Ten Questions To Develop Your Mobile Business Intelligence Strategy

Kaan Turnali

Ten Questions To Develop Your Mobile Business Intelligence StrategyIn my post “Mobile BI” Doesn’t Mean “Mobile-Enabled Reports” I articulated the importance of developing a mobile business intelligence (BI) strategy. If designed, implemented, and executed effectively, mobile BI will not only complement the existing business intelligence framework, but it will enable organizations to drive growth and profitability.

For the next ten weeks, I want to chart a course that will highlight the key questions you need to ask before embarking on a mobile BI journey. This is the critical first step in validating mobile BI readiness for any organization, whether it’s a Fortune 500 company, a small-to-medium enterprise, or a small team within a large enterprise. The size or the scope of the mobile BI engagement doesn’t negate the need for, or importance of, the preflight checklist.

Think about this for a moment. Would a flight crew skip the preflight planning because it expects only a small number of passengers on the flight? No, and we shouldn’t skip it either. We want to evaluate and identify any issues before the takeoff.

It doesn’t matter in what order you answer these questions. What matters is that you consider them all as you work to develop a comprehensive strategy that will set you up for success.

1. Executive Sponsorship
Do we have an executive sponsor? It starts and ends with executive sponsorship. As with any engagement, this not only ensures alignment with business strategy but also the attainment of required resources.

2. Security
How do we mitigate risks associated with all three layers of mobile BI security: device(s), mobile BI app, and data consumed on the app? Is there an existing corporate security policy or framework that can be leveraged?

3. Enterprise Mobility
Do we have either a formal enterprise mobility strategy that we need to align with or a road map that we can follow?

4. Technology Infrastructure
Can our current IT and BI infrastructure, which includes both hardware and software, support mobile BI? Are there any gaps that need to be addressed prior to going live?

5. Design
Do we have the know how to apply mobile BI design best practices, whether it’s for dashboards or operational reports? Does the existing software support effective use of metadata and modeling to leverage the “develop once, use many times” design philosophy?

6. Talent Management
Do we have internal talent with the required skill set that includes not only technical expertise but also soft skills such as critical thinking?

7. Support Infrastructure
Do we have a sufficient support infrastructure in place to ensure that both business (content, analysis) and technical (access, installation) challenges are addressed in a timely manner? Do we have the right resources to develop effective documentation? Can we leverage existing IT and/or BI resources?

8. Communication
What will be our communication strategy in the pre-and post-Go Live phase? How will we update the user community on a regular basis?

9. Business Processes
Are there any business processes that need to be updated, changed, or created to support the mobile BI assets? Are these changes feasible and can we complete them prior to development to ensure proper testing and validation?

10. System Integration
Are there any requirements or opportunities for integration with other internal apps, business systems, or processes?

Many of these topics are not unique to mobile BI. Moreover, additional areas of interest such as project management or quality assurance (testing) are assumed to be part of the existing IT or BI framework. Although these initial questions may seem extensive at first, their primary purpose is to provide a checklist.

I subscribe to the notion that strategy planning for any engagement—not just IT projects— should invite questions that promote critical thinking. Only by encouraging questions can we make sure that we ask the right questions.

What key questions do you see as critical to the development of a comprehensive mobile BI strategy?

Stay tuned for my next blog in the series, Ten Mobile BI Strategy Questions: Executive Sponsorship.

If you want to read more on mobile BI, you can find other blogs in the series here.

Follow me on Twitter (@kaanturnali) and connect with me on LinkedIn.


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Make No Mistake: Mobilization Will Transform Business

Diarmuid Mallon

The Mobilization Opportunity is Bigger Than Ever

Make No Mistake: Mobilization Will Transform BusinessMobile technology is transforming business—way beyond company email on our smartphones. Mobile’s next phase promises new and exciting business opportunities that challenge our notions of what’s possible.

In the past, talk about mobilization has focused on the workforce or the customer. But now we know the opportunity is bigger than that. What companies really need to do is consider how mobile can improve every aspect of their operations.

At first, mobilization in business was reactive: employees started bringing their mobiles to work and IT tried to keep up with the trend by keeping things secure.

