The Move to Mobile Analytics Requires Cultural, Technical Shifts

by   |   October 30, 2012 2:30 pm   |   0 Comments

Sanjay Poonen of SAP

Sanjay Poonen of SAP

LAS VEGAS – If the goal of big data analytics initiatives is to make better decisions faster, then mobile devices are an essential touch point where employees and customers will reap the benefit of the right information at the right time, no matter where they are.

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That’s why software giant SAP has adopted mobile as one of the key foundations of its big data strategy, according to company president and corporate officer Sanjay Poonen. Poonen delivered the keynote speech at SAP’s Enterprise Mobility and Reporting and Analytics conferences on Oct. 29 here, and said companies should begin thinking about a mobile device management strategy today.

With Microsoft, Google, and Apple engaged in steep competition in the mobile device market, employees will have their choice for what platform they want to use for mobile computing. To keep up, large enterprises will need to develop a cloud-based system that can handle tens of thousands of devices that come in a range of form factors and operating systems.

Poonen said that system, fed by data from mobiles that include geolocation and personal preferences, will need to run sub-second analytics and push back information in applications to help the business user make well-informed decisions.

Dan Homrich, vice president of mobile application development company Mobiquity, said the back-end analytics that drive apps are “the whole game.”

“Analytics drives information in real time to the mobile device so decisions about what I eat, what I purchase, how much I pay for this—all this stuff that’s happening  in the cloud—that analytics is what gives mobile it’s biggest value,” Homrich said. “It absolutely is the game changer, and it will drive more high-value apps in mobility over the next three years than anything else.”

But for an enterprise to arrive at a place where it creates what Homrich calls “the killer app” for its customers and employees, the company must change its thinking and likely upgrade its technology.

Steve Lucas, SAP’s executive vice president of business analytics, database and technology, said that transformation starts with the realization that the value of mobile applications goes beyond counting inventory or reviewing a balance sheet to include new information sources.

“All the technology in the world won’t make it better and won’t improve your company if you’re not willing to look for new signals,” Lucas said. “It’s a convergence of acknowledging that there is data out there, and potentially new signals you could find.”

Lucas said that once a company’s leaders reach a new mobile application mindset, the issues to manage are:

  • Skills acquisition. Find the right people to help “tease out” the data models that reveal the information you’re looking for.
  • Technology foundation. Find a system that combine data streams and do the analytical work quickly.
  • Analytics application design and delivery. Decide how those insights should be consumed, whether through advanced visualization techniques or through apps on mobile devices.

Lucas said he believes that mobile devices are already the best platform, as they allow users to consume and contribute data simultaneously.

“The reality is that the consumption device today is the mobile device,” Lucas said. “That movement [to mobile devices] generates a lot of data itself: it kind of feeds itself.”

The Las Vegas events are organized by Wellesley Information Services, which publishes Data Informed.

Email Staff Writer Ian B. Murphy at

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