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Mobility, BI, and Social Collaboration: United in Your Enterprise for Real-Time Results

by Nic Smith | SAPinsider

July 1, 2012

With new trends in business intelligence (BI), mobility, and social collaboration, businesses have had to get on board or be left behind. While these trends offer benefits, they also create business challenges, such as IT's ability to support all of a company’s mobile users. This article, featuring customer examples, explains how businesses can take advantage of integrated BI and collaboration capabilities with the latest release of SAP BusinessObjects BI solutions and SAP StreamWork, as well as benefit from mobile solutions.

Mobility, business intelligence (BI), and social collaboration have been hot IT buzzwords recently. According to Gartner research, all three rank among the top five technology priorities for CIOs in 2012.1 But what exactly is driving this, and how do mobility, BI, and social collaboration intersect in the business world? 

Consider this: 33% of BI functionality will be consumed on a mobile device by the end of 2012,2 and one in three online consumers will be using a tablet by 2015. Also, according to Pew Internet, more than 50% of all local web searches are now done via mobile devices; of individuals accessing the Internet, 65% use at least one social network.3

There’s no doubt that businesses are going mobile and social like never before, creating new challenges for IT departments.

New Challenges for IT

As businesses continue to go mobile, IT must be able to support a diverse mobile environment in which employees can use their own devices. Employees often use IT-sanctioned collaboration solutions, as well as “shadow IT” collaboration solutions that have not been wholly approved by the organization, creating a proliferation of disconnected social silos. The management and control of key corporate data that is shared or delivered via mobile devices is also a top concern.

Further complicating matters is the need for real-time insight and interaction among business folks to make rapid, informed decisions. Today’s employees need Google-like response times to important questions, and they must be connected around the clock from wherever they are. These requirements put additional pressure on IT departments to ensure that information is in the right hands of the right people at the right time.

In addition, IT is challenged to deliver solutions catering to the unique needs within and between enterprises. Executives need the latest business information on their devices, operations teams need to be more responsive to future business trends, channel distributors need to collaborate with partners and suppliers in real time, and business analysts need to pull together a quick data view of their management team.

In all, IT departments have a long list of requirements when it comes to BI, mobility, and social collaboration. But with these challenges come new opportunities. Integration between BI, mobility, and collaboration technology presents new ways for businesses to make more-informed decisions and, ultimately, run smarter from anywhere. As mobility continues to become the new way business is conducted, there’s an increased opportunity for collaboration technology to be streamlined within the work environment, rather than separated from the workplace. Collaboration technology can become results-driven, data-focused, and specifically aligned to solve real business issues.

Take Advantage of BI, Mobility, and Social Collaboration with SAP Solutions

BI, mobility, and social collaboration are at the core of innovation at SAP. Businesses can take advantage of integrated BI and collaboration capabilities today with the latest release of the SAP BusinessObjects BI solutions, with integration of collaboration capabilities within the SAP BusinessObjects BI platform and SAP StreamWork, SAP’s enterprise social collaboration application. With these enhancements, users can send BI documents directly to SAP StreamWork for group hypothesizing and analysis, and they can monitor discussions, report updates and decisions, and comment directly while in a report. These enhancements will allow users to collaborate around their insights and drive toward making decisions in real time. 

BI and social collaboration integration is brought to the next level within mobile experiences, like that offered by the SAP BusinessObjects Mobile app for iPad, an app that brings SAP StreamWork directly onto the iPad. Within this mobile BI app, users can select an aspect of a report, graphic, or chart, add their own comments or annotations, and share within SAP StreamWork for collaboration across their teams. SAP StreamWork also has a mobile component for collaboration within an iPhone app, allowing users to connect to discussion threads and activities from wherever they are. See Figure 1 for images of SAP StreamWork and the SAP Business­Objects Mobile app for iPad.

SAP StreamWork and the SAP BusinessObjects Mobile app for iPad

Figure 1
SAP StreamWork and the SAP BusinessObjects Mobile app for iPad enable colleagues, customers, and partners to collaborate around data to analyze key business issues

A Proven Choice

Why should you turn to SAP to help your business take advantage of mobile, BI, and collaboration? In addition to SAP’s technology innovations, industry analysts have rated SAP as the market leader in BI and the enterprise mobility space.4 Also, SAP ranked above other competitors in features as part of the first collaborative decision making vendor comparison report from Gartner.5 And with over 250,000 downloads, the SAP BusinessObjects Explorer app is helping more than 6,000 customers run better (see Figure 2). This mobile app was also featured in PCWorld’s list of “Top 15 Essential iPad Apps for Work.”6

Customers (by industry) who use SAP BusinessObjects Explorer on the iPad
Figure 2
Customers (by industry) who use SAP BusinessObjects Explorer on the iPad

You can learn more about SAP’s solutions for mobile analytics at and try SAP StreamWork at To see a demonstration of how SAP StreamWork and the SAP BusinessObjects Mobile app for iPad work together, go to

Nic Smith (; Twitter: @nicfish) is an enterprise software professional with deep expertise in business analytics and mobile technologies. He has led strategic business initiatives for large enterprise software companies such as Microsoft and Business Objects. In his current role, Nic manages the strategy and direction for Mobile Analytics and Business Intelligence technology at SAP and works with organizations around the globe to help them understand how they can make better business decisions from anywhere with mobility and business analytics. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and communications from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia.

1 Gartner, “Gartner Executive Programs’ Worldwide Survey of More Than 2,300 CIOs Shows Flat IT Budgets in 2012” (January 18, 2012). [back]

2 Gartner, “Gartner Says New Relationships Will Change Business Intelligence and Analytics” (January 6, 2011). [back]

3 Pew Internet, “Understanding the Participatory News Consumer” (March 1, 2010). [back]

4 Biztech2, “SAP Worldwide Market Share Leader for BI: Gartner” (April 9, 2012). [back]

5 Gartner, “Who’s Who in Collaborative Decision-Making” (September 2011). [back]

6 PCWorld, “Top 15 Essential iPad Apps for Work” (November 10, 2010). [back]

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