If your organization wants to use the iPad for internal Business Intelligence applications, then you have three main choices available:
- Build and deploy your own enterprise BI applications
- Build a web BI application and access it with the Safari browser on the iPad
- Use a pre-built BI application obtained from the Apple App Store
Let's consider for now just the third option. Who offers packaged BI applications straight from the App Store?
QlikView for iPad HD from QlikTech, a major European BI firm that is gaining ground in the United States. To use the BI iPad application, you need to have a QlikView Server supplying data to the handhold. To see the app in action, QlikView provides a demo server.
QlikView offers output in simple grid data views and nice graphs. There is basic selection capabilities that lets you pick parameters such as dates and dimensions. With the 3G iPad, QlikView is aware of your geolocation.
QlikTech has done a great job implementing QlikView on the iPad, supporting basics such as finger movements, portrait and landscape support, high-definition graphics, and integration with e-mail.
Actuate Corporation created an iPhone app for its open-source BI called the BIRT Mobile Viewer that works with BIRT iServer.
Another mobile BI app of interest is iTop from Danish BI firm TARGIT. Perhaps "iTop" refers to the fact that it sits on top of the TARGIT desktop BI product. The mobile app needs the latest 2K10 version of the TARGIT BI Suite. Written originally for the iPhone, TARGIT iTop also works on the iPad.
A key contender in the mobile BI space is the Roambi Visualizer from MeLLmo. This application is able to take data from files or other BI tools and present it visually on the iPad. It supports packaged applications such as Salesforce (some type of intial setup is required) and BI tools such as Excel, SAP Crystal Reports, SAP BusinessObjects Webi, IBM Cognos, and Microsoft Reporting Services. See this for more information.
We will probably see a slew of "BI viewers" coming to the iPad as well. For example, Sketch Reports from SketchMD allows you to display your Microsoft Reporting Services reports on the iPad.
Other Apple app developers are working on BI tools as well. Muchbetter offers iAnalytic apps for viewing SAP and Salesforce data. Leapfactor offers an iPhone app for viewing corporate KPIs and financial statements.
Other BI vendors such as SAS and MicroStrategy say they will release mobile BI offerings soon.