Dashboard Insight recently spoke with Franz Aman about mobile BI and reporting solutions, over-the-air security, and why it's important to keep a pulse on the market.
Dashboard Insight: Can you tell us about the history of Mobile BI?
Franz Aman: SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI originated out of BusinessObjects Lab. Customers were able to download the software, provide extensive feedback before we produced and released it in 2007 with the rollout of XI Release 2. Since then, we’ve enhanced the product with new capabilities in each subsequent release of our BI platform – XI 3.0 and XI 3.1.
DI: Can you elaborate on SAP’s current line of Mobile BI and reporting solutions?
FA: SAP offers SAP BusinessObjects Mobile for customers looking to receive, view and interact with their reports and KPIs through mobile devices. For managing and transacting business processes, SAP offers a suite of Mobile solutions for customers looking to maximize productivity of these business processes. These offerings include solutions for CRM, asset management, direct store delivery, time and expense reporting, defense and security as well as a platform flexible enough to customize for any business process and any mobile device.
DI: How do you plan on continuing to meet mobile BI and reporting requirements, as devices and browsers change?
FA: By keeping a pulse on the market and working with our customers, we are able to evaluate the market demand for certain devices. The mobile platform we have selected to use allows us to be flexible in support for our customer’s preferences for mobile devices.
DI: SAP BusinessObjects Mobile supports a broad set of mobile devices including BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Symbian. Have you had any issues developing for any specific device platform?
FA: The challenge we see is centered on designing the user interface and user experience such that it is seamless for how each device works. To mitigate this risk we have developed partnerships with different platform vendors such as RIM, Microsoft, Symbian, etc. This helps us achieve the best native possible integration with those platforms. However the core functionalities are the same for all platforms and were easily ported from one platform to another.
DI: Security is a very important aspect of any BI application, what type of security options do you offer as part of your mobile BI solutions in terms of loss or theft?
FA: There are multiple aspects of security features in place so that information does not fall into the wrong hands. Over-the-air security includes:
- Encrypted messages between client and server using symmetric keys with a limited period of validity
- Cryptographic checksum at the end of each message
- Configurable encryption strength (up to 2048 bits)
Mobile also offers offline security. This includes features such as having an encrypted local store on the mobile devices and lease keys to access client application and data with configurable validity period.
DI: What is the process if someone wants to evaluate your mobile BI solutions?
FA: Customers are encouraged to speak an Account Manager and try out the product on their mobile device of choice.
DI: What can we expect to see from SAP BusinessObjects Mobile in the coming months?
FA: The upcoming release will provide better visualization and navigation support to enhance the user experience, making it easy for users to stay connected to the information they need.
Franz Aman is Vice President, Intelligence Platform Product Marketing, responsible for the business intelligence and information management portfolios of SAP. He joined SAP with the acquisition of Business Objects, where he drove the "Let there be light" rebranding. Mr. Aman's career has spanned more than 20 years in executive marketing and engineering positions (in the hardware and software technology sector) working for leading companies like Sun Microsystems and BEA Systems.