The 3 amigos: Mobility, BYOD & big data

Enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and big data have become today’s three amigos of technology. They support each other. They get in each other in trouble. And when they’re together, they have a stake in each other’s success.

Mobile devices are becoming popular data collection and reporting tools for big data platforms. Major big data vendors and startups are launching mobile apps to augment and extend big data reporting. These mobile apps take advantage of 3G and 4G, WiFi, and growing improvements in tablet screen resolution and touch screens to democratize access to big data platforms. Knowledge workers and managers can interpret, interact with, and present corporate information from big data platforms directly from their tablets or smartphones with a minimum of training and without having to request reports from IT.

The growth in these mobile apps can have a positive effect on enterprise mobility and BYOD uptake inside an organization.

The rise of BYOD only feeds the demand for big data mobile apps. But this brings with it potential problems and concerns for IT and management. In particular, BYOD and big data can be problematic for legal departments. According to a survey of corporate attorneys conducted by Ari Kaplan Advisors, 64 percent of respondents said the impact of big data would be an “overwhelming challenge for the foreseeable future,” and 32 percent said that BYOD catching on in the workplace would create equally daunting obstacles.

The potential security implications of each of these technologies relative to its business value are also extremely high. That points to the possibility that big data, security, and BYOD strategies would benefit from convergence at some point.

I spoke with Chris Grossman, a big data expert and senior vice president of Rand Worldwide, when he visited the Washington, DC, area where I live. When our conversation turned to big data, mobile devices, and BYOD, he noted, “I’ve always said from a big data perspective that we tend to see the negatives of mobile device usage — the proliferation of data, multiple file types.” However, Grossman stressed that mobility is ultimately a tremendous positive asset, because it enables people to work remotely, more frequently, and efficiently.

“The problem is that the people that make mobile devices… don’t build their OS with the same level of preparation for backup and archiving as the Windows or Linux OSes. So, it does present an equal challenge for IT departments dealing with iOS and Android devices as it for their entire Windows platform,” Grossman explained. He added that he believes BYOD is inevitable and that IT must have a strategy to deal with it.

That strategy should include enterprise mobility in general, and how BYOD is managed, as well as how devices and apps access big data. Providing a solid strategy keeps the “three amigos” on a clear path to success, and out of trouble.

Are enterprise mobility, BYOD, and big data strategies starting to converge in your enterprise?

This post was originally published on The Mobility Hub on September 11, 2013.

Will Kelly is a technical writer and analyst based in the Washington, DC area. He has worked with commercial, federal, higher education, and publishing clients to develop technical and thought leadership content. His technology articles have been published by CNET TechRepublic, Government Computer News, Federal Computer Week,, and others. Follow Will on Twitter:@willkelly.

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