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iPad spells end for traditional BI

The Apple iPad has sparked a move for companies to deploy business intelligence (BI) software on converged mobile devices and to take a step away from traditional desktop and laptop computers.

This is the view of MicroStrategy CEO and president Michael Saylor, who spoke during MicroStrategy World 2010, held in Cannes, France.

BI giant MicroStrategy has unveiled MicroStrategy Mobile, an application that leverages BI on the iPad, iPhone and BlackBerry devices.

MicroStrategy Mobile enables business users to extend graphs, grids, enterprise reports and information dashboards to the iPhone and iPad.

While the MicroStrategy Mobile solution has been available to the global market since September 2007 for the BlackBerry device, the application is now also available for rollout on the iPhone and iPad.

The BI company said the decision to gear itself towards deploying its mobile solution onto the iPad was spurred by the fact that businesses are turning to consumer Web 2.0 mobile devices that are always connected, to conduct business.

Next big wave

“This marks an exciting time in the history of the company, as well as the BI industry,” said Saylor.

“MicroStrategy Mobile is our most significant product release in the history of the company. The mobile Internet is the next wave of information technology and will dwarf all previous waves of technology.”

Saylor said there are five billion cellphone users in comparison to a billion desktop PC users. “The mobile Internet will have 10 times the greater impact for business than the desktop Internet.”

People have more access to their mobile devices than their PC, and easy-to-use consumer devices such as the iPad have become interactive business tools, he added.

Over the next 36 months, an avalanche of mobile applications spurred by this year's rollout of the iPad will be entering the market, Saylor said. “The BI market is only 10% of what it will become in the next decade.

“Laptops are not portable enough, because business users require instant accessibility into their information on a device that's interactive and allows them to rapidly view and manage their BI information.”

He added that companies can save 75% of hardware and software licensing costs by switching their devices from a desktop PC to an iPad, and can speed up the decision-making process. The move away from end-user desktop PCs towards iPads is a trend that is expected to continue in the next year.

Connected business world

According to the company, businesses are recognising the value of empowering their executives and mobile workforce with business information that needs to be accessible at all times, and not just while they are working on their desktop computers.

MicroStrategy Mobile is a free application for up to 25 business users. The company offers free training, technical support and community access. The application can be downloaded from the Internet and enables organisations to build and customise their own mobile BI applications for the iPhone, iPad and BlackBerry devices.

MicroStrategy World 2010 saw around 800 delegates comprising partners, MicroStrategy employees, analysts and customers.

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