Last week, we saw the typical media frenzy that accompanies the launch of a new Apple product, in this case the new iPad, and in fact our founder and CEO blogged about his enterprise wish-list for the new device right after it came out.  In looking back at when we founded Tidemark in February 2010, it was impossible to anticipate the impact that the tablet would have on the business world when it launched in April 2010.  But start ups are about big bets on innovation, and we made a big one when it came to mobility:  we would build the world’s first “designed for mobile first” enterprise applications on the iPad, and THEN move to the desktop.  It looks like the right move considering the news this week that Apple sold more than 15 million iPad's last quarter, and that 84% of businesses now plan to purchase iPad's for their employees.

In all of our years in the industry, we have sought to democratize access to analytical information.  Despite our best efforts, a great deployment of analytic technology touches 20% of the workforce at best.  Yet, we are rapidly approaching a world where literally every person on the planet will have access to a mobile device.  If we could rethink analytics from a mobile design perspective using the same techniques that have caused the proliferation of mobile apps to hundreds of millions of people, perhaps we could crack the code to making analytic ubiquitous and usable for everyone.

We started the journey by betting on HTML 5 becoming THE standard that would dominate all web browsers.  This allows us to reach a variety of desktop browser, mobile phones, and tablets using one set of standards that they are all rapidly converging on supporting.  We then designed a user experience paradigm that specifically favored the tablet screen geometry, called a performance panel, and leveraged the inherent gestures of the tablet device to make the experience as natural as touching your data.  Our apps very comfortably sit on a 1024 x 768 screen layout because our performance panels and all of their inherent sections can be reached with simple scrolling gestures.  If the user wants more contextually relevant information, context-sensitive sections such as risk assessment, collaboration, and analysis expand in place and appear very naturally.  We thus ensure that ALL of the relevant information a business person needs to make a decision is available in one place.   To move to the next panel, a user merely has to swipe left or right, and the entire panel will slide over and a new one will take it place.   Finally, our user experience is symmetric across mobile browsers and desktop browsers.  You can literally pick up your tablet and use Tidemark exactly the same way as you would on your desktop browser.  All of the functionality is available on all devices.  It is incredibly empowering to be able to make a quick what-if scenario on an iPad, or collaboratively update the forecast with all of your team mates in the room making changes interactively on their mobile devices.

Analytics vendors are making bold announcements about their mobile strategy every day.  But all of them have taken a mobile bolt-on strategy: take some content from an existing legacy solution and find a way to force fit it onto the tablet form factor.  All of the previous usability challenges remain, and now some new ones are added.  Tidemark was started in a world where the iPad already existed, and our apps have been designed with them in mind from the outset.  This is how business people are able to get their performance information, explanations, unstructured content, events, risk information, and collaborate without lengthy implementations of bolted-together tools…and with no training.  If you can hit a pig with a bird, you can improve your performance with analytics immediately with Tidemark.