Since the iPad was first launched two years ago, there has been an explosion of tablets onto the market place. Although the business world is still playing catch up to the consumer world for ‘on the move technology’ and in particular, tablets, it’s definitely closing the gap and seeing tablets in the workplace is no longer an unusual sight.

The unprecedented growth of tablets and other smart mobile devices has given birth to the next generation of business intelligence (BI) – BI on the move – otherwise know as mobile business intelligence (mobile BI). And with Gartner predicting that by 2013, 33% of BI functionality will be consumed via handheld devices, it is becoming increasingly obvious that mobile BI is here to stay (Gartner: Critical Capabilities for Mobile BI, Joao Tapadinhas, 10 April 2012).

Those organisations that have already invested in BI solutions are now increasingly looking towards mobile BI to deliver intelligence on the move. Mobile BI is seen as the next natural step, enabling 24/7 access to key performance indicators via intelligent, real-time dashboards accessible via smart handheld devices.

With anytime, anywhere access to business critical information such as revenue, outstanding debts or sales by product, insightful business decisions can be made on the move without managers having to wait until their next visit into the office to access high-level and real-time performance information. Ad hoc reports can also be created and analysed ‘on demand’, ensuring an instant 360 degree view of the business.

With mobile BI, business planning can also be improved, as users are given the ability to go through ‘what if’ scenarios via their tablets (without even needing to connect to a server). For instance, modeling the likely outcomes of a drop in cash flow or a five per cent drop in customer numbers is possible whilst travelling by train or ‘hot desking’ at locations across the UK.

Although mobile BI is in its relative infancy, any business serious about staying ahead of the curve needs to be seriously considering its adoption. With business critical information literally at managers’ fingertips, the workplace is no longer an office with four walls and desks. Mobile BI is well and truly breaking down the office walls!