Info Builders Lifts the Cover on Mobile BI App
March 8, 2011 Alex Woodie
Information Builders last week announced new software that will turn mobile phones into client interfaces for business intelligence workloads. WebFOCUS Mobile BI will enable users to not only consume and manipulate pre-built reports and dashboards, but also create charts, thanks to an embedded analytics engine. Best of all, the software is compatible with WebFOCUS running on IBM i, and it requires no additional license fees or servers.
WebFOCUS Mobile BI turns iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets, and Blackberry phones into clients for BI workloads. The software uses either Adobe Flash or HTML technology to create a self-contained application that allows users to view and manipulate existing reports and dashboards that have been created within the WebFOCUS environment. The software does not require a network connection.
The Mobile BI app features a pull-down menu that gives users access to functions, like sorting columns, filtering record selections, and math functions. Thanks to an embedded analytics engine, users can also create new charts and graphs, including bar charts and pie graphs, from existing data on their devices. Support for more advanced features, such as column aggregation and pivoting, enable users to create new views of data that were not delivered with the initial report. The software can also export subsets of records, and also features pagination and tabbed viewing.
Info Builders says the software, which is slated to become available early in the second quarter, is based on its “Active Technology.” The company’s Active Technology and Active Reports software has been around for at least three years and was originally developed to support the mobile devices popular back then, such as Palm Treos and PDAs from Hewlett-Packard and Dell.
The vendor has updated its Active Technology software with Mobile BI to support the latest devices, including their particular menu systems, their favored Web browsers (Opera, Safari), and the gesturing commands that are native to each device. The Active Technology was also updated to support the advanced charting engine on HTML 5, which is important for those devices that don’t natively run Flash, such as Apple’s iOS devices.
Info Builders is striving to deliver the most functional and relevant mobile BI options to its users, CEO and president Gerald Cohen says. “Unlike the competition, our mobile solution not only allows a business professional to view his data in transit, but to manipulate and analyze it as well,” Cohen states in a press release.
For the last couple of years, Info Builders has been working to create a new BI architecture that uncouples the presentation layer from the underlying BI technology that does the grunt work of querying, sorting, and disseminating information. As we saw with last month’s release of the Info Mini application, the company is moving strongly toward a vision of BI where customers are free to choose the amount of data and data-manipulating capability they expose to their users, but without requiring a lot of development expertise, and without developing themselves into a corner.