About a week ago, I felt compelled to comment on a Channel Partners article authored by Hyoun Park, Making Sense of Mobile Life Cycle Management.

It was an informative piece, and its emphasis on developing an app management strategy was spot on. The aspect of Hyoun’s article I took issue with was, in my opinion, an incomplete explanation of Mobile Application Management. While he provided welcome detail on many of its advantages, in the context of the article it was explained as supplemental to a core Mobile Device Management approach.

I certainly don’t fault Hyoun for that perspective. We talk to people all the time who see MDM as the essential starting point to enterprise mobility. It makes sense that we’re used to holding a device, so why wouldn’t mobility be about management at that device level? Well, for us, it’s because we see smarter, safer mobility management occurring not in terms of whatever smartphone or tablet you happen to be holding, but in terms of the enterprise mobile applications that themselves constitute the real functionality benefitting your organization.

As you’ve heard us say again and again, MDM and MAM are not rivals. We think they can work together to create an enterprise mobility solution that works best for an organization (just check out our eBook, MAM + MDM = BMS (Bada$$ Mobile Strategy).

But we also think, as I commented on the Channel Partners piece, that:

MAM is about a whole lot more than just usage and securing data. It’s about distribution, configuration updates, event management — essential to getting a clear picture of user behavior.

MDM vendors seem to be falling over themselves to bolt on MAM capability, but that’s much different than the appstore feature functionality and baseline usage they concentrate on. We don’t want to define (or dismiss) MAM as just an MDM add-on. It can definitely complement MDM, but is its own management solution, often better suited to mobility needs than a device-level strategy alone.

Ultimately, MAM is how you deploy, configure, measure usage, evaluate app performance, determine how often it faults and how you secure it. Describing it as essentially a feature of MDM is short-sighted.

To his absolute credit, Hyoun appreciated the insight, and we’re looking forward to a conversation with him in the near future allowing us to elaborate. The timing should be ideal, as we’re seeing more and more organizations recognize this MDM-independent value of MAM. An IBM Developerworks blog, The Mobile Frontier, asked this (we hope) rhetorical question less than a week ago: Got MAM (mobile application management) in your 2013 mobile menu? 

The urging of the post?

“It is time we paid attention to MAM: Mobile Application Management or conceptually, managing and secure these apps that access the most valuable asset of an enterprise: the data.”

For us, it’s always been more about the data than the device. It’s exciting to see the enterprise start to embrace that thinking.