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Mobile computing platform
But that should not stop executives from demanding such a capability, says Webalo executive Phil Klahr, particularly with the recent appearance of sophisticated middleware that can provide the missing link, with the turnkey simplicity of a Web-based service. "Cell phones are rapidly becoming the mobile executive's preferred computing platform," says Klahr. "But the performance dashboards, spreadsheets, and other business reports that are crucial to his or her decision-making are literally stuck back at the office. The extreme expense and complexity of re-programming even a handful of important business reports so they work in the rapidly changing landscape of handheld devices is literally a brick wall for IT departments." Solving this, says Klahr, should be "Job 1," particularly in industries where timely access to data in the field can mean the difference between success and failure.
Mobile business intelligence
Klahr plans to make his point with several examples of businesses that are primed for using mobile business intelligence. These include:
- Large retailers that want to provide regional management with up-to-the-minute store performance data and make it available on smartphones. Product sales, inventory status, profitability, labor statistics, and other current operational data can be in their hands, literally, as they walk through the door of their retail outlets;
- Shipping companies that need to provide sales staff with real-time data about customer orders, available cargo space, or load/off-load information so that they can manage a near-real-time sales environment from the loading dock, or the cargo hold of a ship;
- Financial Services companies that want to provide regional operations staff with up to date information on loan product sales so that they can monitor and manage branch performance.
SmartPhone Summit - Mobile business intelligence
For such industries, and hundreds of others, real-time, mobile business intelligence will become a business imperative, Klahr believes. Klahr's company, Webalo, is an emerging leader in mobile business intelligence. Webalo recently announced the Mobile Dashboard, an IBM-hosted Web service that permits "ordinary mortals" - anyone from line managers, to 1st-tier IT support, or service bureau personnel - to sit at a Web browser, and link pre-existing business spreadsheets - no matter how complex - to highly-usable, dynamically generated reports that are automatically formatted for the characteristics of any smart phone.
SmartPhone Summit at CTIA show
Klahr will demonstrate during his presentation how virtually anyone, in the space of just a few minutes, can bring their favorite report to theirs or their executives' cell phones, and have it actually be easy to read and to navigate. "We're not talking about shipping an Excel spread sheet and a magnifying glass to everyone in the field," says Klahr. "Instead, we can automatically generate a report that adjusts its presentation and navigation features to utilize the best capabilities of the device in the mobile worker's pocket." The SmartPhone Summit is taking place next week during the CTIA Show in Orlando, FLA. Klahr will be speaking at 4pm in Room 309-AB at the CTIA SmartPhone Summit on March 26th at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando FLA.
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