The other week, we kicked off what proved to be a good discussion about BYOD. The inception was, we thought, innocent enough — the re-Tweet of an article that prompted our friend Philippe Winthrop at the Enterprise Mobility Forum to author a piece the very next day elaborating (read: ranting) on the differences between BYOD and COIT.

Initially, we were ready to brush off the subtleties as tomato/to-mah-to nitpicking. Now we know how Philippe feels because of what’s happening to one of our favorite acronyms — and one he gets credit for creating: MAM.

Just like BYOD is getting tossed around a little too liberally, it seems like MAM (e.g. Mobile Application Management) has become an app dev catch all. Everyone is eager to claim it does just about anything under the sun, when it should really have a very well-defined set of attributes.

In the past two weeks we’ve had a lot of calls with industry analysts, all working hard to figure out how to cover MAM. They’re eager to give it their stamp, their definition, and thus take command of what MAM means in the enterprise mobile app marketplace. As a concept close to our hearts, we’re happy to see MAM awareness on the upswing, but we want to make sure perception ultimately matches reality.

We’ve heard that MAM means security. We’ve heard that MAM means analytics. We’ve heard that MAM means deployment.

Well, each of these assessments is partially right. Those are aspects of MAM — but they account for only one facet of the complete mobile app management lifecycle. And that’s precisely what MAM is defined by — the entire lifecycle.

MAM is so much more than just distribution; distro is the easy part (that’s why we have a free app store). Starting with the development, following through with the analytics, circling back for enhancements — being able to see this complete picture is the real context that constitutes MAM.

As for how to get the most out of MAM, that’s been our mission from day one. The very reason we launched App47 is because we saw the need for true MAM as implemented from a single platform, not a Frankenstein approach where you had to stitch together the services from five or six different vendors. Remember that we’re dealing with mobile devices. We don’t have endless RAM, and users are constantly fighting for space on their phones and tablets. Every time we saw an un-necessary API added, we cringed.

A single aspect of mobile app management is not MAM. A half-dozen different vendors cobbled together to address different performance areas is not MAM. One vendor that can manage the entire mobile app lifecycle — that’s MAM. And that’s all we have to say about that.