Roambi gives context to Business Intelligence numbers on iPad

Business is full of dramatic narratives, from CEOs with uniquepersonalities to soaring sales and market crashes to cutthroatcompetition. Inside a company’s massive storehouse of business data,you’ll often find nuggets that foreshadow what’s coming-that is, if you look hard enough and can make sense of it all.

Now mobile business intelligence app Roambiis helping companies tell the story behind the numbers on the iPad. “We’re combininganalytics with editorial to make a rich style publication,” saysQuinton Alsbury, president and co-founder of MeLLmo, makers of Roambi.

MeLLmo launched an iPad app viewer, called RoambiFlow, on the Apple App Store this week. Today, the companyreleased its back-end Roambi Flow Publisher content management system.Together, the tools enable companies to take their analytics data andwrap content, graphics and photos around the numbers, and then deliverthe magazine-like package safely and securely to specific iPad-totingemployees.

Employees open the iPad app viewer app and view the library ofdocuments available to them. After downloading one, they can flipthrough the pages and drill down into the numbers offline. For securityreasons, users won’t be able to open the document in other apps nor cutand paste content. They can e-mail a link of the document, but therecipient must have the right credentials to view the document.

However, iPad users can get around this by taking a screen shot of aRoambi Flow page by pressing Home and On-Off buttons simultaneously.The screen shot will appear in Photos and, of course, can be emailed.”There’s not much we can do about this,” Alsbury says.

The point of all this: Get the power of business intelligence into thehands of more people.

Business intelligence, often inthe form of numbers, has been hampered by a lack of understanding. Fewpeople were willing to look for the trends behind the numbers. Vendorstried to dress up the numbers by putting them into slick-looking chartsand, later, mobile devices. User adoption rose slightly.

With Roambi Flow, Alsbury hopes to bring business intelligence to themasses. He compares the accessibility of data between a PDF full ofcharts to The Wall Street Journal. Thelatter gives context to the same information, making it accessible tomore people. The Wall Street Journal, says Alsbury, “creates a cohesivestory line of what’s going on.”

The big question: Who is going to put Roambi Flow iPad pages together?

Like every content management system, RoambiFlow Publisher requires a bit of a learning curve. But the real troublewill be finding people who have the time and business intelligenceclearance to dig through the data, write about trends, and collectcharts and other graphics.

Initially, analysts and marketing professionals-those already taskedwith creating reports-will likely be Roambi Flow publishers. ButAlsbury’s vision of giving business intelligence to more employees willrequire a lot more content creators.

“Anyone in the company can use it,” says Alsbury.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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