Mobile BI is hot. No wonder that the new IBM Cognos iPad app has been getting a lot attention. My initial review from a few days ago was quite popular (Thanks for spreading the word!). The same is true for the quick report about Cognos 10 on the iPhone. It’s been pretty hectic since then, but I finally had some time to sit down and play with the app a bit more over the past two days. In particular, I wanted to check out the online capabilities. One of the great things about the app is that you can use it offline and online – truly a mobile BI solution.
COGNOS iPAD APP ONLINE
Connecting to my Cognos 10 server was straight forward. I just entered the regular server URL, user ID and password. The app connected without a glitch. All my folders were immediately accessible and I was able to browse through the content using the regular iOS gestures. Instead of browsing you can also perform a search: Click on the magnifying glass, enter a search term and the app will return the relevant objects.
DASHBOARDS IN ACTION
The server I was working with is used to run the extremely popular IBM Business Analytics Experience workshop. I chose a bunch of reports and dashboards that were developed to run on a regular PC. The iPad app loaded them without hesitation and they looked just as beautiful if not better than on a regular laptop screen.
Reviewing the charts and tables is a lot of fun on the iPad. What I enjoyed best though, is the ability to interact: put your finger on a certain data point in a chart and the app will provide the according value in a small bubble. If you want some additional info, just click on the little i icon in the bubble and you will get additional context.
DRILL DOWN/ UP
Drilling up and down is just as simple as well. Put your finger on a data point and select drill down/ up. It’s easy and intuitive. Much better than a mouse click.
Getting connected to the Cognos server was easy. All I need was the standard URL, user name and password. It didn’t take any time at all. My regular desktop content worked well on the iPad just like on the iPhone. We did not have to do any kind of re-coding or re-formatting for the iPad (I ran 11 different dashboards). Navigation was intuitive and working with the mobile BI content is a lot of fun. There is something cool and magic about touching your data – a phenomenon that many of us have noticed – let’s call it the “iPad goggles”…
If you have not had a chance to see the app, make sure to download it from the iTunes app store.