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Mobile BI and the Vuvuzela Queen

VP product marketing, Acunu

I took a little time out yesterday to think about the implications of a possible huge upsurge in mobile BI apps. You don’t have to share Michael Saylor’s unwavering belief that iPad and iPhone will be the dominant deliveryplatform in order to acknowledge that there is a real opportunity here. The use cases that I have heard talked about seem to fall into two distinct classes.

The first type would be role-based dashboards, for example top ten best movers/worst movers/best aggregate margin etc for a retail store manager. These might be database-intensive queries, but they would generally be cached because they would be slow moving. The second type of query would be ad-hoc requests for specific data. For example ‘what’s the inventory for product xxx?’ These could be run very frequently, with different parameters, but would not be database intensive. And both kinds of queries would be pre-baked into the app that the user downloads to their mobile device. All of this seems eminently doable for MSTR using their new mobile app development toolset and their intelligent server run time.

And the same might well be true for any other comparable app development platform. The critical success factor here is not the deployment platform, though some folks may get burned there depending on how the fight for dominance plays out. The critical success factor is fast response time. A BI specialist running operational reports or complex predictive analytics across the whole dataset may be happy with a multi-second or even minutes response time. But a mobile user has to have the answer quickly or it’s not worth having. From a Netezza perspective this is all music to my ears. Any kind of app that needs fast access to a mass of data is going to need the fastest database they can put at the back of it. We have already partnered with Microstrategy and Quantisense to deliver the Retail Analytics Appliance. It will be interesting to see how the market for mobile BI apps develops. I think it’s clear that retail is a fertile segment, but not the only one.

As you do, if you’re a partner-vendor exhibitor at a conference, you bring along what i’ve always called a twomm (to rhyme with from) - total waste of marketing money, otherwise known as the stand giveaway. Of course they are not a waste of money they represent a unique opportunity to build lasting positive brand identification, blah, blah, blah. But it being world cup semi-final week and with it being my choice, we have vuvuzelas as our giveaway. And give ‘em away we have. I’m not even sure i’ll have one to take back to my Dutch footballing friend who i was texting with as I watched their game (1-0 pleased : 1-1 worried: 2-1 confident:3-1 triumphant: 3-2 clenching) against Uruguay at the conference beach party (thanks Microstrategy – good party). Next to me throughout the second half was a tall Dutch (from appearance, mien and allegiance even if she had said nothing) woman doing a great job with a Netezza vuvuzela. Thank you madam for promoting our brand, and congratulations on a (just about) deserved victory. I’m hoping for more branding opportunities tonight. Not sure who i want to win: hugely talented Spain or unexpectedly fluent and uninhibited Germany. Or should i say who would i prefer to lose: envy-inducing talented Spain or England-crushing Germany.

Anyone get that somewhat torturous music reference in the title?