Mobile Microsoft Business Intelligence

Those leveraging the expansive power of Microsoft’s business intelligence solutions may have noticed that while other major business intelligence providers like Oracle, SAP, and IBM have launched applications to take their services into the mobile sphere, Microsoft has yet to make an official release. Oracle has released Business Intelligence Mobile for iOS devices, SAP launched Business Objects Mobile last year, and IBM has Cognos Mobile for BlackBerry and iOS devices. If you’re waiting on an official Microsoft release, there’s both good news and bad news.

The bad news is that it doesn’t appear Microsoft is planning on releasing a cross-platform mobile BI application anytime soon. The good news, though, is that this doesn’t mean you can’t experience dynamic, real-time Microsoft business intelligence solutions from your mobile device.

Microsoft has an expansive network of official partners, and the technology juggernaut is currently content to allow their multitude of partners to develop these in-demand applications. Applications like RoamBI, PushBI, and the upcoming Fetch! are just a few of the applications that will feature cross-platform integration, and there are plenty more applications available for Windows Phone 7 devices.

RoamBI’s free version integrates with Microsoft Excel, CSV, and HTML to allow users to create custom mobile dashboards, but also offers a premium version. RoamBI Pro is spendy, with a $99 yearly license fee, but for small groups within a business setting, the average monthly investment of $8.25 is a small spend for integration with Excel, CSV, HTML, Google Docs, and Salesforce. RoamBI also has an enterprise version (RoamBI ES3) that integrates with all of the previously-mentioned technologies, plus SAP Crystal Reports, SAP BusinessObjects, IBM Cognos, Microsoft Reporting Services, and Liferay Portal, though pricing on that is on a per-buyer basis and requires you to contact the creators. It’s currently supported on iOS devices as well as BlackBerry devices, but remains quiet on whether or not they will be launching an Android version. It’s just speculation here, but given the high demands and persistent requests on their forums, it’s difficult to imagine such a successful application developer completely ignoring this market share by not developing something for the Android OS.

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PushBI is another example of a cross-platform application that integrates with most major BI platforms (Microsoft, SAP, Oracle), and unlike RoamBI it currently features an Android version. PushBI has led to some mixed reviews from the limited amount of users who have taken the time to write them up, but keep in mind that this is a free application, so it’s not necessarily fair to line it up against a premium paid product like RoamBI.

The upcoming release of Fetch! is another application to watch for. It’s currently in the works, and if you contact the makers you can receive a free trial. It promises compatibility with Windows Phone, Android, and iOS devices, and boasts integration with SharePoint, PerformancePoint, SQL Azure, SQL Server, Salesforce, Oracle, and more.

The lack of an official Microsoft mobile business intelligence release is an unfortunate reality for the time being, but Microsoft users shouldn’t panic or consider switching away from its top-notch BI services. Take a look at some of Microsoft’s partners and the mobile efforts they’re pursuing. There are plenty of powerful solutions out there that can fit your needs without requiring a drastic switch.