The expanding global economy has created a near 24-hour business cycle. Since few managers spend that many hours in the office, many have turned to portable devices, smart phones, etc., to maintain connection to work while spending time at home. This has allowed a bit more work / life balance, even if the balancing is done through multi-tasking.
For these portable tools to be truly effective, the platform should be able to deliver information on business operations. Most all mobile phones today are capable of handling email and text messages. Yet a need exists to provide up-to-date performance measurements and business reports to portable devices. This would seem to be a costly technology upgrade, but a recent skim of the Apple App Store provided two interesting, and inexpensive, possible solutions.
“Roambi” is a portable link to your data environments, enabling visualization of performance metrics in several different graph formats. The tool currently links to MS Excel, some versions of Crystal Reports and SAP BusinessObjects, and some limited access to Salesforce.com data sets. It is small, easy to use, easy to install, and priced just right at, well, free.
“SAP BusinessObjects Explorer” is designed to connect to an SAP environment. In addition to graphic presentation of the data set, the tool offers a keyword search that provides a more intuitive research capability. Like “Roambi”, the tool is small, easy to install, and priced the same, free.
There are several other similar tools for Oracle platforms and Google analytics, as well as tools for broader data environments. Most all of the apps in the store have the same likable price tag, and provide various levels of search, presentation, and data manipulation. While these may not be “prime time” solutions just yet, as mobile data delivery tools most can meet the basic needs of today’s global managers. At the very least they can improve productivity while still giving managers some time away from the office.