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May 09, 2011


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Great post Cindi, and quite fair.

I certainly agree that users will get best results if documents are formatted specifically for the target device.

As for the choice of browser vs native app, I think it is important to bear in mind that native apps must be delivered through native app stores. This makes it slower and more difficult to deliver updates and fixes - and it's less reliable to ensure updates are applied.

With BI becoming ever more mission-critical, being unable to push an update to users promptly seems to me a tough price to pay for the prettier UI of a native app.

Donald Farmer
Product Advocate

(Views are my own and do not necessarily reflect QlikTech policy.)

Mark Montgomery

Good advice here -- hope people are doing their homework. I particularly appreciate "what's good for vendors is not necessarily good for customers", and "be prepared for change".

It's a very fluid market that appears to be in the early stage of technology driven convergence, not to be confused with market consolidation, meaning fewer acronyms needed in the enterprise, although given the guilds we can expect aggressive hype, defense, and protectionism to continue.

Good work.

Mark Montgomery
Founder & CEO

Cindi Howson

Hi, Donald,
Thank your for the comments. To clarify, though, native apps do not "have" to be distributed via itunes (or BlackBerry World). That they can be is of course a benefit for customer-oriented apps. I also do understand from a vendor perspective that Apple's 30% cut of revenue for these apps may seem unfair. I could argue both sides of the fence here about monopolistic tendencies vs maintaining tight control so we don't get into the mess that we have with Windows viruses and security issues.

However, when an app is not distributed via itunes and is only distributed internally at a company, the apps does have to be digitially signed to be enabled to work with the device. I have not heard that this causes a delay in the distribution and development process.



Thanks again.
For iOS, native apps can be delivered in-house using an Enteprise AppStore if they are developed in-house and signed, but external apps cannot be distributed this way. There is an ad-hoc distribution model, but only to 100 users or fewer.

And yes, the 30% cut is painful. But I don't think any BI vendor would get rich from AppStore anyway. :-)

Nevertheless, I do agree that there is a good discussion to be had about whether open or controlled distribution is appropriate. I certainly sit on either side of that fence.

Mark rightfully points to your comment that "what's good for vendors is not necessarily good for customers." Very true. However, as both a vendor and a customer, I am sure that software that cannot be easily and effectively serviced is not good for anyone.

It is generally a good practice to "follow the money" when looking at a vendors' decisions - and you're doing a good job of keeping us all honest. But in this case, serviceability and manageability is really important too.


Wayne Eckerson

It seems to me that the future of mobile BI architectures is hybrid.... with processing distributed across all layers (client, server, database). This is similar to the client/server battles of the 1990s when apps came out on desktops, then the Web (with thin clients) and now we mostly have client/server apps with either desktop or "thick" Web browsers (with lots of Javascript or applebts) running against remote servers.

Anyway, most native app providers are making their apps more universal in nature. (Mellmo compiles to any device operating system), while Web app vendors are making their apps more performant and user friendly with native features delivered via the OS through the browser or HTML5 or both.

In the future, your mobile BI architecture will be more a matter of historical orientation than feature/functionality.


This is a very balanced and brilliant article with a much wider coverage than the title suggests
A topic that I would add in favor of native apps is the push mode. I think of one the key benefits of Mobile BI is to propagate alerts (although I'm unsure that the tools in general have done a good job in this area at that time).
To manage that properly you need at least a little bit of code running continuously on the mobile

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