Fitness Apps and their Impact on Enterprise BI

Folks who really know me outside of work know that I am a bit of a fitness freak.  In fact ‘obsessed’ has been used to describe me, and to fuel this obsession I love to collect personal fitness data and have been doing it for years.  There are a ton of tools for this and recently I have been using 2 that are making me think differently about the business data I consume.

The first one is Fitbit. http://fitbit.com  Fitbit is a wearable device that tracks things like steps, stairs, and more depending on accessories and your level of input. 

The device syncs all the data to your smartphone and lets you do BI style analysis on your smartphone or your desktop.

You might look at this app or dashboard and be able to point out flaws, in fact I think the smartphone app needs a lot of work; but with that said, the data is presented a in simple way that is compelling to look at and analyze.  The key is that it is social, always up to date, and at your fingertips at all times!

The second app I am using heavily these days is Strava http://www.strava.com.  Strava is a service that allows cyclists and runners to track, analyze, and share data.  It also allows athletes to have virtual competitions using something called segments. (Tons of fun!)  

The Strava mobile app is even better than its’ desktop counterpart, it lets you not only record your rides and runs but it lets you analyze them as well.  They also have a cool metric (KPI) called suffer score that combines metrics like heart rate, power, and more to come up with a score.  This score becomes a great indicator on how your fitness is tracking.  

Other indicators are shown equally well in the app and are great for ride or run analysis.

There is a saying in triathlon about transitons “slow is smooth, smooth is fast” and the simplicity of the visualizations in these apps reminds me of that.  Maybe we are overdoing things; and maybe trends in data, thoughtful KPI’s, and accessibility outweigh features on a chart or dashboard?

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