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Mobile Business Intelligence: Putting Information in the Palm of Your Hand

Businesses are making it increasingly easy for their workers to access business intelligence on the go. While the benefits of this trend can be felt enterprise-wide, how will it help those working in risk management?

This year, the Aberdeen Group has released two linked papers on mobile BI (business intelligence). They are both available with free registration:

Their message is clear: putting access to information in the hands of management and employees improves the timeliness and quality of decisions, and helps enable improved performance.

Mobile BI Benefits

Mobile BI refers to the ability not only to see dashboards and other visualization of information on mobile devices (tablets and smart phones), but in most cases to analyze that data directly on the device. Generally speaking, the device is connected over the internet to enterprise systems so that the data is current and subject to corporate internal controls.

Key points include:

  • 46 percent believe that mobile BI will give them a competitive advantage
  • The average time to make a decision is just 66 hours for those with this technology enabled compared to 190 days without


What does this mean to board members, risk and assurance professionals?

  1. Board members can get not only their board books on their iPad, but intelligent dashboards that enable them to drill down into and explore the numbers.
  2. Board members, executives and practitioners can get real-time alerts of changing conditions delivered to the palm of their hands for rapid response.
  3. Risk information can be delivered to managers, enabling them to make business decisions based on the risks today (assuming risk monitoring is in place).
  4. Practitioners can continue to monitor risk conditions even when not at their desks. In addition, they can monitor performance — and I continue to assert that Key Performance Indicators provide a window into how well risks are being managed.
  5. Internal auditors can explore CAATS on the go! This new technology is simple to use and will improve the quality of the audit.
  6. Internal auditors should consider the quality of information when assessing internal controls. After all, Information and Communication is a COSO component!

I welcome your comments and perspectives.

Editor's Note: Norman has a lot of great insights into the world of risk management. For more, why not read Information Security Study Shows Increased Risk, Insufficient Spending

About the Author

Norman Marks, CPA, is vice president, governance, risk, and compliance for SAP's BusinessObjects division, and has been a chief audit executive of major global corporations for more than 15 years. Norman is a recognized thought leader in the profession of internal auditing, frequent speaker and writer on governance, risk, and controls. Author of the Institute of Internal Auditors' popular guide for management to Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404, and their GAIT family of guidance products.

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