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A Complete Primer To Mobile BI By Wayne Eckerson, Director of Research

The Who and What of Mobile BI

Business intelligence (BI) is a natural fit for mobile devices. More orgaArchitecting for Mobile BI: Client, Server, or Hybrid?

Mobile BI Devices: Which One is Right for Your Company?

nizations are considering mobile BI not just for executives, but for a variety of workers who need access to data when not at their seats. The technology and devices have evolved to make mobile BI cost-effective to deploy—better smartphones, new tablets and faster networks have all changed the game for mobile programs. Yet, many challenges remain around architecting, implementing and managing programs successfully. In this e-book, appropriate for business intelligence professionals, get a complete, accessible overview of mobile BI from industry expert Wayne Eckerson. Readers will: ppLearn what types of employees, tasks and tools are suited for mobile BI

The Unspoken Challenge in Delivering Mobile BI

programs. ppFind out how to evaluate which mobile BI architecture is a fit for your

organization. ppGet advice on how to determine which mobile device types your organiza-

tion should support— and learn the role of mobile data management software. ppRead more about the pitfalls and unique challenges to be aware of with

mobile BI programs.

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The Who and What of Mobile BI The Who and What of Mobile BI

Architecting for Mobile BI: Client, Server, or Hybrid?

Mobile BI Devices: Which One is Right for Your Company?

The Unspoken Challenge in Delivering Mobile BI

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martphones and tablet computers are selling like hotcakes. Soon, a large swath of your employees will have these devices and want to run corporate applications on them, including business intelligence (BI). BI is a natural fit for mobile devices. Many workers today spend a majority of their time away from their desks and can’t easily access corporate information. Most are traveling, walking about or driving from site to site. And it’s these mobile workers who often need the most up-to-date information. They need BI to make on-the-spot decisions, monitor operational processes and make efficient use of their time out of the office. But before you embark on a major initiative to empower your entire workforce with mobile BI capabilities, ask the following three questions:

1. Which employees will benefit most from mobile BI? 2. Which BI tasks make the most sense in a mobile environment? 3. Is your mobile BI provider capable of supporting these BI tasks?

Types of Users

It’s not too hard to identify who might need mobile BI capabilities: employees who spend a good portion of their time away from a desk and need to check data several times a day is a good candidate for a mobile BI application. The traditional poster boy for mobile BI is the jet-setting executive who wants to check the status of key company metrics while traveling to and from customer sites and work locations. Traveling salespeople are also good candidates, because they need up-to-date information about customers prior to making onsite sales calls. Line managers (e.g., store managers,

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The Who and What of Mobile BI

Architecting for Mobile BI: Client, Server, or Hybrid?

Mobile BI Devices: Which One is Right for Your Company?

The Unspoken Challenge in Delivering Mobile BI

factory floor managers, construction supervisors and school principals) are also prime candidates, since they need timely information to manage resources and staff. But these folks also need to “walk around”—interact with customers and employees—and not sit behind a desk looking at numbers. Operational workers also offer fertile ground for mobile BI. Field technicians, for example, spend most of their time in company trucks traveling to and from work sites where they install, monitor and fix core infrastructure (e.g., utility lines, rail lines, pipelines and roadways). Likewise, customer service technicians who install or repair residential and commercial products (e.g., heating and ventilation, elevators, office systems) do not work in a fixed location yet must have access to up-to-date information to perform their work effectively and stay on schedule. Other candidates include internal technicians, such as IT professionals, who are on call 24 hours a day and need to troubleshoot or respond to problems remotely. Employees who spend most of their time in the office don’t need mobile BI. Among BI users, these include business analysts, statisticians and report developers. These folks are traditionally deskbound, and the work they do—intensive crunching of numbers, and report and model creation—is best done with high-powered desktop computers, not on the current generation of mobile devices.

Some argue that mid-level managers need mobile BI because they spend a lot of time in various conference rooms running meetings, facilitating the exchange of information and monitoring follow-up tasks. But most mid-level managers already have laptop computers that they can carry to conference rooms, plug in and connect to highspeed networks. In my opinion, midlevel managers don’t have a critical need for mobile BI, unless they travel frequently.

