Mobile, mobile, mobile BI!  Powerful information delivery for anytime, anywhere analytics, getting answers to your questions when and where you need it most – in the field. If you folllow me, you know that I am obsessed with mobile. I have loved mobile apps since the  90s. I have been dying to write this post for a long time now. Honestly I was waiting to see if there would be any news announced at PASS BA Conference to add that info into this post since I get soooooooo many pings about mobilizing Microsoft BI. Alas crickets were chirping on the mobile BI topic – there was NO mobile news. So if you have pure Microsoft BI, the same limited, not ideal, but can work options that I showed you last year with HTML5, jQuery, SSRS 2012 SP1, Excel 2010/2013, Visio 2013, PerformancePoint, and SharePoint 2010/2013 with browser based mobile for iPad are still around. However, Power View is still Silverlight and thus not mobile-friendly. GeoFlow is  not mobile-friendly. The PerformancePoint right click feature to access menus broke late last year when Apple disabled that menu navigation option. I also would not recommend building any new  PerformancePoint content now that “Excel has been positioned as the future BI direction for Microsoft BI” at PASS BA Conference. There are still a wide variety of third-party mobile BI options you can use – Tableau being my favorite.

I first learned of Tableau’s mobile capabilities with Microsoft BI from Jen Stirrup, a Microsoft BI MVP, and since have fallen in love with it. Why do I love Tableau + Microsoft BI for Mobile BI?

1) Tableau’s  touch-optimized, business intelligence is available across a wide array of  mobile device types, browsers, and operating systems including Windows, iPad  and Android – native apps and browser based.  In the BYOD world we live in today, having wide device support is critical. Don’t limit your mobile BI consumers to one device type.

2) Mobile users can view, edit or even author new  visualizations on their favorite mobile tablets to not only view data but also ask on the fly questions in meetings or while on site to get  immediate answers.

3) With Tableau you can mobilize  the most popular Microsoft BI and other data sources including:


4) Tableau mobile business intelligence emphasizes usability. It is touch context sensitive. You can filter, scroll, pinch, zoom and it all just works without HTML5 coding hoops –  there are NO coding hoops.

5) Tableau has an author-once, view anywhere approach means that every dashboard you publish is automatically touch-enabled.

6) There are several APIs and a JavaScript API that can further expand customized mobile BI application integration of Tableau dashboards and views for internal use on SharePoint (with SSPI or Trusted Auth), web sites or externally. One of my favorite external mobile BI reporting implementations is the free INRIX Traffic application for mobile tablets and smart phones. You can download this app to your phone to see what I mean by the cool mobile BI custom application wrapper around Tableau views. INRIX is also a nice app to see how long it will take you to get from place A to place B in current traffic conditions or see how your city  rates when compares to other cities in wasted traffic time delays.

7) You can use Tableau to easily combine data from with many other enterprise platforms like SAP or IBM, not just Microsoft to fully leverage AGILE, mobile data discovery alongside your existing enterprise BI implementations. Tableau is not a rip and replace vendor – Tableau values supplementing many other vendor BI solutions for best of breed solutions.

8) You can install the fully functional Tableau Desktop app on a Windows Surface Tablet if you are a true, purist, die-hard Microsoft fan!


9) You can embed live Tableau visualizations in PowerPoint (I was  mad when the Power View export to PowerPoint was removed in Excel 2013…boo!) You can have that favorite feature with Tableau. Oh, and one more bonus. You can play/animate all Tableau views over time periods to see trends and patterns over time on maps, in bar charts, line charts, scatter charts, combination charts, and even in background image charts.  I have seen some amazing animated visual analytics applied to supply chain, finance, healthcare, retail, transportation, science, weather, and spatial analytics scenarios.

10) Tableau mobile BI has solid security. You can enforce existing security protocols and integrate with Active Directory via Tableau Server. If a user loses their iPad or Android tablet, simply disable their Tableau Server account and give them a new one. Sensitive data is not stored on mobile devices.

So that wraps up my Top 10 list for Why Tableau + Microsoft BI for Mobile BI. I am sure I could come up with many more reasons. To get started exploring and deploying Tableau mobile BI, check out your mobile phone or tablet app store to install and play with the latest free Tableau native mobile BI app samples. You can also download a fully functional, free trial of Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server to test it internally on your network – or – you can use the free Tableau Public option and publish your dashboards there to see what they look like from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection on your favorite mobile device.

Feel free to reach out to me if you want more information on this super hot mobile BI topic. Note that I will also try to provide a SlideShare deck and some videos like I have done in the past soon.