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Lori: I’m Lori Fazeli, channel manager for North America BI/EPM sales alliances. In this segment we’re going to discuss how customers can leverage the upcoming trends in mobile business intelligence and help increase the productivity of their workforce by using mobile BI. I’m here today with Vikram Takru, vice president of Frontline Consulting Services, a key partner in North America. Welcome.
Vikram: Thank you, Lori.
Lori: First Vikram, there’s been a lot of buzz about mobile BI for the last two or three years. Have you seen your customers starting to adopt the technology?
Vikram: Absolutely. We have seen across multiple verticals that we operate in mobile BI being adopted. One of the things which has changed a lot compared to the past few years was that a lot of things which were not possible earlier are now possible. So imagine you press a button and the mobile devices just start. They come with highly intuitive user interfaces. They offer collaboration capabilities, they have scanners built into [them], they have very disconnected capabilities built into these devices. So all these are disrupting the traditional business processes.
Two other factors which we have seen just to give you some numbers. There are 500 million Android devices which have been activated so far. There are 400 million iOS devices with 84 million iPads. So they are already with enterprise business users. In addition, what has also happened is these business users have looked at these applications on these devices. They want their enterprise apps to behave exactly the same way how they have been using their other applications on these devices. So there is a big push there; I say these business users have tasted blood by being exposed to Angry Birds.
Lori: What are the use cases for mobile BI and how are organizations looking to leverage these?
Vikram: So [these are the] typical use-cases first [seen] when we enter into an organization. First there is executive reporting. So the C-level executives, who are normally on the move, are the ones wherefore they have the dashboards, the business intelligence capabilities: they are the ones who are using it first. The other use cases are around sales reps—particularly customer 360 data surrounding a sales rep. It’s typically for a sales rep who is never at his desk, who is always traveling, is one of the other classic cases. The other interesting case is around field service personnel. So let me give you an example: imagine a field service technician getting into a truck in the morning. He has to service a bunch of equipment in a 200-mile radius there. He has to do his route planning using location intelligence. He also needs to basically, once he has the machine, look at analytics and trends for that particular equipment and machine for the breakdown details. And at the same time, if some part of help is required, they need to dial into via Facetime [to collaborate with] an expert who might be sitting in a command center. On top of that, if the machine cannot be repaired and he has to order a part, he needs to create a work order—a mobile work order—right there from that device. So if you look at this business process it spans across multiple things. So what we are seeing is on the glass integration of business intelligence, multimedia and transaction data all coming together.
Lori: I understand that FCS has a deep expertise in mobile BI. What kind of services do you offer your customers?
Vikram: So FCS has been a leader in the mobile BI space. We have invested very heavily in both technology and industry partnerships. Especially across multiple verticals like financial services, energy, utilities, we have gone and built design partnerships with these customers and at the same time what we do is look at the vision of our customers, talk to them about the vision. Then we build a strategy and a blueprint and pair it up with a technology which will be suitable for their problem and where they want to go. The other part which we have also done at FCS is we also have been a design partner for SurfBI Mobile which is a leading native iOS- and Android-based mobile system integrated with Oracle tech stack. Also, SurfBI Mobile integrates multimedia transactions and business intelligence data on iPads and Androids. So those are a couple of things which we have done in that field.
Lori: What would you say are the biggest challenges in a mobile deployment?
Vikram: So the biggest challenges on the mobile devices is that the moment you go in, the first question the customers ask is what should I start with first and how can I do it quickly, can I deploy it quickly? Second challenge which they run into is proliferation of apps. They can have an expense app, they can have a business intelligence app and very shortly an IT department will have to manage hundreds of apps.
Lori: I have hundreds on my phone alone.
Vikram: There you go. So how do we manage them? How does IT ensure that they don’t have different user IDs, they support different devices, they don’t, they all have security which is simpler. So that’s one problem which most of the IT in the enterprises are facing. The other problem is security in mobile device management. And fourth thing is, which is a good problem to have, is that IT folks are worried that there is a certain huge increase of mobile users pushing to the limit their existing IT infrastructure due to more adoption. So how do we solve that scale problem?
Lori: Right. So how do you solve it? What Oracle solutions are you using to help address those concerns?
Vikram: So as I was telling you in the other thing, that’s a good problem to have and also a bad problem if you don’t have the right technology partner to solve it. The scale of the number of users is a big problem and Oracle engineered systems, especially Exalytics and Exadata, along with Oracle BI Tech Stack and integrated we have a SurfBI mobile solution which works natively with iOS and Android and are critical pieces to solve parts of these problems.
Lori: So folks, I strongly encourage you to take a look at your mobile BI strategies. FCS has been a leader in the mobility space and they’ve built some great implementations for mobile BI. You can download their apps from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store by searching for SurfBI. There’s a real opportunity to increase your productivity of your workforce by helping them adopt mobile apps and mobile BI. For more information on how to engage Vikram, please contact your local Oracle Alliance manager. Thank you very much.