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The Mobile Application Management (MAM) Software Market

In a world where business is increasingly conducted from everywhere, on an endless list of personal and corporate devices, mobile application management (MAM) has become a critical enterprise best practice.

While the approach has mostly focused on device management solutions, many organizations are concluding that it makes more sense to take a targeted approach to data management at the application level. By limiting data sharing to specific applications used narrowly, enterprises can take a more streamlined, confident approach to protecting valuable data assets.

This guide will give you the ins and outs of how MAM works and why your enterprise should likely introduce an MAM approach sooner, rather than later. 

What is mobile application management (MAM) software?

MAM tools help organizations manage various aspects of mobile app oversight, including license management, distribution and life cycle management, according to the Gartner definition.

MAM tools integrate proprietary apps with public app store payment and licensing processes — for example, Apple’s Volume Purchase Program. 

MAM tools allow organizations to set security and usage policies for the apps they release into the market, Gartner says. MAM products support native and HTML 5 apps, and some support popular hybrid app architectures. 

smartphone apps screen hands

MAM vs. MDM

MAM is similar to MDM (mobile device management) when it is used to manage employee behavior. In the article “The Future of Mobile Application Management,” Wired writer Alan Murray surmises that there is a trend toward organizations moving from MDM to MAM because of the impracticalities involved with managing employee-owned devices. “Decision makers are more concerned with protecting sensitive enterprise apps and data and not individual devices,” Murray says. 

Murray points out that data and apps drive businesses, not devices. MAM allows employees to quickly access and download business-related apps that their IT teams can manage, monitor and secure, all without employees needlessly exposing their personal apps and data. 

MAM empowers IT leaders to incorporate dynamic policies that can respond based on application behavior, reducing the manual load on IT staff as well. Murray predicts MAM will increase the “adoption of enterprise mobile apps, fuel business innovation and unleash productivity by enabling employees to become more entrepreneurial in their roles.” 

MAM features

In addition to allowing IT teams to oversee app enforcement and limit corporate data sharing, MAM enables organizations to separate business apps and data from the personal content stored on the same devices. 

Other common MAM features include:

  • Software delivery

  • Software license management

  • App configuration

  • Inventory management

  • Application lifecycle management

How does MAM work?

Enterprises can select from several different MAM approaches depending on organizational needs. It’s not uncommon for organizations to move from one approach to another as priorities shift and business scales. 

Software development kits (SDKs)

The SDK approach happens at the application level. Additional code is added to apps during the app-wrapping stage of the development process. The code connects apps to back-end MAM software, so that IT teams can apply and enforce policies on apps and take other precautions to secure enterprise data. 

Containerization 

Containerization is also known as application sandboxing. This process isolates apps or groups of apps away from other apps on devices. Data contained in this area, or the container, is locked inside. Apps within the container are unable to interact with apps outside the container. 

One example of containerization is dual use (or dual persona) technology. Here, two complete separate user interfaces (a work interface and a personal interface) are both present on a single device, but kept separate for all intents and purposes.

Device-level MAM

Device-level MAM gives enterprises the ability to control, monitor and secure apps through MDM protocols built into mobile operating systems. For example, Apple’s Management Open In feature empowers IT teams to control how apps share data among other apps. Cne use case could be an admin preventing users from moving a document received in their enterprise email app and uploading it to their personal storage. 

Benefits of MAM

Enterprises turn to MAM approaches to gain more control over valuable, vulnerable corporate data. As part of an overarching mobile strategy, MAM plays a crucial role when it comes to the way employees and third parties interact with devices on sprawling modern enterprise networks. 

One particularly important application for MAM is within BYOD policies, where enterprises permit employees to conduct work-related business on their own devices. Generally, IT has limited capabilities when it comes to monitoring these connections, opening companies up to significant potential exposure. Limiting employee work to enterprise-monitored applications alone can help to mitigate these inherent risks. 

One noteworthy benefit of MAM is the ability to perform remote wipes targeted to enterprise-enabled apps versus wiping an employee’s entire device should it be lost or stolen (or when an employee severs ties with the company). 

MAM use cases

MAM use cases vary widely, based on enterprise goals. Digital.ai recently examined several interesting real-world use cases that showcase the breadth of these approaches. The company identified three unique ways it clients have used its Apperian App Management customer to solve data security challenges:

  • One large scale video game developer used MAM technology to test apps alongside an MDM approach applied to the management of employee devices

  • A global agricultural distributor used MAM to reach “thousands” of BYOD and unmanaged devices

  • A top-five global auto manufacturer uses the technology to distribute its apps to users within its dealership network

Industry leader MobileIron (acquired by Ivanti in late 2020) describes similar use cases for its proprietary MAM, AppStation. The company said its clients were primarily concerned with protecting employees who didn’t want to share personal content with their companies. 

This was leading to a resistance of corporate management over their personal BYOD devices. A MAM approach allowed these clients to entirely separate enterprise apps from employee data, while protecting enterprise data at all times.

MAM software companies

Research firm Reports Insights identifies several key global competitors in the global mobile application management market:

  • Citrix XenMobile

  • IBM

  • Apperian

  • BlackBerry

  • Pulse Secure

  • Progress

  • Microsoft Intune 

  • Sophos

  • Appaloosa

  • MobileIron (acquired by Ivanti)

  • Mocana

MAM and enterprise mobility management (EMM)

In simple terms, EMM is an overarching approach to mobile device management at an enterprise level. It’s easy to see how MAM (or MDM) fits under this umbrella. MAM is part of a multi-pronged approach taken by proactive enterprises. 

As previously mentioned, MAM is increasingly taking over an exclusively MDM approach, where companies are tasked with monitoring a cadre of disparate employee devices. With a MAM focus, enterprises can hone in on application-level data wherever it lives on employee devices without exposing employee data, which is often a welcome solution on both sides of the equation. 

Looking ahead

We can’t be entirely sure where enterprise mobile data use is headed, but no doubt, this is an area where we can expect exponential growth.

Data is the beating heart of an enterprise and its employee workflows.

MAM is a leaner, more robust approach to mobile data management over legacy approaches and traditional stand-alone MDM programs.

For most enterprises, MAM should be included as a critical component of a comprehensive EMM strategy.

Related articles

• Enterprise mobility management: Trends and challenges for 2021

• The mobile device management (MDM) software market

• Mobile device policy guide: BYOD, CYOD, COPE, COBO

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