Author Archives: Cynthia Davis

The Modern Mobile BI Boom

The concept of modern, mobile BI has undoubtedly crystallized with the advent of smartphones, tablets and phablets. It’s no surprise users now demand access to the same level of sophistication to which they are accustomed via computer screens on their consumption devices of choice.

Shortly after the exciting PASS Summit, Forerunner Software continues in it’s vital mission to help organizations create mobile BI strategies and unleash SSRS to different departments and first time end users who need cost effective access to sales and operational data.

“Any technology vendor can claim to offer innovative products and groundbreaking technology, but only a select few such as Forerunner can truly impact end users productivity anywhere, anytime, on any device,” states Forerunner Founder Jason Carlson.

While most BI visual front ends still use technology not supported by mobile browsers (Silverlight, Flash, etc.) and smaller screens have to accommodate the same amount of information, Mobilizer 3.0 is capable of delivering visually compelling, interactive, easy-to-use dashboards and reports to business executives and workers wherever they are.

With a patent pending respondent UI, Mobilizer 3.0 automatically resizes and aligns to the left on mobile devices and end user subscriptions to emailed reports can now be had in two clicks. Mobilizer supports all Reporting Services functionality and therefore you can design your reports any way you want— taking full advantage of the power of SSRS, with no additional development, training or security protocols required.

What Forerunner Software’s Mobilizer 3.0 isn’t? It’s not an advanced analytics tool that costs millions of dollars or even thousands per user. Mobilizer is licensed the same as SQL Server, per core, so there are no per user charges and with every production license purchased test and development and included for free. Boom.

We know mobile BI using SSRS is on your list (we checked it twice)

You’ve certainly written many reports using SSRS. Now you wonder why there is no quick and painless way to make all of your existing reports available via all browsers and devices. The good news is—–there actually is!

Yes, all of the prolific iPhones, Androids, Tablets, Macs and Windows devices carried around can now be used for accessing reports and our patent pending technology automatically optimizes the UI to work beautifully on all screen sizes.

Jason Carlson, the original architect of SSRS, has developed a product that’s been on your wish list for quite some time (we know–we checked). Unlike other mobile BI solutions, Mobilizer has no per user charges and includes developer and test licenses at no additional cost with the purchase of a production license.

Now is the time to check off your list and we’re confident Mobilizer will be a great solution for you by leveraging your existing skills and investment in SSRS to deliver true mobile reporting for everyone.

A Bright Idea Brought to you by Forerunner Software

Microsoft’s SQL Server Reporting Services (SRSS) has a full set of tools and services that help you manage reports. Noticeably lacking, however, is the ease of use and the ability to generate reports on the fly via any device or browser. The Report Viewer control does not support MVC applications and is still an HTML4 WebForms control. Today HTML5, MVC and mobile are must haves.

SSRS, while very powerful, simply does not support modern devices such as iPhones and Androids or browsers such as Chrome, Safari and Firefox. Users want to be able to generate their reports through an easy point and click or touch and swipe features and are demanding modern applications that support all devices and work fluidly without reloading the entire page.

Mobilizer is fully tested on all browsers and devices and powered by a set of HTML5 jQuery widgets and server code that easily embeds SSRS reports into your modern application. Mobilizer also includes a complete standalone end user application that needs no additional development.

Forerunner Software Founder Jason Carlson utilizes his experience in leading teams at Amazon and Microsoft to provide innovative offerings. His development philosophy is driven by the needs of business users and Forerunner Software proudly provides the most robust, multiplatform data integration and presentation capabilities as possible for corporations and ISVs.
Simple to setup, Mobilizer is easy to manage and allows you to take immediate control of your company’s mobile world. Download your free trial today or contact us at Sales@Forerunnersw.com.

Anyone Can Make a Real Time Decision Faster than a Frog Can Snap a Fly

Sure, but based on what? SWAG? (And no, not the kind of Stuff We All Get at trade shows—–the other kind of scientific SWAG.)

As research firm Forrester continues to write about agile business intelligence (BI), wherein organizations of all sizes are revamping their data management environments for agility, flexibility, and responsiveness to address ever-changing customer expectations, it’s become clear that faster is not the same as more agile.

However, speed does matter. According to Forrester, individuals within organizations just starting their journey to evaluate and adapt BI technologies like in-memory, cloud, mobile, and big data are already behind the times because their peers and competitors are currently reaping multiple business benefits by running the latest and greatest technologies available.

One of our customers initially chose our unique Mobilizer to unlock SSRS for a specific business unit which really needed true mobile reporting, for instance, and informed us what’s most appealing about Mobilizer is the ability to not have an app in order to make this happen for their BYOD and browser agnostic policies. In this particular case, they focused on improving the ability of their organization to change direction proactively and respond to changes in their environment.

