Mobile Apps: Should we be on Cloud?

Several industry analysts predict that mobile applications will be accessed and executed directly from the cloud through a mobile web browser interface. The predictions say there will be mobile applications running 12 times more from cloud in 2016, as compared to 2011.

The advantages of Cloud Computing being done on a connected network are tremendous. This inherits the properties of cloud of having data on demand and the service providers managing the access. For the applications, they are run on a remote server, which reduces your capital costs and also share the advantage of sharing the infrastructure which is scalable. It has always been a history that the early players in adapting to new technology benefit the most in terms of adding business value through innovation and market strategies in meeting their customer expectations.

Application providers for Home Security Systems and similar services which allow users to create location based social networks have adapted Mobile Cloud Computing. Any application need, that requires social networks without having the geographic bindings have the future of Mobile Cloud Computing, for examples: Gaming, entertainment, education, shopping and supply chain.

Whereas, mobile solution providers such as appMobi, have started to offer integrated mobile browsers that allow users to access applications directly from the websites of their publishers, eliminating the need to go to an application store. This is possible through a mobile web browser interface built using HTML5. One of the HTML5 features enable offline application cache on the user handset, so that user may continue to experience an uninterrupted application service, even though he is not connected to the network or despite fluctuations in network service delivery. This feature is a strong facilitator to adapt to such upcoming technologies.

The current statistics of selling the tablets, smartphones and other mobile phones support the fact that mobile users will expect for Applications On -Demand in near future. Moreover, with the advent of 4G, the first-release Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard, mobile networks, which are fundamental for supporting large-scale mobile cloud deployment; users will experience better service accessing their mobile applications in the cloud.

When you have an application such as Citrix, and you’re hosting it in the cloud, it opens the door to delivering a wide range of high-end business applications,” says Shara Evans, chief executive at communications consulting firm Market Clarity. “High quality, high bandwidth 4G networks are providing the horsepower for a range of real-world business applications on-the-go.”

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How can BI technology create breakthrough for SMBs?

Comparison of cars based on Engine power

Comparison of cars based on Engine power

Which one of us does not carefully research about cars before purchasing one? If I were to purchase one I would be concerned about factors such as the cost, engine power, top speed, ground clearance and many others. These are the factors which will help me make the right decision on choosing a car best suited for my needs. Having identified the factors, I would need information about the various cars available in the market, especially with respect to these points. Now, if the data about these cars are available on their respective websites, then I need to labor to collect the data (from the websites, or brochures, say), put them next to each other and then make a comparison among them and then take an informed decision. This is quite a bit of work. However, if a car dealer who sells all these cars were to give me this information in the form of following charts, it makes a much easier reading and enables quick decision making.
Comparison of car based on Speed

Comparison of car based on Speed

Business Intelligence is like this and offers much more. The need for Business Intelligence is ubiquitous in today’s industry. This should not be surprising since BI in its rudimentary form is used by all of us in our everyday lives. As can be inferred from the previous example, Business Intelligence is indispensable for any organization regardless of its current size and or volume of revenues. In other words BI is needed as much for the SMBs as it is needed for the Blue Chip companies.

Why is BI so crucial for SMBs? Why would they need it? SMBs worldwide are faced with a situation to improve efficiency while managing costs. The following finding in Gartner research reveals something very telling: 50 per cent of all SMBs (small and medium businesses) will go out of business within three years if they can’t retrieve their data in 24 hours. An IBM research titled “Inside the Midmarket: A 2009 Perspective” goes even further – SMBs have started using BI not just to survive but to thrive.
One of the first things BI accomplishes for an SMB is to provide a single source of data for research and analysis from disparate sources of information. BI technologies help integrate data from databases, Access files, Excel spreadsheets, flat files and even emails into one reporting store. Data validation before collation is also a feature many tools afford. This way SMBs can save themselves the headache of collating tons of data, accumulated over a period of time, manually, and still lack confidence in its accuracy. At first an investment will be required to hire an IT partner to implement ETL (Extraction Transformation and Loading, as this process is known) but in the longer-run the benefits far outweigh the costs.

SMBs also need to understand their data to monitor and predict the health of their organization. Answers to questions such as
• What are my best-selling products? What is the profile of the customers who buy them? (say for a products company) or
• What is the number of website enquiries received in the last month? Which technology is most sought after for – SOA, BI etc? (for a company like mine!)

can be found using BI classification technology (also known as facts and dimensions). BI can enable the user to view the data from multiple angles – Product sales can be viewed in terms of quarters, sales representatives, customers, geographical locations– all at one time and without the need of actively involving the IT staff. Access to such information can pave way to those crucial business decisions that bring in much success.

In addition to this BI empowers the business user by providing reporting interfaces such as dashboards, slice and dice reports (where various factors can be dragged in or out), KPIs. Many of these reports are “very loose” in nature and can be customized by the business user to exactly build the report he desires. These reports can further be exported in well-known formats such as excel and flat files. SMBs can leverage these features to constantly get a bird’s eye view of their organization – an essential habit to follow even if they become an industry giant!

BI also provides tools to predict future trends for the organization by flushing out the existing data for not-so-visible patterns. This can help many SMBs have a competitive edge in the market and also predict its own future challenges.

Finally, setting up a BI Systems for SMBs may at first sight seem daunting. However, they can take comfort from the fact that many BI players are now concentrating more and more on providing them tools which can be set up in quick time and with limited investments. For example, Oracle recently announced its BI packages that are tailor-made for SMBs. Business Object’s BusinessObjects Edge 3.0 and Crystal Reports Server 2008 are specifically aimed at SMBs. Microsoft has always claimed that its tools are a cost-effective solution for SMBs when it comes to BI.

With all these advantages in view, every intelligently-run business will not shy away from embracing Business Intelligence.  If you’d like us to help you get a sense of your business through BI, contact us and we can work something out together.

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