Types of Tasks

Robert Hylton, vice president at Transpara Corp., a mobile BI vendor, offers three criteria for evaluating the types of tasks that make sense for mobile BI: 1. Here and now? Do the tasks need to be addressed immediately? 2. Small and intangible? Is the information about the tasks easy to digest? 3. Perishable? Does the information lose value if it’s not acted upon right away? Asking the above three questions at the outset of a project can help clarify what BI applications make sense to deploy on a mobile platform. “Many decision makers are surprised once they go through this process,” Hylton said. Mobile Dashboards. What’s left after weeding out applications that don’t

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The Who and What of Mobile BI

Architecting for Mobile BI: Client, Server, or Hybrid?

Mobile BI Devices: Which One is Right for Your Company?

The Unspoken Challenge in Delivering Mobile BI

meet these criteria? Two types of mobile dashboard applications, one for executives and one for workers. The executive dashboard enables a CXO to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) across their enterprise and keep his finger on the pulse of the business. The operational dashboard enables operational workers to monitor operational activity and gauge their own performance compared with peers. Both types of dashboards display performance status according to plan and enable users to drill into detailed data and view time series charts that reflect past and future trends. The best mobile dashboards support an action framework that enables users to attach a chart to an email message, link to another dashboard or view or trigger a workflow or database update.

the equation. (See “Mobile Devices: Which One is Right For Your Company.”) Many mobile BI providers now say that they can run virtually any BI application on a tablet computer because its screen size is comparable to that of most office computers. This includes complex reports, ad hoc analytics and self-service BI. Mobility in 2011 and beyond knows virtually no BI bounds.

Mapping Devices to Functionality

One way to evaluate the range of BI functionality available for mobile devices is to classify functionality by types of users. At a high level, there are two types: information consumers who use information to do their jobs (e.g., executives, managers, front-line workers) and information producers who create information for others to consume (e.g., business analysts, report developers, statisticians). (See Table 1.) Smartphones and tablet computers exhibit slightly different footprints in the functional hierarchies depicted in

Data. The data for mobile dashboards usually comes from a data warehouse or data mart and consists of both summary and detail data loaded on a daily or weekly basis. However, if the dashboard tracks operational activity, then the data either comes from a real-time enabled data warehouse or directly from operational sysTable 1: BI Functionality By Type of BI User tems via real-time queries. Information Consumer Information Producer Hylton defined his criteria View Personalize with 2-inch screen smartphones in mind. But the Navigate Assemble advent of tablet computers, Modify Craft such as Apple’s popular iPad, Explore Source which support 8-inch, highAct Develop resolution screens, changes

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The Who and What of Mobile BI

Architecting for Mobile BI: Client, Server, or Hybrid?

Mobile BI Devices: Which One is Right for Your Company?

The Unspoken Challenge in Delivering Mobile BI

Table 1. Smartphones let users view KPI charts or lists and navigate predefined drill paths to view additional details. A few mobile BI vendors enable smartphone users to modify existing views (e.g., toggle between tables and charts and rank, sort, calculate, visualize or create new columns) as well as act on information by updating remote applications or databases or triggering workflows. Some may even let users personalize screen displays by changing color schemes and fonts, selecting favorites or saving bookmarks. However, this type of smartphone functionality is not widely supported by BI vendors. (See Table 2.) Tablet computers, however, give mobile BI designers more breathing room to support the full range of consumeroriented BI functionality. On a tablet computer, users can modify data in columns, explore data in any direction (versus being limited to predefined drill paths) as well as act on information via a variety of mechanisms, most notably email and annotations. Tablets

even enable information producers go beyond personalization to assemble simple dashboards and reports from a library of existing parts and components. The remaining “producer” functions are still best done on a desktop computer linked to a high speed network. (See Table 2.)