Forrester believes that 2015 will serve as an inflection point where companies that successfully harness technology advantageously will create clear competitive separation from those that do not.

Forerunner Software had a Fantastic Week at PASS 2014

Fresh off record-breaking attendance and its biggest program ever with 5,900 registrations from 56 countries, PASS Summit 2014 last week brought the world’s largest SQL Server and business intelligence conference back to Seattle for learning and connecting and is slated to return again to Seattle next year in October of 2015.

Our Forerunner Software team members and Director of Development, Jon Totton, personally provided live, interactive demonstrations of our unique Mobilizer which transforms SSRS for true mobile reporting across all devices and browsers. Most interesting to our audience at PASS proved, in part, to be not only that Mobilizer supports all reporting functionality of SSRS for viewing reports, but also Mobilizer’s hierarchical tree view for cascading parameters—probably the most requested improvement to SSRS parameters since 2005. Mobilizer’s named parameters sets (which can be saved per report or per user) also resonated loudly with PASS attendees, as did our auto complete filtering on long list parameters. Not to mention that since Mobilizer does not require an ActiveX Control it solves the common printing problem faced by many.

Based not very far away from Seattle in Redmond, WA, back at Forerunner Software HQ we witnessed the Twitter feed exploding via the #summit14 and #sqlpass hashtags and connected via online interaction, thanks to the bloggers and tweeters broadcasting live updates from the daily sessions and PASStv, which made it’s debut at PASS Summit in just 2012 and now what would we do without it?

All in all a fantastic week at PASS last week and, as our Forerunner Director of Development Jon Totton states, “Already I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us at PASS Summit next fall.”

Want to Extend Your Workspace Outside the Office and Turn Mobile Mayhem into Magic? Meet Mobilizer by Forerunner Software.

Recently, Ventana Research CEO and Chief Research Officer Mark Smith suggested that mobile BI technology can substantially improve an organization’s communication and collaboration, but noted that the keys to an effective BI deployment center on making the technology as accessible, usable and adaptable as possible. Their research on next-generation business intelligence found that usability is the most important evaluation criteria for BI technology, outpacing functionality by 49% and manageability by 47%.

Mobilizer is built from the ground up for you by the original architect of SQL Server Reporting Services to completely optimize your end user experience of SSRS for true mobile BI reporting. With a patent pending resonant UI which automatically recognizes the size of your device of choice—be it a laptap, tablet, phone or phamblet–Mobilizer offers unique usability and allows you to have a significantly better end user experience.

There is no doubt we need smarter business intelligence solutions designed not just for analysts, but for all business roles and those who need to access and use BI information. The increasing adoption of browser agnostic policies and bring your own device (BYOD) has empowered workers to have a say in the technology they use to perform their jobs and, in regard to Technology Adoption Trends, a 2014 IT Report states that, on average, IT Pros support 92 smartphones and 38 tablets across their organizations.

Mobilizer supports all Reporting Services functionality for viewing reports so you can design your reports any way you want and view them across all devices (as noted) and browsers—IE, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. Now, suddenly you have the simplicity you need to achieve success with a mobile BI implementation and, if you desire to hand out candy to tiny ghosts and goblins with smart phone in hand, then so be it.

As the recent Ventana Research survey found, while costly comprehensive high end data visualization solutions can add value, they should not come at the expense of usability as employees are more likely to ignore technology they can’t figure out—an expensive mistake to make indeed. Simple BI strategies are the best way to get everyone on board—or off board, if you so desire. Where ever, whenever and whichever device or browser you choose to use—Forerunner Software’s Mobilizer turns mobile mayhem into magic. Download your free 30 day trial today to test on your own reports at www.forerunnersoftware.com.

Mobile BI investments and the ROI of Better Decision Making

Want a unique challenge? Try justifying the value of mobile business intelligence (BI) investments. Both analysts and end users alike agree there is no straightforward ROI equation and that it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to calculate the ROI of better decision making.

Benefits of mobile BI projects are too often “soft” or intangible, as compared to other IT systems that replace manual processes or expensive headcount. While there may be some ROI metrics that support a business case, BI projects require executive sponsorship and visionaries within an organization with extreme collaboration between IT and the various lines of business.

Noting the difficulty of justifying BI’s price tag as an IT overhead cost, Gartner points to the need for IT to work with business users to figure out the business value of a BI application. At Forerunner Software our customers often look to their business users to justify the value of their mobile BI projects. They look to both hard and soft measures, such as where mobile BI deployments will either reduce costs or increase productivity, agility, and sales for competitive advantage. They ask questions such as, “How many clients will this new Mobilizer help us gain and retain?” and “How can we cost effectively improve visibility and accountability?”

Even without hard metrics, the soft benefits that executives and employees appreciate are the intangible benefits mobile BI brings of strategic value, better, more informed and faster decision making and more productive users.