Now, there’s an opportunity for companies to be proactive: step back and strategically consider everything they do in light of how mobility can improve it.

IDG and SAP (my employer) have a new mobile playbook about this very thing. It’s called How Mobility Can Transform Your Business, and it’s the first in a three-part series of playbooks that I’ll be profiling this week and next.

There’s also a shift in focus from “consumerisation” and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) coping strategies to a platform-centric view. From the guide:

Here’s a sure sign that mobile application development is rising in importance: Gartner has coined a new term for it. The analyst firm is moving away from older mobility infrastructure terms—mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP) and mobile customer application platform (MCAP)—and embracing mobile application development platform (MADP) as a new category for its Magic Quadrant.

So, yes, mobile will help employees work more efficiently, by allowing people to get work done when they’re out of the office just as if they were in the office. That’s an easy one, and largely already realized. Going a step further, mobile can help workers communicate and collaborate, make common business tasks (like holiday time-off requests or timecard approvals) easier and faster. It may also help salespeople access real-time inventory when they’re sitting with customers, place orders on the spot and close deals faster.

Or, in the case of Standard Bank of South Africa, it might even be able to open up a previously untapped market, render brick-and-mortar infrastructure unnecessary to reach it, and shorten the time it takes to sign new customers up for bank accounts from 28 minutes to less than 10. (Results: 7,000 new bank accounts opened every day.)

See what I mean about opportunity?


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How To Use Big Data For Marketing Without Being Creepy

Jen Cohen Crompton

How To Use Big Data For Marketing Without Being CreepyBig data leads to relevance for consumers – do they want it? Yes.

Consumers want and expect relevance, and companies know that big data analysis can make their marketing and sales be relevant.

Consumer Data is the New Currency

Consumers trade their personal data for discounts, relevant marketing, and will basically sell their souls to the devil for perks. Okay, maybe consumers wouldn’t sell their souls for perks and marketers collecting the data aren’t devils, but there is a gray area and level of comfort that consumers feel when sharing their data in exchange for benefits.

Companies need to recognize and respect this gray area – and draw a solid line that is not crossed when marketing.

Now, this isn’t something new. It’s definitely an issue that has been around for ages, but  since companies are able to collect data through monitoring behaviors and tracking online actions, consumers are not always privy to what data is being collected and when they are actually sending their data to companies for analysis.

Since these valuable online actions provide big data and help marketers better understand what consumers want, how they act, and how to motivate, this data is essential in running a successful business.

So, let’s find that solid line in collecting big data and use it.

Marketing for Relevance Without Being Creepy

Today’s consumers are smart enough to know that companies know plenty about their habits, experiences, and preferences – and they expect companies to use that data to market appropriately. As much as consumers don’t love giving up their data, they will if it means a better experience. So use the big data to your advantage, but follow these three rules:

1. Let consumers know what is being collected and when it’s happening. Although you don’t have to do this all the time, figure out a nice way to ask permission for consumer information.

This rule reminds me of the day in 2010 when I went shoe shopping at (love them) and clicked on a few pairs. I left the site without making a purchase and when I went onto another site, I saw the same shoes pop-up in the Zappos ad on the right side of my screen. Not cool. Creepy, so don’t do that.

While I love Zappos and the strategy of targeting me and showing the products I just viewed, I don’t love the cookies on my browser that I didn’t know were installed. Simply let your consumers know what is happening on the site and consider sending emails for items left in their shopping cart (Victoria’s Secret does this in a sensitive way), rather than “following” them around on the Internet dangling the carrot in front of their noses.

2. Don’t trick them. Consumers don’t love receiving emails that are relevant when they don’t know how they ended up in the inbox. Even though a consumer might be interested in the latest tech toys that will help them save more money and be more successful, if they aren’t sure how you received their email address and ended up in the “to” field, they are more likely to question the “why” of the information rather than receive the value of the content.

3. Be open about opt-in and set expectations. When a consumer opts-in, many things happen. The first is that the company has a more qualified lead because that consumer specifically said that they wanted in. The second is that the consumer gets what they want. And the third, is that a relationship begins between the consumer and the company.