Final Mapping

If we put it all together, we might create a map like the one represented in Table 3. For each type of user, the map defines the mobility requirements, types of tasks and data requirements. The mapping concludes that users with a high need for mobile BI functionality are executives, outside salespeople and line managers (e.g., factory floor managers, school principals, store managers.) Field and in-house technicians have a moderate need, and mid-level managers have minimal need. Before diving headlong into the world of mobile BI, it’s critical that user organizations take some time to as-

Table 2: BI Functionality: Smartphones Versus Tablets SmartPhone

Tablet

View

Personalize*

View

Personalize

Navigate

--

Navigate

Assemble

Modify*

--

Modify

--

--

--

Explore

--

Act*

--

Act

--

* Not widely supported

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sess user requirements and map them to mobile BI functionality offered by BI vendors. Even if your mobile BI vendor doesn’t deliver everything you need

right now, chances are that it will soon support your requirements; this space is evolving rapidly, and vendors are anxious to not fall behind. p

Table 3: Mapping Users To Mobile BI Requirements Type of User

Mobility

Mobile BI Tasks

Data

Need

Executive

Travel to and from customer and work sites Nights/ weekends

Dashboards: Check KPI status with simple drill down and time-series views Dimensional Reports: 360-degree views of customers, employees, suppliers, projects, etc.

Historical, Summary

High

Travel to and from conference rooms

KPI dashboards: Check status with simple drill down and time-series views Project reports: Timelines and details

Historical, Summary, Detail

Low

Supervise domain by walking and talking

Dashboards: Monitor store and employee performance Operational Reports: Check inventory, shipments, complaints, staffing Actions: Scan inventory, order products, schedule meetings, award merits/ demerits, etc.

Historical, Summary, Detail, Real time

High

Travel to and from clients

Dimensional Report: 360-degree view of customers sales/interactions Actions: Update customer records, submit orders

Historical, Summary, Detail, Real time

High

Travel to and from customer/ work sites

Dashboard: Review personal performance and bonus points Reports: Check customer and work site inventory and records Actions: Update customer/work site records, submit orders

Historical, Summary, Detail, Real time

Moderate

Travel across corporate campus; Nights and weekends

Dashboards: View KPI status and real-time trends Alerts: View errors and exception Actions: Log in, troubleshoot

Historical, Summary, Detail, Real-time

Moderate

The Who and What of Mobile BI

Architecting for Mobile BI: Client, Server, or Hybrid?

Mid-level Manager

Mobile BI Devices: Which One is Right for Your Company?

The Unspoken Challenge in Delivering Mobile BI

Line Manager

Outside Salespeople

Field Technicians

Internal Technicians

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Architecting for Mobile BI: Client, Server, or Hybrid? The Who and What of Mobile BI

Architecting for Mobile BI: Client, Server, or Hybrid?

Mobile BI Devices: Which One is Right for Your Company?

The Unspoken Challenge in Delivering Mobile BI

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or the past 20 years, application architects have debated whether to deploy software applications on client machines or servers or some combination of the two. This debate has spanned a half-dozen different types of computing platforms, from mainframes and minicomputers in the 1970s and 1980s to desktop and client/server systems in the 1990s, and to the Web and Web services in the 2000s. Today, application architects now have a new platform upon which to wage their perennial debate: mobile devices. Mobile devices resurrect the notion of a “fat client” that had largely disappeared with the advent of Web-based computing. Fat clients generally offer fast performance and superior graphical interfaces, while Web-based applications—which execute application code on a remote server—simplify development, deployment and administration.

Over time, fat and thin client architectures generally blur into distributed architectures in which application processing is spread across clients, application servers and databases. In fact, a good portion of many Web-based applications today execute on the client via browser-based components (e.g., Java applets, Active X controls, DHTML and Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX), or Flash plug-ins), making so-called Web “thin” clients a tad “heavier” than is generally known.

Vendor Debates

As a new application platform, mobile devices pose a stark architectural choice for organizations that want to deploy mobile business intelligence (BI) applications. They can either build unique, exquisite-looking BI applications for each mobile device, or they can build a single browser-based application that runs the same on all devices.

