quickly and effectively should have Roambi in the consideration set.

Regards,

Tony Cosentino

VP and Research Director

Ventana Research recently completed the most comprehensiveVRMobileBIVI evaluation of mobile business intelligence products and vendors available anywhere today. The evaluation includes 16 technology vendors’ offerings on smartphones and tablets and use across Apple, Google Android, Microsoft Surface and RIM BlackBerry that were assessed in seven key categories: usability, manageability, reliability, capability, adaptability, vendor validation and TCO and ROI. The result is our Value Index for Mobile Business Intelligence in 2014. The analysis shows that the top supplier is MicroStrategy, which qualifies as a Hot vendor and is followed by 10 other Hot vendors: IBM, SAP, QlikTech, Information Builders, Yellowfin, Tableau Software, Roambi, SAS, Oracle and arcplan.

Our expertise, hands on experience and the buyer research from our benchmark research on next-generation business intelligence and on information optimization informed our product evaluations in this new Value Index. The research examined business intelligence on mobile technology to determine organizations’ current and planned use and the capabilities required for successful deployment.

What we found was wide interest in mobile business intelligence and a desire to improve the use of information in 40 percent of organizations, though adoption is less pervasive than interest. Fewer than half of organizations currently access BI capabilities on mobile devices, but nearly three-quarters (71%) expect their mobile workforce to be able to access BI capabilities in the next 12 months. The research also shows strong executive support: Nearly half of executives said that mobility is very important to their BI processes.

Mobile_BI_Weighted_OverallEase of access and use are an important criteria in this Value Index because the largest percentage of organizations identified usability as an important factor in evaluations of mobile business intelligence applications. This is an emphasis that we find in most of our research, and in this case it also may reflect users’ experience with first-generation business intelligence on mobile devices; not all those applications were optimized for touch-screen interfaces and designed to support gestures. It is clear that today’s mobile workforce requires the ability to access and analyze data simply and in a straightforward manner, using an intuitive interface.

The top five companies’ products in our 2014 Mobile Business Intelligence Value Index all provide strong user experiences and functionality. MicroStrategy stood out across the board, finishing first in five categories and most notably in the areas of user experience, mobile application development and presentation of information. IBM, the second-place finisher, has made significant progress in mobile BI with six releases in the past year, adding support for Android, advanced security features and an extensible visualization library. SAP’s steady support for the mobile access to SAP BusinessObjects platform and support for access to SAP Lumira, and its integrated mobile device management software helped produce high scores in various categories and put it in third place. QlikTech’s flexible offline deployment capabilities for the iPad and its high ranking in assurance-related category of TCO and ROI secured it the fourth spot. Information Builders’ latest release of WebFOCUS renders content directly with HTML5 and its Active Technologies and Mobile Faves, the company delivers strong mobile capabilities and rounds out the top five ranked companies. Other noteworthy innovations in mobile BI include Yellowfin’s collaboration technology, Roambi’s use of storyboarding in its Flow application.

Although there is some commonality in how vendors provide mobile access to data, there are many differences among their offerings that can make one a better fit than another for an organization’s particular needs. For example, companies that want their mobile workforce to be able to engage in root-cause discovery analysis may prefer tools from Tableau and QlikTech. For large companies looking for a custom application approach, MicroStrategy or Roambi may be good choices, while others looking for streamlined collaboration on mobile devices may prefer Yellowfin. Many companies may base the decision on mobile business intelligence on which vendor they currently have installed. Customers with large implementations from IBM, SAP or Information Builders will be reassured to find that these companies have made mobility a critical focus.

To learn more about this research and to download a free executive summary, please visit http://www.ventanaresearch.com/bivalueindex/.

Regards,

Tony Cosentino

Vice President and Research Director

Roambi, a supplier of mobile analytics and visualization software, announced the release of a cloud-based version of its product, which allows the company to move beyond the on-premises approach where it is established and into the hands of more business users. Roambi Business enables users to automate data import, create models and refresh data on demand. Furthermore, the company announced a North America Partner Program along with the cloud release. This will encourage ISVs and solution partners to develop for the new product. The move to the vr_bti_br_technology_innovation_prioritiescloud is a big one for the company, giving access to a new market in which companies need to deliver business intelligence (BI) to their increasingly mobile workforces.