To keep this relationship growing, be sure that expectations are set during the opt-in process. Let consumers know what is happening – you are collecting their personal information to send them targeted emails once a week with messages about sales and project ideas. If that is what a company presents and delivers, it is a two-way street to mutual happiness.


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Who Are The Best Marketers?

Todd Wilms

Who Are The Best Marketers?Who are the best marketers out there right now?  Who are the leaders shaping the way businesses interact with their customers and the marketplace?  Big questions, right?  What is more important than “who” is doing it, is “what” are they doing to meet the ever-changing needs of customers and to deliver results for their companies.

The Sage Group has created an award program called Marketers That Matter.  More than just a way to present an award in a field that has few of them, it is a way to showcase and learn from marketers that are significantly impacting their company’s revenue. So, marketers – listen up! –  as I highlight great examples of how companies created alignment internally, created relevance for their audiences, and then embraced “the new” to deliver measurable results.

Create Internal Alignment

The marketer’s role is more critical than ever to achieving a company’s customer experience and business results, and we have more technology, data and innovation than ever before with which to do so; the biggest opportunity AND challenge is how to harness all of this to its full potential. –  Becky Saeger, Chief Marketing Officer (former), Charles Schwab & Board of Directors, eTrade

Engage the whole company.One finalist spent as much time launching the internal campaign as he did the external campaign. Focusing on the division’s 7,500 employees, from the night shift workers to the executives, he ensured everyone understood their roles as it pertained to the overall new brand. They used as many channels internally as externally including internal webcasts, videos, flyers, employee contests, sales training, and posters and more to engage and impact every customer touch point. The results? $600 million in new business the first year the program launched.

Align with other key leaders. Another finalist aligned sales and marketing by first working with the executive team to gain buy-in and change their perception that marketing was an art form incapable of measuring results. She did this by implementing RPM (Revenue Performance Management), a systematic approach to looking at revenue including drivers and impediments requiring implementing technologies and revamping internal processes. She then developed a strong relationship with the head of sales and together they created data-driven reports that allowed the organization to measure the impact of each investment two or three quarters out. The final results? The company was purchased by a Fortune 100 company for almost $2B.

Smart marketers are engaging and leveraging their internal organizations in ways that align the organization and deliver a consistent and valuable experience to their customer.

Create Relevance For Your Audience

Marketers of today need to deal with a transforming landscape and a very crowded, noisy marketplace. The challenge is to create a conversation that resonates with customers and translates into value add for the customer and measurable results for the company. –  Caroline Donahue, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer, Intuit

Engage & delight your customers. One great example, a small company used their own social media engagement platform to analyze a year’s worth of online conversations around what men and women want. After analyzing 27 million social media mentions, they learned that women want ice cream (more than shoes) and men want cars (more than sex). Since the end goal was to expand the company’s awareness of their platform to a new target audience, she launched at the “mecca” event for her target audience and spent all their funding sponsoring 5,000 walking billboards with a tagline saying “We Know What Women Want.” Of course, this created intense curiosity and lead them to the company’s booth, where they received an “I want ____” sticker. They generated well over 100% ROI, 450% increase in website traffic, and over 3,000 new contacts in their new target market.

Create unique experiences for your audience. A large company finalist created customer engagement at the 2012 Olympics by taking a passive, unconnected audience and using social media and a compelling organizing theme to connect fans with each other and with the athletes they were cheering for. They primarily used Facebook to deliver content and connect people worldwide, allowing the exchange of videos, text, and photos supporting their favorite athlete. In exchange, they got exclusive behind-the-scenes stories about their favorite athlete. After 26 years of sponsoring the Olympics, this approach was the most successful in the company’s history, resulting in significant brand equity lifts, 13% claimed product usage and 470 million earned impressions in 26 markets.”

Smart organizations are thinking about what the customer wants and needs as a way to present their ideas.  Instead of showing “my solution does X,” these organizations let the audience become advocates for the solution.  Pretty smart!

