This post is part two in a five-part series on the lifecycle of mobile application management. For previous posts in the series, see: Part I, Introduction.

Last week, we kicked off our series on the lifecycle of mobile app management with a simple introduction. This week, we’re ready to dive into the meat of the series.

Mobile app management, or MAM, is only one in a large landscape of technologies and trends related to mobility in the enterprise. Understanding where MAM lies in relation to these technologies and trends is the first step towards making more informed decisions about mobile apps. So: how does MAM stack up?

Here are a few other key technologies to keep an eye on:

MDM: When it first hit the enterprise, MDM was revolutionary in a lot of ways. By securing the full device, companies could guarantee the security of their data. However, as smartphones became more ubiquitous—along with iPads, tablets, and other personal devices—MDM quickly became the proverbial sledgehammer to the nail.

It’s very difficult to manage all of an employee’s devices—especially personal ones. Though still useful in a few (albeit limited) applications, MDM has largely plateaued in terms of productivity in the enterprise.

BYOD: BYOD is headed along a similar trajectory to MDM. BYOD is useful in theory, but difficult in practice as, again, employees have several devices and it’s tough to secure the entire device, especially if it isn’t company-owned. Less adaptive enterprises still use BYOD as a way to secure data, and it does work in some cases.

However, for more sophisticated companies that rely more heavily on mobile, BYOD has a hard time keeping up. It likely won’t be long until BYOD hits its limit in terms of utility.

Wearables: Wearables, on the other hand, are at the top of their game right now. The hype is there. You don’t have to look far to find blogs asking what the future of wearables in the enterprise will be, or how the Oculus Rift is about to revolutionize teleconferencing.

Even so, at this point, there’s likely nowhere to go but down. Could wearables prove useful in a business setting? Certainly. But they’re no magic bullet. Wearables are “hot” in the consumer market, but when you look at how long it took for the enterprise to start building apps, it’s clear that it’s going to take time to adopt wearables.

Though they will likely become useful eventually, we expect expectations to settle down before wearables find their place in a business setting.

5G: We included 5G simply because it’s a great example of a technology with an uncertain future. At this point, lots of people are excited about it—gigabit speeds over a wireless network could stand to have an incredible impact on mobile productivity. And yet, standards are still unclear—what exactly is 5G? Who will enforce the standards? When will it roll out?

Because of that, it’s hard to speculate as to what 5G’s future will be. Expectations likely have nowhere to go but up as standards become more clear, but for now, 5G is too far in the uncertain future to know for sure. 

These key technologies are only the tip of the iceberg, but they’re useful in pinpointing MAM along its lifecycle. As we mentioned last week, MAM is still in relatively early days—and the best is yet to come.

MAM, for example, is much newer than BYOD, but it’s also much more sophisticated. MAM is infinitely more mature than 5G; at this point, no one even really knows what 5G will look like or when we’ll actually see it in practice. Excitement surrounding wearable technology in the enterprise is starting to settle down, but expectations are still high and it still remains to be seen where exactly wearables will fit in tomorrow’s businesses.

Just as MDM went through periods of heightened expectations, and then frustrations, and then widespread adoption where it reached optimum productivity in the enterprise, so too can we expect MAM to follow a similar path. It’s not so new that we don’t yet know how it fits in the enterprise, and yet, it’s not so old that we’re frustrated with its limitations. (We think there’s a long way to go before we reach that point.)

Realistically, right now, MAM is somewhere in between BYOA and MDM. Expectations about MAM have settled, but the most astute enterprises realize there’s still lots of room to grow, and even more room for new innovations and productivity as adoption increases.

MAM may eventually fade out altogether, as many new enterprise technologies do. But, seeing how it’s positioned against other enterprise mobile tech, and having spoken with many companies that are starting to see serious productivity gains as a result of MAM, we think it’s far more likely that MAM will grow and evolve with enterprises until finally mobile app management and enterprise mobile app stores secure a long-lasting place across businesses of all shapes and sizes. 

Now that you have a better understanding of the current state of MAM among other enterprise mobile technologies, we can move on to another key point: why it’s so important to invest in mobile apps right now. For the answer to that question, be sure to tune in next week.

Have a question about this post, or about any other post in the series? Reach out to us in the comments or on Twitter @App47. We would love to answer any questions you have!