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Mobile BI: Interview with Nic Smith, Director of Marketing

I recently spoke with Nic Smith, Director of Marketing, to get the latest news about Mobile BI. First, a little about Nic Smith: he’s been with SAP for over a year but his tenure in the BI space extends to the Crystal Decisions and Business Objects days where he spent time doing solution marketing for BI, EPM, and analytic applications.


Mobile BI is a “super” hot topic in the marketplace. All of the pure-play BI vendors are battling it out with their own BI on mobile devices. What’s not that well-known is that BusinessObjects has been involved in mobile BI solutions for over 10 years. Today, customers are able to extend Crystal and Web Intelligence reports, and dashboards to Windows Mobile, Symbian, Android, and iOS. The “big value” is that they have access to information on the fly to keep up with the rapid pace of business and information and respond on the spot. Mobile BI brings insight and decision-making and collaboration anytime, anywhere.


Mobile Platform

With the acquisition of Sybase, the SAP mobility includes the Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP) which brings the back-end infrastructure (“the plumbing”) to carry out management and security functions. There are four key aspects to SUP:


  • Connecting to information – the ability to communicate with any source, including transactional systems such as ERP and  CRM
  • Development studio – allowing partners and developers  to build applications that integrate with LoB systems for specific use cases
  • Management and security of devices – Sybase Afaria helps IT manage and secure applications and devices. For example, IT can remotely wipe a mobile device if it is lost.
  • Consumption – consuming information from any device


In addition to BI, other aspects of the business analytics portfolio such as EIM, EPM and GRC are also available on mobile devices. For instance,  SAP BusinessObjects  Strategy Management  available on iTunes today. SAP will continue to extend additional functionality across the business analytics  portfolio to mobile devices in the months to come.


How can you start working with Mobile BI? There are several apps available for download for various devices. SAP BusinessObjects Explorer for the iPad and iPhone is a fully supported application and one of top business apps on the market (over  200,000 downloads to date). Explorer allows end users to search and explore data and come up with answers (or even the question!)they might not have known. Customers can also upload their own data to BI OnDemand and then use Explorer to navigate any data, making the possibilities for data exploration endless.


With augmented reality, a feature within Explorer,  users can connect to data points on a map using GPS to overlay data points. The Google Maps integration takes the points of interest (for example, national monuments) and overlays their locations on a map and then displays data for each monument. You can also use the built-in camera (iPad2) to view a visual representation of a location  and have data overlaid on the visual  using GPS technology.


SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 Release

Mobility is a key part of the SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 release, now users can extend   as  Web Intelligence reports to the iPad, via SAP BusinessObjects Mobile.  The deployment model for extending these Webi report in BI 4.0 has also been dramatically enhanced to just simply saving your Webi document to a mobile folder.


The Mobile BI roadmap includes exploration views, a feature in the next version of Explorer, availablein the newfeature pack 3 (link to blog details: . Also included in feature pack 3 will be platform integration between Mobile BI and the Sybase Unwired Platform.  Additional documentation for setup and configuration of Mobile BI deployment can be found on the SAP Service Marketplace.


Additional Resources and Demos


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  • Kirby,

    I’m still confused by the message with SUP in regards to BI. Does it actually integrate with SAP BW? In other words if I want to create a BI mobile app will it expose the native BICS connections?

    SUP is being pushed VERY hard by SAP but I’m still having a hard time understanding it’s exact use cases.