Cloud applications are becoming easier to build

Software applications have gone into the cloud, we know this to be true. Of course there is no “real cloud” as such, it’s just another server in a data center powering your app, but you get the point. Software applications are now being architected (and built) to run in cloud computing based environments that are inherently well suited to online connectivity usage and therefore mobile.

Initial forays into this space for the software application development teams performing this work were extremely intricate and difficult jobs. If you wanted to roll out a cloud service (you could call it a ‘cloud app’ if you like), you would need to build custom-aligned backend database services, sign-on controls and a variety of ‘push’ services to service the application itself.

It’s all about the MBaaS

All this stuff is still pretty intricate and tough, but the sophistication now seen in MBaaS (mobile Backend-as-a-Service) infrastructure controls have helped provide a lot of that plumbing, so things are faster – in theory at least. Examples here include:

  • Microsoft Azure Mobile Services,
  • Kii for Internet of Things
  • built.io by Raw Engineering
  • Sencha Space from Sencha

Back-backend to backend

So that’s the back-backend. Upwards from there we are still in the cloud backend, but at a level where we can start to connect infrastructure to user-facing functions such as Business Intelligence (BI). TIBCO is positioning its release of Jaspersoft 6.1 in precisely this space.

The software works at embedding BI inside mobile and SaaS applications with a built-in multi-tenancy service to reduce the complexity and customizations commonly required for embedding BI into SaaS applications. There’s also an enhanced designer for interactive dashboards, along with upgraded integration of the TIBCO GeoAnalytics product’s capabilities for advanced mapping inside Jaspersoft reports.

In practical and simple terms, embedded BI means putting traditional BI content (reports and dashboards, interactive analysis as well as predictive and prescriptive analytics) into applications and business processes. Proponents of this technology will insist that having real-time access to contextually relevant, actionable data is critical to reaching more people with BI in order to support better decision-making.

“Developers want a BI platform that can quickly reach more people, including mobile users, even when the reports or dashboards are embedded inside another application. Most applications are delivered as a SaaS service in the cloud, forcing developers to integrate BI into their multi-tenant environment,” said Karl van den Bergh, vice president, product and cloud, TIBCO Analytics. “With Jaspersoft 6.1 and the improved TIBCO JasperMobile™ and multi-tenant offering, developers have a modern embeddable BI platform that fits with their SaaS architecture while extending the value of their application with embedded mobile BI.”

What does data-driven really mean?

This all comes back to using data at the point of decision making i.e. on tablets and other devices driven by cloud services and now with embedded analytics giving us more insight into what the data we play with is supposed to mean. It’s what the vendors like to call making “data-driven decision making” in the field.

TIBCO is not the only firm operating in this space of course i.e. Pentaho, Tableau, Qlik, Pivotal, MicroStrategy and of course Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and IBM all field a good team in this space. The point is that we are now just as focused on the core functions of these cloud BI services/application/functions (call them what you will) as we are on the how to integrate them and make them work factor. Or we should be at least.

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