Mobile BI Design Framework: Design Elements

The advent of the mouse and large screen-dependent design elements of the PC era influenced the makeup of traditional business intelligence (BI) solutions. Similarly, mobile BI comes with its own design elements that replace the mouse with touch screens, which merge the input and output components into a single device.

The “mobile BI design framework” promotes the idea that mastering these mobile design elements can benefit mobile developers (not just mobile BI teams) in order to deliver on the promise of mobile.

Here are several key design elements that I’ll cover in more detail in this series.

Mobile BI Design Framework: Environment

Anyone who has designed or developed a new product knows that understanding the environment in which the product or solution will be used by its end users is extremely important.

The environment is where we can successfully connect audience and purpose not only to leverage the technology’s strengths but also to minimize its weaknesses within a supported infrastructure.

The “mobile BI design framework” promotes the idea that we need to go beyond just identifying the basic parts of our environment and instead taking a holistic view of the entire system in order to deliver an integrated mobile solution that is consistent and predictable at each layer.

Many of the considerations for the environment may largely be influenced by your organization’s build vs. buy decision on BI or mobile BI solutions. A close review of the key components that make up the mobile BI environment can prove to be beneficial.

Discovering Julia

Super Bowl weekend was especially dreary in Chicagoland, the victim of a polar vortex winter for the ages. Between the Friday night/Saturday morning snowfall and the bitter cold that followed, my wife and I were pretty much confined to our suburban home for two days, canceling plans with friends in the city. But I resolved while snow-blowing that I wouldn’t let the elements win, that I’d at least have a productive, if unexciting, weekend. And so it was I decided to watch sports on TV throughout– college basketball all day Saturday and Sunday afternoon, climaxing in the Super Bowl Sunday evening – at the same time starting to learn some new analytics software on my computer.

Data Quality in 6 Verbs

Once upon a time when asked on Twitter to identify a list of critical topics for data quality practitioners, my pithy (with only 140 characters in a tweet, pithy is as good as it gets) response was, and especially since I prefer emphasizing the need to take action, to propose six critical verbs: Investigate, Communicate, Collaborate, Remediate, Inebriate, andReiterate.

Lest my pith be misunderstood aplenty, this blog post provides more detail, plus links to related posts, about what I meant.

10 Common Mobile BI Assumptions You Should Avoid

If organizations are going to utilize mobile business intelligence (BI) to drive growth and profitability, they must take a holistic approach that leverages technology’s strengths and minimize its weaknesses within a supported infrastructure. Moreover, organizations must deliver the power of mobile BI through innovation and without disruption. Just as we know that mobile isn’t just about one or two sexy apps, the step to gain the ability to deliver reports on a mobile device alone doesn’t guarantee success with mobile BI.

Here are the ten most common mistaken assumptions people make with mobile BI projects.

Analytics for Your Varied Team Member Styles

Constructing or selecting a team is not the same as team building. The latter focuses on team cohesion and cooperation, whereas the former, by definition, precedes this exercise in camaraderie.

An effective team requires a balance of skills and team member styles. The problem with most departmental teams, and even executive teams, is that certain team member styles tend to be over-represented in particular functions. You end up with nearly everyone in the team exhibiting one particular style and therefore competing with each other for that one team member role, while other styles and roles go begging.

A model I was introduced to many years ago delineates eight distinct team member styles:

Is Poor Quality the Anti-Hero of Data?

As a kid, I enjoyed reading comic books and watching animated television series about superheroes. Among my favorites were Spider-Man, Batman, Thor, Iron Man, and the X-Men. Which is why, as a adult, I enjoy the super advancements in cinematic technology that not only powers (mostly) live-action superhero movies, but has also propelled them into mainstream culture.

Mobile BI Design Framework: Audience

It goes without saying that when we design anything, we must know and understand our audience well. But I often find that in mobile business intelligence (BI) projects, this is where the first oversight happens—not because we lack the knowledge, but because we make the wrong assumptions.

The “mobile BI design framework” promotes the idea that we need to go beyond just knowing our audience by creating every opportunity for greater user interaction right from the onset of our engagements.

A Bucket of Wings: A Case Study of Better-Informed Decisions

Since my family likes to take a day off from cooking on Fridays, we recently visited the deli of our favorite organic grocery store. At the take-out bar, I noticed an unusually long line of people under a large sign reading, “In-House Made Wing Buckets. All You Can Fill. On Sale for $4.99, Regular $9.99.” Well, I love wings and couldn’t resist the temptation to get a few.

The opportunity was to add wings (one of my favorite appetizers) to my dinner. But instead of using the special wings bucket, I chose the regular salad bar container, which was priced at $8.99 per pound regardless of the contents. I reasoned that the regular container was an easier-to-use option (shaped like a plate) and a cheaper option (since I was buying only a few wings). My assumptions about the best container to use led to a split-second decision—I “blinked” instead of “thinking twice.”

Use Data To Support Arguments, Not Arguments To Support Data

The concept of “better-informed” decisions is distinctly different than the concept of “better” decisions— the former is generally a choice, whereas the latter often results from an action. Better-informed leaders don’t always make better decisions, but better decisions almost always start with better-informed leaders. Business intelligence (BI) can be the framework that enables organizations of all sizes to make faster, better-informed business decisions.