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The Who and What of Mobile BI

Architecting for Mobile BI: Client, Server, or Hybrid?

Mobile BI Devices: Which One is Right for Your Company?

The Unspoken Challenge in Delivering Mobile BI

During the past year, every BI vendor has engaged in an intense, internal debate about which mobile BI architecture to adopt. Some vendors, such as MicroStrategy Inc. and MeLLmo, makers of Roambi, have embraced native mobile BI applications, believing that users ultimately want feature-rich, device-specific mobile applications. Others, such as Transpara Corp. and QlikTech, are betting that browserbased mobile BI applications will eventually steal the day. Many others, including Oracle Corp. and IBM Cognos, have decided to hedge their bets and produce hybrid applications that strive to offer the best of both camps while minimizing the downsides. As a BI manager in a user organization, you need to carefully evaluate the mobile BI architecture adopted by your mobile BI vendor. You need to understand the ramifications that your vendors’ chosen mobile BI architecture will have on ease of use, adoption, deployment times, maintenance and total cost of ownership for your mobile BI initiative. Let’s take a look at the two mobile BI architectures and then examine their hybrid offshoots.

formance because the data that comprises a report or dashboard is downloaded and stored on the device. Fast performance makes applications very responsive and highly interactive. The user experience of native applications is also superior. This is due in part to fast performance, but also because native applications exploit unique features and functions inherent in the devices, such as touch-screens that support hand gestures or accelerometers that let users rotate the device to switch between a portrait and landscape view. Anyone who has ever used an Apple iPhone or iPad understands the unique experiences these devices make possible. Having tasted mobile paradise, most don’t want to go back! Finally, because native applications store data locally, they work even when the device is not connected to a network. Offline access is critical for executives who spend a lot of time in the air or salespeople whose districts don’t offer reliable network connections, or plant managers who might lose connectivity in the bowels of a manufacturing plant.

Browser-based Applications Native Mobile Applications

There are three main advantages to running native mobile BI applications: (1) performance, (2) user experience and (3) offline access. Native mobile BI applications offer exceptional per-

Conversely, browser-based mobile BI applications offer three unique advantages: (1) portability, (2) data consistency and (3) security. Rather than write an application for each individual mobile device, develop-

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The Who and What of Mobile BI

Architecting for Mobile BI: Client, Server, or Hybrid?

Mobile BI Devices: Which One is Right for Your Company?

The Unspoken Challenge in Delivering Mobile BI

ers can write a single HTML/JavaScript application that runs the same on any device that supports a browser, virtually unchanged. Although there are slight differences among browsers that must be accounted for during development, in general, developers can build once and deploy everywhere, and this includes desktops, laptops and conference room or operation center flatscreen monitors. This is sweet music to developers and IT administrators who would rather maintain one application than a half-dozen variants. In a browser-based mobile BI application, the application and data reside on a server, which means that nothing is downloaded to the device. This prevents applications and data from getting out of sync, eliminating the propagation of analytic silos. Employees access the same server-side reports and data, and that preserves information consistency. Additionally, it is easier to enforce security since all data, code and passwords are managed centrally on the server. If a device is lost or stolen, hackers can’t walk off with sensitive corporate data.

Hybrid Solutions

Interestingly, the advantages of each architectural approach represent the downsides of the other approach. Not surprisingly, given the market potential for mobile BI, vendors are quickly plugging the gaps in their respective architectures and delivering hybrid

solutions that maximize benefits and minimize downsides. Hybrid Native Applications. BI vendors that embrace native mobile BI applications have added capabilities that address portability, data consistency and security issues. For example, some now offer universal applications or templates that can be compiled into the native languages of all major

Given the market poten­tial for mobile BI, vendors are quickly plugging the gaps in their respective architectures and delivering hybrid solutions. devices without change. This means developers only have to create an application once to run it natively on any device. Typically, these applications are created by the BI vendor rather than the user organization, but the applications support the predominant functionality required in a mobile environment. (See “The Who and What of Mobile BI.”) To improve data consistency, some vendors now configure native mobile BI applications to download fresh data on startup or on demand so that users

