Mobile BI development and adoption have taken off in the past year, significantly changing the mobile landscape according to results of the latest study conducted by Dresner Advisory services.

The survey, conducted in September 2011, is third in a series of studies on mobile BI designed to study vendors, platforms, applications and adoption. More survey respondents believe that mobile is critically or very important (68 percent) compared to last year (52 percent), and a mere 2 percent of respondents currently believe mobile is not important.

Howard Dresner, report author, attributes increased mobile uptake to a convergence of features and platforms, a trend that is especially apparent in the top quadrant of vendors in the study. "The bar has really been raised in the vendor community," says Dresner.

Dresner says that year-over-year comparisons show tremendous growth in application development. The survey ranked 11 categories of mobile application classes. Email was first in importance, followed by personal information apps (such as contacts and calendars) and BI, which ranked third. Social media activities and personal banking appeared lower on the list.

In device platforms, Apple dominates the market, with the primary preferred tools being the iPhone and iPad. Reported iPad use overall has more than tripled since Dresner's mobile survey one year ago.

The survey also tracked the percentages of users that will use BI exclusively on mobile devices within 24 months. Eighteen percent of respondents believe that 41 percent or more of users will use only mobile BI applications on the job. Most of the users expecting mobile-only use of BI had roles or titles in sales and marketing. Compared to IT, "the business is much more ambitious in their exclusive use of BI" on mobile platforms, states Dresner.

Regionally, Dresner notes that adoption in North America outpaced EMEA or APAC.

163 people participated in the survey, with more than half reporting IT titles and 34 percent coming from sales and marketing, finance, and research and development on the business side.