When the iPhone took the world by storm in the mid-2000s, it launched the beginning of the mobile revolution. Screen size increased, usability and performance rapidly improved and, before you knew it, almost everyone around you was scrolling through a smartphone. Practically overnight, the smartphone market had transformed, and that opened the floodgates of mobile business intelligence (BI) for IT to see how those smart devices were being used and how collected data could actionably improve their organizations’ existing processes and workflows.
But despite the advantages of mobile BI for improving business, challenges remain in this area according to Redwood Capital’s recent Sector Report on Business Intelligence. The report states that multiple devices, real-time connectivity and security are three main hurdles:
- Numerous mobile devices: With a myriad of mobile devices now available for consumers, there’s been a spike in integration and protection problems. The industry has to become more sophisticated, and organizations must invest in not only the technology but also the skills to manage all the devices that are currently available. While this is not necessarily a new problem—the first generation iPhone debuted in 2007—there will undoubtedly be more devices released as we forge ahead, all that will contain sensitive corporate information. Organizations are combating this increase in devices in a few ways, according to the report. Some have responded by not allowing local data or applications to be stored. Certain industries, such as healthcare and government, prefer an HTML 5 or browser-based experience and do not want to see data downloaded onto devices. Meanwhile, others are relying on software solutions that make it seamless to extend enterprise applications to mobile devices without sacrificing interface functionality or network security.
- Instantaneous connectivity: Real time intelligence does not always mean that an end user is able to act on that information in real time; there are sometimes mobile network constraints, such as coverage and bandwidth limitations, that prevent them from being able to do so. Therefore, instant connectivity can be a challenge in the world of mobile BI. The bottom line is that organizations need a mobile BI application that can seamlessly transition online to offline without disruption, loss of data or user functionality. For instance, consider the importance of a police officer needing instant connectivity: with an always-on mobile BI app, he or she has the ability to perform real-time background checks right from the patrol car.
- Security: Many of us have heard about how hackers are increasingly targeting mobile devices. In fact, according to Redwood Capital’s report, new mobile malware families were up sharply in 2012—the majority targeting Android devices. Malicious Android applications alone were expected to top the 1 million mark in 2014. With so many organizations being vulnerable to mobile device security incidents, it’s paramount that IT and business users work together to fully secure devices with such capabilities as password protection or full disk encryption to protect data. Even if the user’s device falls into the wrong hands, confidential enterprise information must remain protected.
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