Being part of the internal BI organization within SAP Global IT, I have spent most of my time during the last months talking with my customers about Mobile Analytics (SAP Runs SAP is our leitmotiv!). The purpose of this blog is to share some reflections that came to my mind from this experience with Mobility, which has become the first focus in our Business Intelligence End User strategy. It may be interesting for you in case you are starting or planning your Mobile deployment.
There are generally two distinct stages in the delivery of a mobile BI solution, if you want to ensure a long term deployment.
Starting with a “WOW!” effect
This is the first of the 2 stages when your customer first time discovers what is possible on a tablet. With the Mobile Analytics tools (SAP BI Mobile, Experience) it is now very easy to create a prototype with very low effort, leveraging the investment you have made in your BusinessObjects platform.
These screenshots give examples of the nice representations you can build up with the Mobile Analytics (Explorer and BI Mobile). Users can interact, like filtering, zooming in and out, or turn around the pie chart with the cursor. This is meant to generate the immediate attraction.
From that point, first objective is generally reached and you will get the question “How can I have it on my tablet?”.
If this is a great first achievement, it is far from the stage that we are generally looking for: the systematic reference to these Mobile Analytics solutions in all Executive meetings, at any place, any time, by everyone…
Going to the “Now!”
“WOW” is temporary unless you are always able to offer new effects and your customer is looking for this. But in most cases, after playing with it a couple of times, the tablet goes further and further from the priority of your customer.
To avoid this and keep the great momentum that you have just generated, you need to answer the question “What are the most critical topics that my customer has in his/her radar currently to drive their activity, and what are the KPIs he/she refers to, in relation to these topics?”. In most cases, this is about 3 to 5 highly aggregated figures with associated target values – the rest is the detailed breakdown against different dimensions.
This is where you can make the difference: are you able to deliver these KPIs on a Mobile Analytic, with a full transparency on the definition that does not question the validity of the figures shown? If Yes; Then it’s a win:win:
- This is the critical information your customer needs.
- They can get access to it by themselves at any time, in any place. There is no simpler way to get access – they will use and reuse it!
- Your customer can “shine” using the latest technology and prove that they can use it without any difficulty!
The “WOW” effect has become secondary – make it easy, focus on clarity – this is the assurance to get it fully adopted. Think that in live meetings, complex gestures are difficult and the objective of your customer is to focus on the data.
This screenshot shows a typical report helping to make important decisions : this is a basic report, where focus is on alerts and targets, helping to take immediate actions. It is based on a simple table and does not offer advanced interactivity.
So, should we focus on the “NOW” stage?
The answer is NO. I have seen many customers who are afraid they do not know what a tablet can bring into their Business. The “WOW” effect is the solution to break the invisible barrier between your customer and you and engage them in the next step of trying themselves – hereby possibly giving a chance to get out of the Power Point presentations he/she used to refer to containing the latest values of their KPIs.
“WOW” is very important to attract, drive the adoption – “NOW” is mandatory to “retain” your customer.
To conclude, my suggestion to drive the delivery of a Mobile Analytic solution :
- Get the necessary background about your new customer (context and expectations). Align with a representative of this customer to become your counterpart.
- Prepare a demo scenario close to the context – it does not need necessarily to be exactly the context. For IT folks, I do recommend to have a list of scenarios already prepared that you can use at any time.
- Make the demo and involve your counterpart – to reach the “WOW” stage.
- Moving to the next stage : ask to get the Data Expert / KPI Process Expert to work with you for the collection of the KPIs and subjacent data.
- Work closely with the nominated people to create the new set of reports (“NOW” stage). Be careful : you will drastically foster the visibility and transparency on these KPIs – make sure the data validity will not be questioned !
- New review with the customer with the 1 – 2 first reports showing these KPIs – get the “NOW”.
- Go into new iterations following the same steps in the “NOW” phase.
Mobile Analytics generate a lot of passion – and some of you may have driven Mobile projects as well with similar or different experience. Feel free to comment on this Post to share your own view on this topic to help anyone willing to start on Mobile Analytics!..