The mobile user data glut will soon intensify for enterprises

The mobile user data glut will soon intensify for enterprises

Summary: Thanks to the coming wearable device boom, Gartner predicts amount of user data from mobile apps will soon be overwhelming enterprises.


Enterprises are not prepared to handle or take advantage of all the user data now available through mobile apps — and the rise of wearable devices will only accelerate the amount of this data. In addition, great care must be taken not too step over privacy lines with this information.

iPhone in use-photo by Joe McKendrick
Photo: Joe McKendrick

That's the the word from Gartner, which says, at least for now, not enough attention is being paid to the abundance of consumer data that is and will be generated by mobile apps. The consultancy predicts that within a year, most mobile apps will have the capability to sync, collect and analyze deep data about users and their social graphs.

However, at this point, "most IT leaders are failing to consider the deep impact that mobile apps have on their information infrastructure." And it won't be long — within three years — that wearable devices will be driving up to 50 percent of total app interactions, Gartner adds.

Gartner's Roxane Edjlali urges enterprises to begin tapping into this big data wave. "IT leaders should ensure they have infrastructure in place that takes into account data collected, not only via mobile apps, but also from apps running on wearable devices." To date, most applications have been developed to support specific business-to-consumer interactions — such as the use of location data to offer contextually relevant information, and some also collect other information about their users — such as gender and age group — to further refine the interaction.

"Personal data is often collected solely in support of a mobile app's requirements and not considered an asset within an organization's overall information infrastructure," Edjlali said.

Governance is a big piece of the challenge that lies ahead when it comes to handling mobile data. Organizations will need to manage the persistency and perishability of data collected from mobile apps, Gartner advises. This includes monitoring access to and control of data. "It is important to ensure that personal data collected from mobile apps remains private, and that it is secured, anonymized and accessed according to the organization's governance policies. Proper management of user agreements and opt ins are important aspects of this."

In addition, it's important to gain control of the sharing and reuse of mobile app data for other purposes. "Data from mobile apps, whether deployed on the premises or in the cloud, is not currently managed as part of an organization's information infrastructure, and data collected from mobile apps is often siloed."

Bringing this data deeper into the enterprise is likely to occur in several ways, Edjlali says. It may be in the cloud, or it may be on-premises. It often may be integrated or recombined, moving between cloud-based and on-site environments. It depends on how decision-makers will be using the data, and how quickly they need it. For example, she says, the on-premises option may be more effective for use cases such as offline and near-line analysis.

Topics: Big Data, Cloud, IT Priorities, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


1 comment
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Great Post - enterprise IT is *so* not ready for wearable!

    Joe, thanks for the great article.

    I don't think Gartner is right on their predictions (again!), and I baulk at equating 'mobile' with 'wearable'. Still, I totally agree that this is a big issue facing enterprises ... and very few of them are ready for it. Wearables are already here, and the data they are generating today is just the tip of what will be a massive iceberg. Yet almost no enterprise I know has any kind of strategy for wearables. Most don't even have a mobile strategy!

    From managing user experience to interoperability, support, security, governance, data management, performance, availability and more, if IT waits for wearable technology to emerge from “rogue IT” to “mainstream” use it will lack the needed skills to properly manage it.

    I recently posted more of my ideas on RCR Wireless. Rather than rehash them here, the original is at I would love to know what you and your readers think about it.

    Andi Mann
    CA Technologies