Embrace “The New”

The Marketer that Matters is able to evolve and adjust ahead of others to produce RESULTS THAT MATTER through new and unexpected ways – Rick Jackson, Chief Marketing Officer, VMware

Today’s smart marketers know that new technologies are essential to getting your message out.  But “world-class” marketers know how to put that idea into practice.  One great example:

Evangelize technology that makes you smarter. A large 200 year old company needed to transform its traditional offline publishing business to be a customer centric knowledge provider. With over 5,000 employees worldwide, rolling out the new CRM system with a minimal budget was challenging. Instead of the traditional rollout, they setup internal hurdles to determine who would get the budget and resources. To receive money, each business applies to the “CRM Fund” and competes for scarce “seed investment’. The application process requires: 1) measurable success metrics; 2) ROI targets along with several other specific metrics. The results? Upon launch in January, the CRM seed fund immediately received over two-dozen applications from various business units. Importantly, several businesses co-invested more than 50% of estimated costs to improve their opportunity for acceptance. With this funding, they’ve been able to launch new marketing technology platforms across all three of the company’s divisions. ”

Put best is how Lisa Gevelber, VP of Marketing for Google and one of the Council Members put it, “it’s about moments that matter.  It’s when brands bring the right message at the right time through the right channel to the right customer. It’s no longer pushing out generic messages but instead, delivering relevant, helpful information. As marketers, we’ve always wanted to do that.  Now it’s really possible.  Things like mobile devices allow us to tailor a message to a person’s context (like location or time of day) in a way that’s more useful to users than has ever been possible. The new digital world has brought greater speed, better data, incredible technology and new creative palettes – they all give marketers a huge helping hand.  Our goal is to reach customers with engaging and useful experiences they’ll love, remember, and spread.”

Who Are These Marketers on the Forefront?

This year’s finalists are included below.  To find out who the winners are, you need to wait until April 25th.  Congrats to this year’s finalists!



  • Ann Diederich, Director of Corporate Marketing, Intuit
  • Antoino Lucio, Chief Brand Officer, Visa
  • Chris Matthews, SVP Advertising Services Manager, Bank of the West
  • Francesca Schuler, CMO, BevMo!
  • Julie S. Washington, SVP & Chief Brand Officer, Jamba Juice


  • Amy O. Fitzgerald, VP Marketing, Ever After (former VP Marketing of LeapFrog)
  • Donna Wells, CEO, Mindflash Technologies (former CMO of
  • Kira Wampler, VP Marketing, Lytro
  • Sangita Forth, VP Brand & Marketing, Plum Organics



  • Chris Borr, VP Marketing (Former), McKesson
  • Laura Fay, VP Integrated Campaigns and Strategy, Cisco
  • Michelle Draper, SVP Marketing, Charles Schwab


  • Brent Remai, CMO, FireEye
  • Heidi Melin, CMO, Eloqua (former CMO of Taleo)
  • Jeff Yoshimura, VP Marketing, Ayasdi
  • Katy Keim, CMO, Lithium Technologies
  • Lisa Joy Rosner, CMO, NetBase
  • Nate Gilmore, VP of Marketing and BD, Shipwire



  • Cathy Price, VP Digital Marketing, & Jill Skinner, VP Customer Acquisition & New Media, Wells Fargo
  • Clay Stobaugh, SVP Corporate Marketing, Wiley
  • Laura Messerschmitt, VP Marketing, Outright, a GoDaddy Co.
  • Maria Poveromo, Senior Director, Adobe
  • Sandra Lopez, Marketing Strategy Director, New Business, Intel


  • Kira Wampler, VP Marketing, Lytro
  • Maria Sipka, CEO & Co-Founder, Linqia
  • Rick Mathieson, Brand Marketer, Mathieson
  • Robin Joy, VP Online & Mobile, DocuSign



  • Francesca Schuler, CMO, BevMo!
  • Laura Messerschmitt, VP Marketing, Outright, a GoDaddy Co.
  • Sandra Lopez, Marketing Strategy Director, New Business, Intel


  • Kat Gordon, Founder, The 3% Conference
  • Katy Keim, CMO, Lithium Technologies



