Mobile Application Management

Mobile
images (3)We believe that Mobile Application Management (MAM) or specifically Mobile Application Portfolio Management(MAPM) is going to be as big and as important in 2013 as MDM was in 2012. The mantra “manage the application, not the device” is going to ring across IT departments. Reason? Enterprises are discovering that MDM is only a part of the solution to enterprise mobility. It is even more important to ensure that enterprise applications are delivered in a secure fashion with adequate compliance controls to meet the mobile lifestyles of end users.

Many of the applications being used by enterprises are off the shelf. They are at Google Play, in the iTunes store, at Evernote, Quickoffice, Dropbox, etc. Many are customized or with wrappers in the app stores of the enterprise. The challenge for IT is to deliver these enterprise apps (and control them) without impacting the user’s privacy or taking control of the user’s personal mobile device.

As an example, an enterprise user may have access to office mail, collaboration tools, operations and sales dashboards on a mobile device. All of these would be secured by a password and need user authentication. But with MAM, if the same user were to turn to the maps app to seek directions to a restaurant or play a game, they won’t need to use a password to unlock the phone. Similarly, when an employee is separated from the business, IT could remotely wipe all enterprise apps and data from the mobile device without affecting the user’s personal apps.

MAM performs a critical function. It ensures that the enterprise does not have access or visibility to personal apps and data on the device. This means if you want to download Fruit Ninja, you can go right ahead.04. Before analyzing the implications and need of MAM, let’s stop a moment to closely define the phenomenon. MAM is the delivery and administration of enterprise software to end users on their mobile device that may or may not be personal. MAM’s focus is on delivering software, licensing, security, usage policy, access/ user authentication, configuration, updates, maintenance, reporting and tracking, roll back sand application refresh/ retirement. If this sounds familiar, it isn’t surprising. Enterprises have been doing this for ages. Except they have been doing it in a desktop environment. They need to do the same for mobile devices.

MAM is different from desktop application management. To start with, it is difficult for the IT department to easily get physical access to the device.

Defining Mobile Application Management

images (4)Clearly, applications in an enterprise cannot be managed the same way they are managed in a store . Within an enterprise, there are costs associated with developing, maintaining, supporting and securitizing apps, upgrading and enhancing them, personalizing them, ensuring that the user experience across devices as well as the desktop is consistent and app updates and new apps are pushed to users. The last is becoming critical in an environment where regulatory pressure is growing and apps may need to be refreshed or replaced at short notice across the enterprise.

The Cost and Convenience

Custom enterprise app store: This is perhaps the most easily understood and widely applied solution. A custom portal enables the distribution with platform-wise or device specific catalogues of internal apps. Using enterprise or ad-hoc provisioning mechanisms, user’s access and download the apps from these stores to their devices. Update or change notifications can be configured to be delivered via SMS or email to users. Among the biggest advantages of a custom enterprise app store is that app distribution can be controlled based on user roles. At Heights we designed a store called AppLife for internal use that manages apps, security and delivers usage metrics for app enhancement. The usage metrics help the enterprise understand who is using which apps, the apps that need to be retired, replaced or enhanced in order to bring down maintenance costs and improve ROI.

Enterprise app catalog on device: The mobile device holds a shell application that contains all the enterprise apps. Complete app management (additions, upgrades, deletions) is enabled from within the shell. The enterprise app catalog on the device provides employees with a wider and deeper level of freedom to choose the apps they want. This is in keeping with the spirit of the answers to these questions help dramatically reduce the costs of maintaining existing applications. The result can free up budgets images (5)for investment in better apps.

This brings us to the definition of apps, so that strategy around app management remains clear and decisions are easier to make. In our experience, the definitions around apps can become an issue leading to delays Which applications are performing/ not performing ,Which applications fall within and which fall outside the architectural requirements, Which applications need to be retired, Which applications need to be upgraded/ enhanced,Which applications need to be replaced.

Mobile application client: This is an application which resides on the mobile device. It leverages the native platform library and/or web to deliver some or all processes needed to create, update, manage, calculate or display information for a specific business purpose. The client interacts with back-end systems to acquire information related to business processes.

Mobile application component or series of components: This is a library comprising of UI, business rules and data acquisition and integration processes available as native, 3rd party or web components. These components are controlled by either platform OEMs or 3rd party Mobile Application Development Platform (MADP) vendors.