Food trucks are the latest trend in the United States.
They’ve become a culinary staple in most major cities across the country. In fact, there is a sweet temptress called Flirty Cupcakes that is often parked outside the IBM offices in Chicago.
They are an easy and affordable way to eat lunch or grab high-end sweets during the week…all from the back of a truck. Forget going to a restaurant; now the food comes to you. You just have to know where to find it.
And even more important for the food truck business…you have to know when and where to find your customers. And parking.
Food trucks, in my mind, represent the epitome of mobile business intelligence (BI).
They’re always on the go managing inventory, identifying the best geographies, tracking weather patterns, following traffic reports, and analyzing their customers, especially on social networks. And, food truck owners need to be fast on their feet (or wheels) when making important business decisions.
And, it’s not just food truck owners, but everyone is constantly on the move these days. The days of downtime are passé. Uninterrupted productivity is the new normal, on any device, especially tablets and iPads.
Mobility reigns supreme. (It was a hot topic at IOD11 this week too, especially with the announcement of IBM Cognos Mobile for the iPad.)
In the mobile world, business and pleasure really do mix. Today, users want everything on one device – from music, books, email, social networking, and now the ability to interact – securely – with the same materials (online and offline) they do while sitting in the office.
Consider these facts:
· According to a recent report from wireless industry association CTIA, wirelessly-connected devices now outnumber the number of U.S. citizens.
· Industry analyst Howard Dresner reported that 80 percent of organizations ranked Mobile BI as a top priority for executives.
· In research from Gartner, Inc., 33 percent of all BI is being assimilated on mobile devices.
Simple, Secure & Reliable
In today’s digital world, the appetite for information never stops. Speaking of delicious consumption, let’s get back to the food truck.
Like any organization (especially retail food sales) having a Mobile BI strategy is paramount for its success.
It’s Tuesday morning and the food truck has just departed for its first stop in the city. Using IBM Cognos Mobile, the driver can easily:
· Plan the route for the day and drill into the data to understand where the biggest demand will be for each location and at the appropriate time of day.
· Equipped with “location-aware” intelligence, the truck can receive reports that are dynamically filtered with location-specific information on planned stops.
· Manage inventory levels of supply based on the day’s route and past sales so they can be better prepared to remain longer or shorter at one location if sales are up or down.
· After each stop, update the inventory and total sales on the spot to avoid any errors.
· Constantly check for updates on weather and traffic for possible delays and the chance of no customers showing up if it’s raining.
· Log other dimensions into the applications (such as weather and traffic) to help better identify trends and opportunities through forecasting, planning and analysis.
· Update customers via social media of when and where they’ll be and for how long.
· Capture customer feedback in real-time through surveys that customers can fill-out directly on the mobile device.
Just remember – the next time you get hungry and see a food truck parked in your city, think of the benefits that Mobile BI offers…and how it could enhance your organization’s ability to make better decisions.
For more information on IBM Cognos Mobile:
· Read the press release announcing IBM Cognos Mobile for the iPad.
· Download the new (and free) IBM Cognos Mobile App for the iPad in the iTunes store.
· Watch a demo how users on any device can have the same rich and visual business intelligence experience they get at the office.