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The Who and What of Mobile BI

always work with the most up-to-date information possible. From a security perspective, they’ve given remote administrators the ability to selectively wipe device disks if a device is lost or stolen. And to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data, they require users to log in to the mobile BI application when the device is offline. This thwarts cagey hackers from circumventing over-the-air security procedures (e.g., disk wipes).

tive Apple iOS shell, which supports a raft of additional Apple iOS features, such as prompts, navigation, favorites, alerts, catalogs, search and email. In the long term, these vendors are betting that HTML5 will deliver these same features and more using industry standard HTML, which obviates the need to write native applications to get “native” user experience.

Summary Architecting for Mobile BI: Client, Server, or Hybrid?

Mobile BI Devices: Which One is Right for Your Company?

The Unspoken Challenge in Delivering Mobile BI

Hybrid Web Applications. Conversely, browser-based mobile BI developers have created workarounds to improve the performance and usability of their applications. For instance, some now cache small amounts of data on the device (e.g., a report) to improve application responsiveness and support offline access. Others are extending their browserapplications in the short term with a subset of native operating system features that the mobile device’s browser exposes to an application, such as screen input, orientation and resolution. This enables savvy Web developers to build browser-based applications that support native functionality, such as hand gestures and the ability to toggle between portrait and landscape views when the device is rotated. Some browser-based adherents, such as Oracle, go one step further and wrap browser-based content in a na-

It’s likely that the future of mobile BI is some form of distributed computing that leverages processing power on the mobile device and remote servers. To compete effectively in the marketplace, mobile BI vendors are quickly embracing hybrid architectures to deliver the best of localized and centralized computing with few of the downsides. But we are still in the early stages in the evolution of mobile BI architectures. Hybrid technology is still maturing and not broadly deployed across all mobile operating systems and devices. So, it behooves your BI team to carefully evaluate a proposed mobile BI offering and understand its underlying architecture and roadmap for development. Your vendor’s architectural choice will have a significant ramification on the level of user adoption for the new mobile BI applications and the amount of internal resources you need to allocate to the effort. p

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Mobile BI Devices: Which One is Right for Your Company? The Who and What of Mobile BI

Architecting for Mobile BI: Client, Server, or Hybrid?

Mobile BI Devices: Which One is Right for Your Company?

The Unspoken Challenge in Delivering Mobile BI

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majority of business intelligence (BI) professionals today believe that mobile BI is an important initiative. If you are one of them, you probably have a few basic questions about how to get started. Perhaps the most basic question is “What devices should we support and how do we provision and manage them on an enterprise scale?” If you are an IT professional, you won’t like the answer. All of them.

Cornucopia of Devices

Unlike computing devices of yesteryear, smartphones and tablets are first and foremost consumer devices that your employees are buying for personal use and then seeking to use for business purposes as well. (To learn how IT organizations are managing personal devices, see “The Unspoken

Challenge in Delivering Mobile BI.”) It would be foolish to make users carry a second, corporate-issued smartphone or tablet, especially if a requesting user happens to be a member of your executive team! And each user is going to purchase a different device and mobile operating system and expect IT to support it. Clearly, the future of mobile computing is personal and heterogeneous!

The future of mobile computing is personal and heteroge­neous! That being said, many companies have already made a commitment to Blackberry smartphones, which are geared to business users. RIM offers an on-premises, enterprise server that integrates the devices with corporate

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email, calendaring and phone systems and enables administrators to provision, configure, secure, troubleshoot and audit all Blackberry devices, whether owned by an individual or issued by the company, from a central

The Who and What of Mobile BI

Architecting for Mobile BI: Client, Server, or Hybrid?

Mobile BI Devices: Which One is Right for Your Company?

