In the wake of a successful CTIA conference out in San Diego, our heads are brimming with mobile application insights and ideas. We had conversations with some of the industry’s sharpest minds, and are feeling all kinds of enterprise mobility mojo.
Taking advantage of the flight back to reflect on the event, I have to elaborate on some insights shared in the Wednesday’s ReadWriteMobile piece profiling 3LM’s Android security solution. The article served up some important distinctions between Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM) — and those distinctions are worth pursuing.
For starters, we need to move away from the broadstoke notion that MAM and MDM are two sides of the same coin. The ReadWriteWeb piece contrasted MDM and MAM as “outside-in” vs. “inside-out” in terms of application management. That’s actually somewhat of a misrepresentation of MDM (unintentional, I’m sure) but for companies like 3LM, the focus is on the device. They are trying to be the BES server for Android. Their objective is not to be a mobile application management vendor.
Application management definitely comes in to play in terms of pushing apps to devices like an MDM vendor can. They can also block consumer apps that may not be approved for enterprise use, effectively firewalling corporate data from attacks (all the more important in more susceptible, open devices like Android). Still, that remains device management.
With true MAM, getting the app on the device is only the beginning. What’s critical is the follow through — managing the entire lifecycle. This entails capturing and measuring user experience via rigorous analytics and deployment.
Setting up MDM and MAM as different approaches to the same challenges really is an apples-to-oranges comparison. They are not solutions that have to exist in isolation. In many cases, an enterprise will benefit from both solutions. If an enterprise is supporting BYOD devices and not buying B2B apps, nor building their own apps, then MDM works great. If an enterprise starts to take advantage of B2B, starts to embrace custom apps, they’re going to need a MAM vendor (and they can always tap an MDM vendor depending on their risk profile).
The crucial point is to understand that MDM and MAM meet different needs and address different challenges. There can be cross-over, and they can often complement each other — which is what businesses need to understand if they want real success from their mobile enterprise apps.