Is MAM MAD? The Confusing World of Mobile Apps | Gaining Altitude in the Cloud

Posted On December 12, 2013

Just as today’s enterprises are becoming accustomed to Mobile Application Development (MAD) and Mobile Device Management (MDM)…bam! They are realizing there is one more critical part of the story: Mobile Application Management (MAM). Unfortunately, while most organizations have established IT security and management policies to support mobile devices via a MDM solution, they’ve started to believe they don’t need to manage mobile apps, erroneously thinking that securing the devices is sufficient.

It seems the ease of consuming consumer-oriented mobile apps from public stores, e.g., Apple iOS, Blackberry World, Google Play, Windows Store, etc.,  has made buyers believe it will be just as easy within enterprises. But this is far from the truth. Organizations must have a mobile application development, distribution, maintenance, and support program to effectively cater to the business user’s requirements for mobile apps.

A MAM strategy goes way beyond securing data on mobile devices and deploying an access policy. MAM is about adopting a comprehensive lifecycle management for mobile apps (developing, distributing, maintaining, and retiring).

There are five foundational dimensions of an effective MAM strategy:

Mobile Application Management Strategy

With enterprise mobility expanding its horizons and becoming pervasive, organizations can no longer avoid managing their mobile app portfolio. Yet, it is becoming increasingly common to see “mobile app sprawl” where enterprises have multiple mobile apps, but no mobile app strategy. So, how should they approach it? Major providers of MDM solutions such as AirWatch, Apperian, Good Technology, IBM, SAP, and Symantec also support mobile application management. All the mobile application development platform providers, such as Antenna, Appcelerator, Dojo, Kony, IBM, Microstrategy, Netbiscuits, and SAP, do as well. Therefore, enterprise buyers will typically deploy one of these solutions, assuming it is the only required foundation of their “mobile apps” strategy. This is where they confuse device management and application development with comprehensive application lifecycle management.

To add to the confusion and angst in a mobile apps environment, organizations face substantial challenges with development and distribution of mobile apps, and technology providers’ aggressive marketing and high decibel sales efforts continue unabated. For example, despite earlier investments in BYOD initiatives, per the assumption that MDM solutions would help them manage these, some buyers are now having second thoughts. Moving to rework their BYOD strategy, these buyers have become further indecisive and apprehensive about investing in MAD and MAM platforms. Moreover, there is a growing debate around whether buyers really need MDM, or whether MAM will suffice.

Given so many complexities and the rapidly changing environment, buyers need to closely watch the mobility space to create a coherent mobile strategy. None of them want mobility to end up in the same siloed and fragmented state as did traditional technologies adopted within their organizations.

If you are implementing a mobile application development and management strategy, feel free to reach out to me at yugal.joshi@everestgrp.com to share your experiences, good or bad.

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