The Unspoken Challenge in Delivering Mobile BI

The only certainty in the mobile de­vice market right now is change. Web console. All this is sweet music to an IT manager. (We’ll explore this type of mobile management system below.) Unfortunately, the Blackberry’s grip on mobile devices, both corporate and personal, is slipping away. Although in the past 10 years, RIM has shipped more mobile devices than any other maker, Apple’s iOS recently pulled ahead with 28.6% market share, compared with RIM’s 26.1%, according to Nielsen market research. Astonishingly, despite Apple’s superior branding, it now is being outpaced by Google’s Android operating system, which runs on a host of devices, often at bargain-basement prices, which probably explains its surge in popularity. When you look at sales in the past six months, Google’s Android has a commanding 40.8% share, compared with 26.9% for Apple and 19.2% for RIM. Meanwhile, Microsoft has re-

entered the market with a revamped Windows Phone 7 and a fresh alliance with Nokia. Finally, a host of new tablet manufacturers, including RIM, which launched PlayBook in April, promises to stir up the market further. The only certainty in the mobile device market right now is change. It’s safe to say that IT departments won’t be able to pick a winner any time soon. Not that they should, because IT no longer can dictate the mobile technology that employees use. The only exception might be line managers or field technicians, whose work environments require ruggedized devices that are resistant to heat, vibration, water, dust or humidity. There, employees will be happy to carry corporate-issued devices, if only to preserve the longevity of their own.

Mobile Data Management Software

Given the heterogeneous nature of the mobile device market, IT managers should focus on administrative tools for managing mobile devices and applications rather than the devices themselves. These toolsets go by the name of mobile data management (MDM) software, not to be confused with master data management software (which is familiar to most BI managers.) Mobile MDM software is used to manage a heterogeneous portfolio of mobile devices and operating systems, often using “over-the-air” connectivity.

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Specifically, administrators use MDM software to: ppProvision and configure mobile de-

The Who and What of Mobile BI

Architecting for Mobile BI: Client, Server, or Hybrid?

Mobile BI Devices: Which One is Right for Your Company?

The Unspoken Challenge in Delivering Mobile BI

vices, including password controls and other settings and parameters. ppDistribute and configure applications and upgrades based on device properties. ppCommunicate device errors and settings, including applications and security, and to assist in troubleshooting. ppManage applications, including restricting the installation of certain applications and removing unwanted applications. ppRemotely lock and wipe a device of data and applications. ppMaintain an audit trail of device usage. ppSet thresholds for usage, for voice, data and SMS. There is even a standards group, the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), which is specifying standards for managing mobile devices. Called OMA Device Management, the emerging standard specifies support for many of the features listed above. There are many providers of heterogeneous MDM software, not including RIM, whose Blackberry Enterprise only manages Blackberry devices. These include AirWatch LLC, MobileIron, Sybase Inc. and Tangoe Inc. But not all MDM providers offer equivalent

service and features. One BI manager, who is in the process of deploying dashboards to his iPad community, was forced to switch MDM providers after the first product lacked key features and required users to be involved in part of the device configuration process. “It seemed like the software needed to go through a few more development cycles before going prime time,” the BI manager said.

Mobile MDM software is used to manage a heterogeneous portfolio of mobile devices and operating systems, often using “over-the-air” connectivity.

Summary

Deploying mobile BI in a fast-changing, heterogeneous mobile device market is challenging. The first step is to acknowledge that you will have to support multiple mobile operating systems and run your BI applications on employee-owned devices. The second is to invest in MDM software to manage the distribution, management, security and troubleshooting of those devices and your BI application. p

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The Unspoken Challenge in Delivering Mobile BI The Who and What of Mobile BI

Architecting for Mobile BI: Client, Server, or Hybrid?

Mobile BI Devices: Which One is Right for Your Company?

The Unspoken Challenge in Delivering Mobile BI

s

ince the successful launch of the Apple iPad a year ago, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of companies seeking to deploy business intelligence (BI) on mobile devices. There are many thorny issues involved in deploying BI, but one that hasn’t been discussed much is whether an organization should deploy corporate mobile applications on personal or company-issued devices.

