In my post “Mobile BI” Doesn’t Mean “Mobile-Enabled Reports” I articulated the importance of developing a mobile business intelligence (BI) strategy. If designed, implemented, and executed effectively, mobile BI will not only complement the existing business intelligence framework, but it will enable organizations to drive growth and profitability.
For the next ten weeks, I want to chart a course that will highlight the key questions you need to ask before embarking on a mobile BI journey. This is the critical first step in validating mobile BI readiness for any organization, whether it’s a Fortune 500 company, a small-to-medium enterprise, or a small team within a large enterprise. The size or the scope of the mobile BI engagement doesn’t negate the need for, or importance of, the preflight checklist.
Think about this for a moment. Would a flight crew skip the preflight planning because it expects only a small number of passengers on the flight? No, and we shouldn’t skip it either. We want to evaluate and identify any issues before the takeoff.
It doesn’t matter in what order you answer these questions. What matters is that you consider them all as you work to develop a comprehensive strategy that will set you up for success.
1. Executive Sponsorship
Do we have an executive sponsor? It starts and ends with executive sponsorship. As with any engagement, this not only ensures alignment with business strategy but also the attainment of required resources.
How do we mitigate risks associated with all three layers of mobile BI security: device(s), mobile BI app, and data consumed on the app? Is there an existing corporate security policy or framework that can be leveraged?
3. Enterprise Mobility
Do we have either a formal enterprise mobility strategy that we need to align with or a road map that we can follow?
4. Technology Infrastructure
Can our current IT and BI infrastructure, which includes both hardware and software, support mobile BI? Are there any gaps that need to be addressed prior to going live?
Do we have the know how to apply mobile BI design best practices, whether it’s for dashboards or operational reports? Does the existing software support effective use of metadata and modeling to leverage the “develop once, use many times” design philosophy?
6. Talent Management
Do we have internal talent with the required skill set that includes not only technical expertise but also soft skills such as critical thinking?
7. Support Infrastructure
Do we have a sufficient support infrastructure in place to ensure that both business (content, analysis) and technical (access, installation) challenges are addressed in a timely manner? Do we have the right resources to develop effective documentation? Can we leverage existing IT and/or BI resources?
What will be our communication strategy in the pre-and post-Go Live phase? How will we update the user community on a regular basis?
9. Business Processes
Are there any business processes that need to be updated, changed, or created to support the mobile BI assets? Are these changes feasible and can we complete them prior to development to ensure proper testing and validation?
10. System Integration
Are there any requirements or opportunities for integration with other internal apps, business systems, or processes?
Many of these topics are not unique to mobile BI. Moreover, additional areas of interest such as project management or quality assurance (testing) are assumed to be part of the existing IT or BI framework. Although these initial questions may seem extensive at first, their primary purpose is to provide a checklist.
I subscribe to the notion that strategy planning for any engagement—not just IT projects— should invite questions that promote critical thinking. Only by encouraging questions can we make sure that we ask the right questions.
What key questions do you see as critical to the development of a comprehensive mobile BI strategy?
Stay tuned for my next blog in the series, Ten Mobile BI Strategy Questions: Executive Sponsorship.
If you want to read more on mobile BI, you can find other blogs in the series here.