In today's fast-paced, jam-packed work day, many people answer email and read reports after business hours. And more and more, they're doing those things on a smartphone or tablet. How are your users accessing and using your reports? Statistics South Africa has found that their end-users would prefer a mobile environment for accessing reports, so it has moved to a mobile BI platform.
Koketso Moeng says that Statistics South Africa has allowed its users to access internal sites from their smartphones for some time, but reading text heavy reports and tables on an iPhone can be frustrating. And even in the areas on the website where they were using visualization, the information still wasn't as accessible as they would have liked.
Choosing a platform
Moeng says the team had to carefully consider the level of security that would be offered. "We have a lot of very sensitive information that should not be released before it's time," he said.
Additionally, Statistics South Africa had to ensure that the platform integrated with its existing infrastructure. "We have invested a lot of money in our SAS environment and our operating environment," Moeng said. "So whatever we bring into that environment must integrate - you don't want to have to reshuffle things just to bring an additional tool into your environment."
Finally, Moeng's team wanted to make sure their users were happy with the platform so they would use it. They conducted focus groups to test the mobile BI on several platforms. "We said, 'Play around with these tools and give us feedback. Which ones do you like? Why do you like them? and Which one is most appealing to you?'"
Pinch, swipe, tap
They decided to go with Roambi because of the easy interface and many of the end-users were already using the iPad and iPhone. Moeng says there are "two flavors" of Roambi: Roambi Analytics produces beautiful graphics and with Roambi Flow, you can embed those graphics. This gives the end-user an interactive document that gives context to the data visualization.
"Configuration is very easy," says Moeng. In a SAS Enterprise Business Intelligence environment, it takes only a matter of minutes to configure. (Roambi runs off TomCat and MySQL.) Roambi uses the URL from your SAS Web Report Studio environment to interact with SAS.
As you can imagine, Roambi is touch-enabled - pinch, swipe and tap to access and manipulate the reports. Moeng did his entire presentation using Roambi Flow on an iPad.
In Moeng's paper, "Extending SAS Reports to your iPhone," you can read more about publishing reports and giving access to your end-users. Also check out what SAS Visual Analytics can do on the mobile.