The iPad's ongoing march into the enterprise means that sales, presentation and analytics apps are perpetually hot on the App Store and in business deployment plans. The make-the-numbers-shiny analytics crowd has gravitated towards apps like MicroStrategy, QlikView and IBM's Cognos Mobile to help translate raw data into comprehensible and actionable information.
One of the leaders among the BI app contenders is MeLLmo's Roambi, with a slick set of interface presets, a comprehensive list of data origination points (SAP, Google Docs, Salesforce.com and many more) and a free version to let prospective buyers kick the tires. The Roambi platform has evolved quickly, adding more views and features to satisfy users; last year, the company introduced a publishing platform (Roambi Flow) to let enterprise users deliver interactive documents from their business data, and Roambi Present to add dynamic content to Keynote or PowerPoint decks.
Now Roambi is taking the next step by giving customers the opportunity to publish their own standalone iPad apps with the Roambi visualization engine. Roambi ESX is the new offering, and it allows Roambi licensees to package their data, static content and those pretty dynamic graphs into apps of their very own. The App Store revenues, if any, go to the publisher (after Apple's 30% cut); the app itself will be "gray label," carrying the branding of the source firm and a "powered by Roambi" notice.
Roambi's plan for this meta-platform is to empower the traditional publishers of business data -- who still send out a lot of CDs and flash drives laden with Excel spreadsheets, PDFs and PowerPoint decks -- to move a part of their business onto the App Store and the iPad. The existing barriers to custom app development begin to fall away when publishers don't have to hire Xcode-savvy developers just to get their existing products into app form.
The pricing for the Roambi ESX platform isn't public yet, but like most of the company's offerings it is likely to be scaled appropriately for big business rather than consumers. Interested potential ESX customers are encouraged to contact the company directly for more details.