IDC: Tablets hold key to Business Intelligence


Companies struggling to implement successful Business Intelligence (BI) schemes should investigate the benefits of tablets, according to a senior analyst.

Alys Woodward, program manager of IDC's European business analytics, claimed the issue of encouraging companies to use BI was always a difficult hurdle to jump. Speaking at IDC's Business Intelligence Conference 2011, she said: "If you have an invoicing system in an organisation you have to use it, you have no choice."

However, with BI, Woodward claimed the more subjective nature of the data became a barrier.

"If it's not the right information then people will revert to whatever they were doing before," she added, "whether that's gut-feel decisions or taking their own extracts out of the ERP system, or doing terrible things with spreadsheets that have all sorts of data quality and reliability issues."

So, where do tablets come in? Woodward claimed the design made them a more enjoyable tool to use in the office, which could help executives actually enjoy using BI.

"What happens with a touchscreen tablet is that it takes things a step closer to the user," she said. "You're closer to the data, you can explore a little more richly than if you were using a mouse."

Woodward said using tablets made BI data "much more shareable," allowing an executive "playing with his new toy" to show off the information to other managers in a more interactive way.

For tablets to be useable in the enterprise for BI, however, it is the software developers that need to get onboard, and Woodward believed this was increasingly becoming the case.

"The best vendors are doing mobile BI so that you write a report once and then that report can appear on whatever form factor people need it to be on, whether that's a laptop, or a large screen, or a tablet," she added.

"It's helping with adoption and it's helping bring execs on board with information and it really is something that's quite powerful."

Thinking about bringing tablets into your business? Read our latest feature on how they could fit here.

Tim Danton

Tim Danton is editor-in-chief of PC Pro, the UK's biggest selling IT monthly magazine. He specialises in reviews of laptops, desktop PCs and monitors, and is also author of a book called The Computers That Made Britain.

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