MeLLmo’s Roambi Business Visualization App Comes to iPad, Links to More Data Sources

4/13/10Follow @wroush

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the ability to brand the Roambi app with customized skins and logos; an improved procedure for pushing different data to thousands of users within a single organization based on their authorization level; and enhanced security features, including the ability to remotely wipe business data from a device that’s been lost or stolen.

But what’s the ultimate point of putting all these pretty charts and graphs onto mobile devices? What company needs the service so much that they’d be willing to pay for Roambi ES3 on top of their existing business intelligence systems?

That’s a question Becerra, Alsbury, and other members of the core team at MeLLmo have been thinking about for a long while: Becerra’s previous company, Infommersion, developed a popular business intelligence dashboard called Xcelsius. In 2005 Becerra sold Infommersion to Business Objects, which later became part of SAP. But for all his work on visualization tools, Becerra says most business intelligence systems still go underutilized for lack of easy, attractive interfaces.

“Most large companies invest millions of dollars in setting up reporting and business intelligence systems,” he says. “One that we spoke with recently has 20,000 users on their BI software, and they’re spending tens of millions of dollars a year to empower those 20,000 people. But the percentage of people using it is surprisingly low, because the system is so hard to use, and it’s so difficult to really get the meaning of the information. If, through better visualizations, you can enhance even by 10 percent the number of people actually using that information as they should, you get an incredible value-add for the company.”

Roambi trends view on the iPadSo that’s the visualization argument; the mobile argument, says Alsbury, is that managers need business data wherever they may be, which—more and more—is away from their desks. “My definition of a mobile work is not just a guy who’s at the airport or out in the field,” says Alsbury. “Probably 90 percent of the day he’s just walking from cubicle to cubicle or conference room to conference room.”

And that’s the scenario where the iPad version of Roambi really shines, Alsbury says. “We get a lot of questions about whether the iPad is going to have an impact for business users,” he says. “E-mail is adequately serviced by laptops, but as you move up the pyramid to company data, that is where Roambi fits. There is a sweet spot where mobile phones start to hit their limit and I think the iPad fits very nicely in that spot.”

MeLLmo has raised about $14 million in angel funding and has 45 full-time employees (up from 28 when Bruce looked at the company last fall). “We believe that with the traction we’re getting, there is going to be an explosion in the second half of this year,” says Becerra. “So by the end of the year we plan to be almost double what we are today in terms of head count and revenue.” Which should make it all the easier to pay for those loaner iPads that executives don’t want to give back.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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