Mobile Data Management for Business Intelligence – A simple approach

Posted on 02 Aug 2013 in   Mobile Data Managerment

Extending BI functionality to mobile devices means more devices and users for the IT team to manage. An enterprise Mobile Device Management strategy that defines how applications and updates are pushed to users is standard practice in this space. The challenge is now there is a lot of infrastructure to manage to make this work. Mobile Data Management (MDaM) is an important piece of the MDM and if that is the only area you want to focus on, then there is a better process to get there.

Here is an approach we see some of our clients using, making it easy  in terms of management of publishing the right information to the end users.

Role and Information Access matrix 

We ask the users to define what Mobile Dashboards or reports are published to which roles in the organization. This is essentially a simple grid with three columns: Role, User , Report .  An example would be :  Role –  IT Support Manager,  User – John Doe,  Report – Daily Ticket Counts.  This gives a simple view of what data is accessed by which roles and users in the organization. Whichever tool you use, should support at least this level of configuration of Information access.

Information Throttle Points

There are essentially two major throttle points for mobile information access – 1. Enterprise Authorization and  Authentication, 2. Information Authorization on the Mobile Reporting publishing server/adapter.

The Enterprise Authentication infrastructure will ensure that the users are authenticated on the mobile device before they start to request access of data from the Publishing server.  The architecture itself enforces security because the Mobile Device pulls only the authorized data from the Mobile Reporting Server.  So if there is a need NOT to make a report available to a  specific user you can remove the access of that User / Role to that information (collection of reports or dashboards).

Push Clean

There are cases when you want to ensure that the device does not have any information and you want to clean every offline report on the device. This is the real promise of Mobile Device Managedment (MDM) solutions. This is where most companies start having trouble.  I have yet to see a non-MDM solution which gives the full wipe out functionality bu the real question is do you need one ?.  I usually say its overkill for small businesses where they have a couple of dozen handhelds with reporting data. The administrative overhead is too much for doing a complete clean.

MDM is an important addition to the administrator’s toolbox, but it’s only one piece of a security portfolio, and one that some organizations can postpone in several ways. Use of low-cost  remote wiping systems are other options. Before locking down employee personal devices with MDM, it’s more effective to harden the network they’ll be using with both wireless-specific products like WIPS and standard network security tools such as firewalls, IPSs, UTM appliances.

Let us know if you have an approach which has been effective in your organization.

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