We invite you to get in touch with us to learn how we can help you modernize your mobile BI initiative with Mobilizer. Better yet, download your free 30 day trial of Mobilizer at www.forerunnersw.com today to unlock the power of SSRS across all of your devices and browsers.

How to Deliver Mobile BI for All at a Fraction of the Cost and Time

Lately it seems one of the IT Department’s new responsibilities is to collect as much data as possible and imaginable — from written and electronic data to images, voice and video. Business intelligence tools and technologies are then used to gather, provide access to, and analyze data and information about company operations, with the goal of allowing people to use the information to make faster and more informed business decisions.

BI and mobile BI tools and solutions are already key business process drivers within today’s enterprises. A surprising truth is the fact that you and your company already have a mobile BI solution—you simply don’t realize it. Think about it—you have a server-based reporting platform that provides comprehensive reporting functionality for a variety of data sources and unlocks information trapped in silos and scattered throughout your enterprise. It’s known as SQL Server Reporting Services.

SSRS unlocks the power of SQL Server and our unique Mobilizer unlocks the power of SSRS across all devices and browsers for true mobile reporting. This gives you the anywhere, anytime, any device or browser access, flexibility and ease of use of an engaging, end user optimized solution with which you are already familiar. No additional development or training is needed.

Since mobile BI has emerged as a strategic initiative and investment priority for companies the mindset has shifted toward the knowledge that BI tools must not be limited within an organization to specific groups, departments or Power BI Users. In order to maximize the adoption of BI solutions within an organization all employees should have access to the information they need to make the most informed business decisions possible. To learn more about our unique Mobilizer (which has no per user charges) check out our short video and visit www.forerunnersw.com.

The Demand for Dashboards – One Example of the Consumerization of Business Analytics

It’s not new news—no one really wants to standardize on a particular mobile platform and numerous corporations by the thousands are embracing BYOD, BYOT and browser agnostic policies.

By doing so they are leveraging employees iPhones, iPads, Android phones and other devices to improve productivity and transform how mobile executives and field users consume data and make better, informed business decisions.

Mobile BI is now a must-have channel and companies are enabling mobile dashboards for the workforce. Further fueling adoption of mobile BI as we move away from the “shrink to fit” method of simply downsizing for the smaller, mobile screen, Forerunner Software has introduced our patent pending resonant UI which has been requested by and extremely well received by our users.

Put simply, Mobilizer 3.0 now recognizes the size of the device you’re using and automatically resizes and adjusts for you. For example, on a smart phone with only a few inches of screen real estate it aligns to the left so you can now scroll up and down. The result is true mobile reporting and happier users.

For organizations that want and need to have a user-friendly reporting environment, dashboards are one of the newest features added in Forerunner Software’ unique Mobilizer 3.0, which unleashes SQL Server Reporting Services across all of your devices and browsers so that you can work from anywhere and still make on-the-spot decisions and review dashboards to compare unlimited reports.

Mobilizer’s dashboard feature allows you to select multiple reports to be displayed on a single page and are easy and fun to add, create and edit. The feature is also extensible and optionally localizable for language specific versions in addition to English, if needed.

New dashboard templates can be added and styled based upon CSS styles. Newly created dashboards will show up in the UI and become integral parts of the Mobilizer application. With no per user charges, Mobilizer cost effectively and significantly expands the population of mobile BI users to include a more mainstream audience: you.

We invite you to get in touch with us to learn how we can help you modernize your mobile BI initiative with Mobilizer. Better yet, visit www.forerunnersw.com and download your free 30 day trial today.

The Natural Progression of Analytics or How to Practice What you Preach

In today’s era of “Big Data” most organizations already have or are in the midst of developing a mobile BI strategy and analytics departments are now expected to do amazing things to improve and increase business intelligence, agility and competitive advantage.

The difference is in the past and the present: basic or even deep dive reports with dashboards and scorecards display data that has already occurred. For long-term planning and decision making you need query drilldowns in which the data can be sorted and explored in great detail which allows for insight into the data. Why did past events occur as they did, for example?

Better yet, moving into Statistical Analysis gives insight and useful information about the future. At Forerunner Software, for instance, we use a regression model to optimize operations, assist with resource allocation and tweak our marketing strategies to match our level of anticipated sales. By doing so we move from simply observing data from past events to leveraging this data to give us insight and information about the future.

Forecasting for near future and predictive modeling are powerful tools that then come into play for market targeting and segmentation. How many of our free 30 day trial downloads of our unique Mobilizer for mobile BI via SSRS will occur this week? Of those, how many will be activated? Or, with which of our prospective customers will the no per user charges for Mobilizer be most likely to resonate? Then: Why? How important is cost effectiveness and ROI for most organizations? Lastly, we optimize in order to make better decisions going forward, which allows us to bring even better value to our customers.