The challenge of mobility and operating across smartphones and tablets is coming to the forefront of the BI industry, as indicated by our business technology innovation benchmark research, in which mobile technology is ranked as the second-most important innovation (by 15%) in a virtual tie with collaboration; analytics is the only higher ranked innovation (at 39%). With tablet sales likely to surpass PC sales in just a couple of years, the trend toward mobile devices will continue to gather momentum, and vendors of BI applications will need to provide them for these platforms. One way companies and vendors alike are addressing this challenge is to move applications to the cloud.

Roambi was one of the first to embrace industry trends in data visualization and mobile BI, but until now it focused on larger corporations and intersecting to business and on-premises approaches to BI. The company has been successful with deployments in 10 of the Fortune 50 and in eight of the 10 largest pharmaceutical companies. This presence in industries such as pharmaceuticals makes sense in that many of the early uses of mobile BI has vr_ngbi_br_importance_of_bi_technology_considerationsbeen in retail and sales specifically.

Roambi first caught our attention for having a user-friendly approach to BI that helps mobile workers improve productivity by accessing various forms of information through a handheld device. In particular, Microsoft Excel and BI applications can be ported onto mobile devices in the form of report visualizations and flipped through using the native swipe gestures on Apple iOS devices. The broad access of a cloud platform extends the firm’s focus on usability, which our benchmark research into next-generation BI finds to be the top evaluation criteria for 64 percent of potential customers. My colleague Mark Smith has written more on the user-focused nature of Roambi’s products.

Roambi Business is multitenant software as a service hosted on Amazon Web Services. It offers a no-integration API approach to data movement. That is, the API utilizes REST protocols for data exchange. When a request is sent from the Roambi application, responses are returned in JavaScript Object Notation (JSON). (The exception is that results for particularly large request sets are returned in IEEE754 format.) In this way, the API acts a conduit to transfer data from any JSON-compliant system including Excel, salesforce.com, Google spreadsheets and BI applications. Once data is transferred into the Roambi file system, the publishing tool allows users to quickly turn the data into a user-friendly form that is represented on the mobile device. As well, the product empowers an administrator to define user rights, and single sign-on is provided through industry standard SAML 2.0. Security, a big concern for mobile BI, is addressed in a number of ways including remote wipe, file exploration, application pass codes and file recall.

For the cloud version of the software, Roambi has redesigned the entire publishing engine to be HTML5-compliant but still iOS-oriented in that it takes advantage of native iOS gestures. The redesign of the publishing tool set extends to Roambi Flow, an application that enables power users to assemble and group information for presentations, publications or applications. (An example of such output is a briefing book or a digital publication.) This feature is particularly important since a specific data-driven storyline distributed to a group of users often is needed to produce a decision. Currently, the cumbersome cut-and-paste process revolves around data and content produced in Excel and Word and put into vr_ngbi_br_what_capabilities_matter_for_mobile_biPowerPoint for ultimate dissemination through an organization.

A couple of features are not yet available on the cloud addition. Push notifications are important, and with the new architecture I expect to see that soon. According to our next generation business intelligence benchmark research on mobile BI, alerts and notifications is the most important ranked feature (important to 42% of organizations), which should be a big part of mobile BI. While some interactivity is not available in the first release of the cloud edition with visualization, the flow of reviewing data is simple and easy to examine metrics.

Roambi will face strong competition from other BI vendors aggressively improving their own mobile BI offerings. Vendors of visual discovery software, of traditional BI and of integrated stacks each have a unique position that takes advantage of features like data mashup and broad integration capabilities. The battle for this market will be won only over time, but Roambi has a unique position of its own in terms of ease of use and time-to-value. In fact, the company’s strategic focus on design and the user experience is coinciding with current business discussions and top priorities in the buying trends in the market.

Roambi’s flagship product now in the cloud, technology that was mostly configurable by teams in larger companies’ is available to anyone easily including ISVs. Furthermore, cloud computing approach allows easier access for the business and requires less technical resources and reduces the potential financial impact. For companies looking to deploy business intelligence and analytics quickly to mobile devices while providing ease of use and the ability to communicate not only graphically but with a storyline approach, Roambi is worth a look to see how simple business intelligence can be on mobile technology.

Regards,

Tony Cosentino

VP and Research Director

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