Man_iPadAlthough more and more organizations implement mobile business intelligence (BI) solutions, they can be intimidating to some businesses, particularly those who have challenges with their existing mobile BI solutions. The good news is that making mobile BI solutions a success doesn’t have to be agonizing.

There are several investments that can tremendously benefit any mobile BI engagement. These investments typically don’t require significant additional resources. And almost any team, regardless of their size or budget, can leverage them with a little discipline and a willingness to innovate.

Almost all mobile BI engagements use adoption as one of the key measurement of success. So, the question we need to ask is not “Where do we make blind investments?” but instead is, ”What smart investments will drive adoption?” Start with a reevaluation of your current mobile BI engagement and consider these five areas.

1. The Right Executive Sponsor Makes a Difference

How the executive champions the mobile BI initiative makes a huge difference. First and foremost, he/she leads by example—no more printing paper copies of reports or dashboards. This means that the executive is keen not only to consume the data on mobile devices but also to apply the insight derived from these mobile assets to decisions that matter. Consider if you have the right executive sponsor for your mobile engagement? (Read more about identifying the right executive sponsor.)

2. Alignment with Your Enterprise Mobility Is Critical

Is your mobile BI strategy aligned with your organization’s enterprise mobility strategy? If you’re not sure what this means, you’re in big trouble. In its simplest form, you need to consider how your mobile BI engagement fits with your overall corporate framework in order to leverage and maximize the use of mobile devices, wireless networks, and all other related services. Tremendous benefits can be realized from a close alignment such as cost savings, improvement in the execution of the mobile strategy, and increased value. (Read more about the enterprise mobility alignment.)

3. The Strength of Your Support Structure Will Be a Determining Factor

Technology, by its nature, is bound to fail or be misunderstood by some users. And when this happens, the support infrastructure—online or offline—will keep it alive. The longevity of a mobile BI solution relies on a solid support infrastructure that is consistent and predictable. This leads to trust and increased adoption, which results in a solution that can survive and flourish. (Read more about the support infrastructure.)

4. Don’t Take Communication for Granted

I am often amazed to discover that the lack of communication in technology projects stems not from a lack of resources but from wrong assumptions made about what’s perceived to be communication. Just as we know that social media analytics isn’t just about counting Facebook likes or Twitter tweets, an announcement e-mail along with an attached instruction document alone isn’t synonymous with communication in mobile BI.

When considering communication for a mobile BI engagement, you must consider all facets of communication—that includes not only multiple channels but also different formats. Moreover, you must pay attention to both quality (effectiveness) and quantity (volume and frequency) of the content to ensure its maximum effectiveness. (Read more about communication.)

5. Always Make Customer Focus a Key Priority

Building a world-class mobile BI operation depends greatly on the depth and perspective we need to gain from our own experiences as a mobile user, not as a professional. We must experience it as a mobile user first—stripped from our insider privileges, professional experiences, biases or opinions—no matter how strongly we may want to hold on to them.

We need to be able to live the experience as our users would, not just observe it from a distance. We need to get frustrated just as they do so we can understand the pain points. We need look out from inside, and not from outside in. In design thinking, I refer to this as the “empathy principle.”

What are other ways can your team improve its mobile BI solutions?

For more on mobile and mobile BI, read my other blogs. You may also like the Mobile BI Design Framework series.

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