For years, people have discussed the issue of data accessibility and the need to have information available at their fingertips, so they can deliver important insights to their workforce from mobile devices. However, this hasn’t always been possible for various reasons. These include:
- There was previously no dedicated mobile app for business intelligence, which forced businesses to implement bespoke and costly solutions, with multiple versions required to maintain Android and iOS compatibility
- Data was ‘out there’ in the business, but trapped in silos and in a format that was unsuitable for BI
- Mobile data bandwidth was too slow for large amounts of data to be downloaded and was often distributed in Excel via email, meaning it was out-of-date when sent
- Mobile screens were not big enough to consume the information effectively
Unlock exciting opportunities
However, with modern solutions like Power BI, all the necessary tools are readily available, allowing users to build scalable enterprise strength solutions that can be accessed through a range of devices, including desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile. With this platform, your business can perform the following tasks:
- Extract data from your company’s systems, including accounts, CRM, stock, etc. You can apply business logic, deduplication and filtering, before loading info into Power BI, known as ETL (Extract, Transform and Load)
- Build a data model that enables KPIs (Sales Revenue Target) and measures (Revenue Year to Date) to be defined. Defining a well thought out data model is extremely important, so we will elaborate on this in a separate blog
- Build Reports, dashboards and apps in Power BI, so that targeted information and insights can be delivered to departments and teams throughout your business. For example, multiple dashboards can be delivered to different audiences by defining separate Power BI apps for various teams within your business
- Define your security model so that the data contained in the dashboards is targeted and relevant to each audience
Utilising the mobile app
Once the dashboard/report components have been designed and built (KPI, graph, grid, slicer), then the same component can be utilised for the mobile view or in other Microsoft 365 products, such as CRM, Power Apps, Teams or SharePoint.
The mobile view designer in Power BI is straightforward to use, as it allows you to place the components you need for a mobile view of your pre-built dashboard onto the mobile canvas. Here you can customise the layout so that numbers/text is bigger, and visuals are placed appropriately for scrolling in a portrait layout.
Accessing dashboards and reports on your mobile phone or tablet is easy as there are apps available in the Apple and Google App Store ready to download. Simply install, login with your Power BI account details (Office 365 subscription login) and you are good to go.
Data on your mobile will be refreshed as per the defined schedule in your Power BI solution, but you can refresh the dashboards at any time by simply ‘swiping down’.
Finding the right solution…
The standard mobile functionality is available to users, such as integration with Siri, the ability to annotate and comment on dashboards and share data with colleagues. It is also secure with Face ID protection to prevent unauthorised access to the Power BI app.
There is no additional cost to use the Power BI mobile app, but you will need a Power BI Pro license which is generally priced at £7.50 per user per month. However, it’s worth noting that there are volume discounts that can apply.
With this in mind, careful consideration is needed to decide who in your organisation requires access to Power BI as the costs can quickly escalate. Of course, the mobile app has given users the tools needed to access and share data remotely, but it’s important to remember that there is still some work to be done before your organisation can unlock its benefits.
If you need help finding and implementing a flexible BI solution for your business, then contact our in-house team of experts and begin strategising your future.