TECHNOLOGY: Business Intelligence
On the Road with BIBy Mark Rittman
Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile gives your iOS device the business.
In addition to accessing dashboards, analyses, and scorecards through Web browsers on laptop and desktop computers, many users of Oracle Business Intelligence solutions now want to access their BI content on the go—on smartphones and tablet devices. Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile, part of Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite, provides the ability to deliver analyses, dashboards, alerts, and other BI content directly to mobile devices, enabling users to view and then take action on BI insights wherever they are.
Built on Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g Release 1 (188.8.131.52), Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile delivers BI content to mobile devices such as the Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Oracle Business Intelligence analyses and dashboards do not have to be specifically formatted for mobile use, and no additional setup is required for your server installation before users can start accessing their data on the move. In this article, I show how you can configure your iPad and iPhone to access mobile BI content, and I access data and analysis from the Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g sample application (deployed via Oracle VM VirtualBox), available for download on Oracle Technology Network.
Configuring Your Mobile Device
Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile is currently available for mobile devices running Apple iOS, such as the Apple iPad and iPhone. To access BI information through your iOS mobile device, first download the Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile app from the Apple App Store to your iOS device and install it, and then create the connection to your organization’s Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g sample application installation or the product’s sample application deployed via Oracle VM VirtualBox.
You do not need to specially configure your BI installation to enable mobile access, but you must ensure that Oracle Business Intelligence Presentation Services is accessible to your mobile device (typically via http://[server_name]:9704/analytics or http://[server_name]). If your BI installation is behind a firewall, you can configure your iOS device to connect first, using a virtual private network, to your company network.
To create a connection with Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile on an iPad, follow these steps:
When you’ve entered the server setting information, tap Save to save your details, and then when you return to the list-of-servers screen, tap Login to use these details to connect. The first time you connect to the business intelligence server, a small set of files will be downloaded to your mobile device, and you can then start analyzing your BI content from your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.
Analyze with Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile and the iPad
Now that you have created your connection to an Oracle Business Intelligence server, you can start to analyze your data. In this example, you are using your iPad first thing in the morning, while drinking a cup of coffee, to update yourself on how your organization is performing. To start, view your Favorites list—which shows, among other BI content, your Brand Analysis dashboard—shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Viewing the Favorites list
You can add a screen to the Favorites list by tapping Favorites at the bottom of any Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile screen. For now, though, select Brand Analysis from the Favorites list to view a dashboard of brand performance in the form of a pivot table, several graphs, a ticker, and some prompts and controls on the left-hand side of the screen. To switch to another page in this dashboard, tap the down arrow at the top of the page, as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Viewing a dashboard with Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile
Just as you can with dashboards on your laptop or desktop, you can interact with pivot tables, prompts, and other objects on the iPad screen to further explore your data. For example, you can tap Email at the bottom of the screen to send a link to that page to someone, and you can tap Refresh at any time to update your view of the data, live. (Note that Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile requires a connection with your Oracle Business Intelligence server, through either Wi-Fi or a cellular network.)
You can also expose key performance indicators (KPIs) through Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile to keep up to date with performance measures for your organization, and you can use Alerts on your Favorites list, shown in Figure 3, to receive messages sent from the Oracle Business Intelligence server, such as when revenue is likely to fall short for a quarter or metrics for a store are out of tolerance. To define alerts such as these, create agents (which run analyses in the background) with the Oracle Business Intelligence dashboard to determine whether an alert condition is met; when this happens, the alert will appear in the list of alerts on your mobile device so that you can respond appropriately.
Figure 3: Viewing a list of alerts
You’ve finished your coffee and you have today’s updates on how your organization is performing. With the most current analyses in hand, you’re ready to take action.
Business Intelligence in Your Pocket with the iPhone
Although tablet computers such as the iPad are great for analyzing data on a relatively large screen, you might want to consult your company data while on the move and with only a smartphone in your pocket. Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile is also available for the iPhone and iPod touch and is downloaded, installed, and configured in the same way as on the iPad.
With Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile installed and configured on your iPhone or iPod touch, you can access dashboards in the same way as with the iPad. Given the smaller screen, however, you might want to take advantage of the mobile layout—available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad—which, instead of displaying all content in the desktop layout, rearranges the content in a vertical, stacked layout and resizes graphs to make them fit the screen better, as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Content formatted with a mobile layout on the iPhone
Tap Menu in the top left corner of the screen to bring up the View menu, and then select either Mobile Layout or Original Layout to switch between the two layout modes on your iOS device.
So How Does Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile Work?
With Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile, you can access your BI content on the road, in a café, or wherever else you may be when you need that information—fast. All content on your BI server is available to you, and you can access content such as KPIs, alerts, published reports, and performance dashboards from your mobile device. To try out Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile now, download the app from the Apple App Store, install the Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g Release 1 (184.108.40.206) sample application—which contains several mobile-focused dashboards, alerts, and analyses—on the server you will connect to, and access your business intelligence on the go!
Mark Rittman is an Oracle ACE Director, technical director at Rittman Mead, and an executive board member of the Oracle Development Tools User Group. He for the Rittman Mead blog at rittmanmead.com.
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