The mobile user data glut will soon intensify for enterprises

Thanks to the coming wearable device boom, Gartner predicts amount of user data from mobile apps will soon be overwhelming enterprises.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

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.

Editorial standards