Actuate, a supplier of a Business Intelligence (BI) technology platform called ActuateOne (and the originator of the open-source BI platform BIRT), believes that the iPad and other similar devices are fundamentally changing BI.

BI Gone Mobile

This quarter, Actuate has released mobile applications for the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android for ActuateOne. The company now supports the iPad on two applications: BIRT Mobile for iPhone, which is free, and is also the universal client for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad; and BIRT Mobile HD, which is exclusive to iPad and includes printing and email support for a fee of US$ 7.99.

Each requires either a subscription to BIRT on Demand, which is a hosted BI service offered by Actuate, or an in-house installation of Actuate BIRT which generates and publishes the BI content.

BI brings business purpose to the iPad, which currently carries strong executive cache,” said Jeff Morris, vice president of product marketing at Actuate. “As the in gadget for executives, the iPad provides a sense of connectedness to the operation, and beyond email, BI is the other way to stay connected via dashboards and interactive content.”

iPad Adoption Overtaking iPhone

He believes that such is the speed of uptake of this device that some vendors may be taken by surprise. To survive, they must recognize that this trend is happening faster than they realize.

Case in point: iPad adoption of the Actuate iPad applications is 50% higher than iPhone, despite the fact that the application has been available for less than half the time.

One of the big benefits of the iPad is the utility of being connected all the time to corporate information whether at their desk or roaming mobile,” said Morris.

But he warned potential users to watch out for non-native applications that do not support the breadth of functionality found in the device and to recognize that the iPad will face significant competition from Android and Windows tablets, too. It will take time to see which device provides the best functionality to business applications.