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Consider the thousands of mobile apps now available to the enterprise. It’s starting to look like the early days of the consumer space in terms of offerings. And it’s no revelation that these enterprise mobile apps are driving once-unthinkable levels of mobile productivity and performance. They are becoming essential to more and more businesses; they are even providing the means by which new businesses can thrive.

Which is why I’m stunned that only a few of these enterprise mobile apps are being actively managed in any capacity.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to presume that most successful companies keep tabs on their operational performance, from employee reviews to constantly seeking improvements in production efficiencies — that kind of common-sense stuff is business basics.

But the majority — correction, the OVERWHELMING majority — of enterprise apps are out there operating with barely a bit of performance monitoring, crash management, update distribution, etc.

There’s a depression in the center of my desk from where I keep pounding my forehead.

What’s the explanation? The reason might be as simple as respecting the outright newness of enterprise mobility. We’re still in the “gee whiz!” stage of mobile apps, enjoying the new untethered power. Remember the early days of the web? But that novelty has to be wearing off, right? We need to start viewing mobile apps as essential, and start evaluating whether or not they are doing their jobs.

There’s also another, more sobering reason why we might not be monitoring our enterprise mobile apps: straightforward intimidation. Many people have told me that to them it just feels arduous. Going mobile was cultural and technological push enough. Now you want me to monitor the apps?

Yes, in fact, I do — and allow me to assure you that it’s not that much trouble. If, for example, I build a web app, I have to contend with load balancers, web servers, etc. — a massive undertaking that people tackle without hesitation despite its size. When you realize that a mobile app is something you quite literally put in your pocket, you begin to grasp that management is appropriately graspable. Come on — if you can wrangle a web app, you can monitor a mobile app with no trouble.

Once you’re comfortable with that concept, ask yourself this question: Who, internally, owns your enterprise mobile app?

Odds are it’s your dev team, which stood the thing up in the first place. But now that it’s up and running, think about migrating it from dev, where it was born, to IT, where management now belongs.

Think about it this way: The idea of systems management and its necessity is part of the IT group, not the dev group. Dev builds software, it doesn’t manage software. IT, however, is the perfect place for mobile app management — and that’s the shift we’re trying to facilitate. Reframe mobile app management as an IT priority and you can implement that base-level management the app needs for optimal operation.

This past year, we’ve seen enterprise apps catch up with consumer apps in terms of visibility and implementation. Concurrent with that, there’s a first wave of forward-thinking companies that are getting smart and employing Mobile Application Management concurrent with their enterprise mobile app deployment.

This enlightened mindset is starting to percolate through the rest of the enterprise community. It’s starting to sink in that you can’t measure enterprise mobile app success the same way you measure consumer mobile app success. It’s not just about downloads or upgrades or in-app purchases. Enterprise apps are about overall usage, reliable performance, stability and usability. That demands deeper management, more precise analytics, and — as a result — the outstanding app performance enterprise demands.

This means respecting the mobile enterprise app as a vital part of the overall enterprise IT systems and wrapping it up in the mobile application management solution it deserves.

If you’re intrigued by MAM and it’s effectiveness within the enterprise, be sure to join us at MoDevEast this week. Registration is still open. Click here, and be sure to use code FOS2012 to save 50%!