Personal or Corporate?

This is a tricky issue. Since many employees already have an iPad or other mobile device, it would be difficult to ask them to carry a second one just for business. Since these are consumer gadgets, it’s inevitable that organizations are going to have to accommodate the mobile devices that employees already own. But how do

you secure and support personal devices that contain a mix of corporate and personal applications and run on different platforms and versions? The IT department is used to purchasing, configuring, securing and maintaining computers for employees. Mobile technology undermines this process and threatens IT administrators, whose job is to maintain a stable, secure, error-free compute environment. How can they do that when they don’t own or control the devices? It’s clear that the IT department is going to have to adapt. It’ll need to purchase corporate devices to support development and testing and give devices to employees who don’t own them already. But IT staffers will also need to install corporate applications on devices that employees already own. But how are they going to do that? Send them to iTunes or another app store? (Do you really want a corporate

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application on a consumer shopping site where people can download the application and uncompile it?) Require them to bring the device to an IT ad-

The Who and What of Mobile BI

Architecting for Mobile BI: Client, Server, or Hybrid?

Mobile BI Devices: Which One is Right for Your Company?

It’s clear that the IT department is going to have to adapt. ministrator who will physically install the mobile application and requisite security software and test the setup to ensure everything works? Or have users install the software over the wire from a corporate mobile application server or from a link sent via email?

Lost or Stolen The Unspoken Challenge in Delivering Mobile BI

But these are small hurdles. The biggest issue is nontechnical. What happens when a user loses a personal device with a corporate application installed on it? If your mobile application is browserbased, you only have to worry about data cached on the device that’s there to optimize performance. Ideally, your security software automatically deletes the cache every hour or so, which minimizes (but doesn’t eliminate) the

risk. If you’ve deployed a native mobile application in which data resides on the device, you’ll not only need to clear the cache, but wipe the hard drive as well, and your security software can perform that remotely. (Of course, this only works if the device is turned on and is connected to the network. Sophisticated thieves will hijack the data without connecting to a network.) In all likelihood, you’ll need to apply all these strategies to secure sensitive corporate information. Whoops! But there is a potentially bigger issue. What if you wipe a personal device that the business user later finds or recovers? If the device contained valuable personal data (e.g., thousands of dollars worth of music or personal photos), who is liable? Does the company have to reimburse the employee for the lost data? One company I spoke with had mobile users sign legal documents absolving the company of responsibility for lost data, among other things. There are many things to consider when implementing mobile BI. None of them are insurmountable. But it will take time to work through all the issues. And as always, the soft stuff— the political, social, legal and organizational issues—is often the most challenging of all. p

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About the Author Wayne Eckerson has been

The Who and What of Mobile BI

Architecting for Mobile BI: Client, Server, or Hybrid?

Mobile BI Devices: Which One is Right for Your Company?

The Unspoken Challenge in Delivering Mobile BI

a thought leader and consultant in the business intelligence (BI) field since 1995. He has conducted numerous in-depth research studies and is a noted speaker and blogger. He is the author of the best-selling book Performance Dashboards: Measuring, Monitoring, and Managing Your Business. For many years, he served as director of education and research at The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI), where he chaired its BI Executive Summit and created a popular BI Maturity Model and Assessment. Wayne is currently director of research at TechTarget and founder of the BI Leadership Forum, a network of BI Directors that exchange ideas and educate the larger BI community. He can be reached at [email protected] This content originally appeared on Wayne’s World, a BeyeNetwork blog that illuminates the latest thinking about how to deliver insights from business data and celebrates out-of-the-box thinkers and doers in the business intelligence, performance management and data warehousing fields.

Michael Bolduc Publisher Ron Powell Associate Publisher Linda Koury Director of Online Design Wayne Eckerson Director of Research Hannah Smalltree Editorial Director Jean Schauer Editor in Chief Jason Sparapani Copy Editor Kerry Flood Associate Editor FOR SALES INQUIRIES Michael Nadeau Director of Sales [email protected] 617-431-9428

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