  • Don Kingsborough, VP Retail Services, PayPal


  • Christopher Lukezic, Director of Communications, Airbnb
  • Donna Wells, CEO, Mindflash Technologies (former CMO of
  • Margit Wennmachers, Partner, Andreessen Horowitz
  • Susan Stimson, VP Marketing, Intersect ENT



  • Meredith Hoffer, Director of Marketing Google Chrome, Google
  • Wendy Harrington, EVP Global Marketing Services, Franklin Templeton


  • Ian Vacin, VP Marketing & Product, Xero



  • Matt Stander, Group Product Line Manager, VMware


  • Jeff Yoshimura, VP Marketing, Ayasdi


For more great advice on who is who and what is what in marketing, please follow Todd on Twitter @toddmwilms or LinkedIn.


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Why Showrooming Is Good For Retail

Kai Goerlich

The so-called showrooming effect, researching offline and buying online, seems to become one of the more serious retail problems in our modern hyper-connected world. But it might be good for retailers and even more surprising, nature played around with it for quite a while already.

Why Showrooming Is Good For RetailShowrooming is quite common behavior now and four of ten consumers showroom first and then purchase online, as already pointed out in Jonathan Becher’s blog. Retailers seem to lose customers to the online world and they react to it with price-matching guarantees or by running their own low-price online shop in parallel to their physical ones. As neither of these measures seems to be a good solution to the problem, I suspected that the issue might be more complex than simply shifting customers from offline to online but had no further ide how to tackle it.

Nature knows showrooming already

Then, while reading something about plants, I realized that I heard about the showrooming effect before. As you may recall from your biology sessions in school, flowering plants co-evolved with insects as pollinators, who do the vast majority of the pollinating job, getting nectar or seeds as an exchange for their service. Some plants even go that far in adding caffeine to their nectar, which boosts the memories of bees.

While this is a nice and clean biology text book example, what the teachers usually leave out is the fact that plants have to deal with other not so cooperative insects as well, insects that learned to bypass pollination and simply feed on the nectar without pollinating the plants. This is clearly not in the interest of plants and you may already see the similarity, as it is just as unattractive for retailers to give the showroomers a free products check, as the companies invested in their showrooms to invite buying customers.

Flowering plants and insects are around for millions of years, facing this problem for quite some time, and I assumed that showrooming might be more than just a disadvantageous business model. Browsing through the scientific literature (1,2), I found some interesting observations from the interaction between plants and insects. Mutualistic insects – those customers that come and actually buy – are specialists, while the exploiting insects – those customers that research and buy somewhere else – are generalists, visiting more than one plant species or shop.

So showrooming is not very brand oriented but rather purposive. Furthermore, plants that pollinate late in the season have an advantage, as the exploiting insects cannot damage as much but the plants get still pollinated. That sounds like a solution already, but defining “late” in retail might be difficult. However, insects counter the “late” strategy anyway, by placing themselves very early at the plant before the mutualists come in and – you probably guessed it – plants are responding by pollinating earlier, in order to avoid too much damage.

Constant change is the theme

So instead of a nice matrix, matching plant with insect behavior, we are confronted with a constantly changing system: in some years plants pollinate early, in others late or not at all, and insects have to adopt in return – an ever changing game. As a result, there is not close match between offer and behavior but plants and insects show several parallel operating modes of action.

This all is of course a result from a long and ongoing evolutionary process and transferring it to the business world may be oversimplifying. But I think it is save to conclude that there is no easy fix for showrooming, as it is a highly dynamic process. The co-evolution may have just started with the hyper-connected world but it will go on.

What nature shows as well is that retailers can adopt and minimize the damage. A start may be getting flexible and change the showrooming timings, while maintaining a tight communication with the loyal customers, using the up-to-date technologies and social media at hand. Offering coffee – as plants do – is an option as well of course. Whatever the outcome is, showrooming drives innovation and learning from it might give some retailers a competitive edge.

Kai Goerlich is a futurist at SAP and blogs about trends and foresight.

This post originally appeared on SCN – Business Trends and was republished with permission.


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