Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Is Big Data the "Evil Twin" of Mobility?

Thoughts from the M6 Mobility xChange Summit

Every co
nference has its “buzz word”. It almost seems like it's a secret password needed to enter the conference. At the M6 Mobility xChange that word was “container”. To be more exact, “Data Container”. This was the secret code to get through every door at the beautiful La Costa Resort in San Diego, CA. 

A container can be so many things but essentially I think it's just buzz. Sorry, in my book, “data containers” represent nothing more than… data. During the event I was thinking about the snowball or storm of snowballs that Mobility is creating for enterprises and government alike – a storm of data. Businesses create data, social media creates unstructured data, BYOD creates different types of it. Huge amounts of data pile up and create data challenges and security concerns. All these, nourish the integration market and the new Big Data market that, in turn, feeds the hardware and hosting companies … the storm has just begun.

Let me explain what I mean. Take a company that used to have 500 work stations at the office, each creating or simply adding data 24/7. Now, with mobility, the same 500 input endpoints are turning to 1000 or more likely 1500, as each user typically has a laptop (or a desktop heaven forbid), a smart-phone (or two!) and a tablet (or 3!). The same IT Manager at the same company now has to manage 3-10 times the amount of data they had to oversee before. The more data you have, chances are that your security, data loss prevention (DLP), storage, hosting and other data-related assets have to be adjusted too. As IT managers work harder, users keep on creating an ever growing amount of structured and unstructured data.

Mobility adds tons of data. Interactions, transactions, exchange, social media sync, and general enterprise sync – all add to the IT challenge, giving birth to what we know today as the Big Data challenge. To add to the complexity, we don’t really want to block data exchange across multiple networks, especially if the assets are located in different corners of the world. And of course the addition of MDM and MAM make the challenge even greater and more complex.

What all this means is that we have to look at mobility as more than a front-end challenge. The graphics, the interface the UI, they are all important, but what can they do without data from the backend?

It seems to me that during M6, many managers shared my insight. Today, any mobile development tool needs to have three layers – the Development and Deployment Layer, an Integration Layer to connect to the back office, and Big Data tools to manage the huge amount of data pouring into the enterprise from all directions. 

While there may be some simple mobile app deployment solutions, many leading analysts (like Maribel Lopez from Lopez Research who chaired the M6 event) continue to agree that Mobility should be an integral part of an organization's overall infrastructure. It can’t be isolated. You can’t leverage a mobile app and bring it to its full operational potential if it doesn't contain sufficient business information. You can’t really use data, you need to convert it to information. While a mobile device in certainly one of the key end points, you still need to collect, manage, distribute secure and store data across all enterprise systems. 

Like every event I have attended in the past 2 years, M6 was dominated by people with “concrete business problems”. No one is looking for toys. Managers are trying to cut expenses by converging efforts. And all of them agree with me that when starting to develop your enterprise or your public agency strategy for mobility, you have to look for one stack that will provide you with all development needs - front-end and back-end – across all platforms, integration and big data, all in one.

If you do that, then what started as the evil twin of mobility will turn into a likable brother – strong powerful enterprise decision-making platform.

Regev Yativ is President and CEO of Magic Software Enterprises Americas. Magic provides powerful and versatile enterprise-grade application and data integration solutions.