How Mobile Application Management Works

Caroline Goan
July 26, 2016

As business moves into a modern digital landscape, the tools that we use to conduct our daily operations are increasingly housed in mobile applications. Often, a company will offer its employees a variety of mobile apps, which they can use to perform their daily tasks. Of course, there can be significant challenges when it comes to the use of mobile technology in a business setting. That’s where mobile application management comes in.

What is Mobile Application Management?

Otherwise known as MAM, mobile application management is the concept of any software or service that can provision and control access to both commercially available, and internally developed apps. These apps can be used on both company provided technology, or "bring-your-own" tablet and smartphones. MAM can help a company with software licensing, delivery, application life-cycle management (ALM), and usage tracking. Many forms of the software can also compare IT-defined policies to mobile device types and ownership in order to ensure proper usage. MAM can also limit how corporate data can be shared and give corporate network administrators the ability to wipe a mobile app clean.

It's not Mobile Device Management

When enterprise mobility first became part of the technological dialogue in business development several years ago, a process known as mobile device management was the recommended approach. However, managing mobile devices that are typically owned by employees has proven a misguided—and often intrusive, method. Many companies have realized that attempting to manage the actual device can prove an impractical effort. Besides, organizations are more concerned with the data than the device itself. Thus, mobile application management (MAM) has arisen as the more formidable means of bridging the gap. In reality, the use of business data and apps is truly what drives businesses forward, and it is this creative material that a company seeks to protect. MAM has provided an easier way for employees to download and use applications, while also enabling IT teams to monitor, track, manage, and secure apps throughout the entire life cycle. This means that, unlike MDM, mobile application management software does not intrude on an employee's personal apps or data.

System Features

The following are some common features of a productive MAM system:

  • App updating
  • App performance monitoring
  • User and group access control
  • App delivery
  • Log reporting
  • User authentication
  • Reporting and tracking
  • Push services
  • Usage analytics
  • Event Management
  • App wrapping

Depending on your solution and needs, your MAM could have a variety of these features, or even something completely new. As technology develops, apps have become much more intuitive to employee behavior and function based on shifts in activity (such as moving locations or changing projects).

Business Process Re-Engineering

As MAM evolves, its focus is on business process re-engineering. The behavior of apps will become intuitive as employee data on workflows and collaboration are taken into consideration. Security, access, and rules can be devised according to an employee's role, and their level of involvement in a project. These rules can also be applied based on an employee’s location, and how the app is being used at the present moment.

Dynamic Policy Rules

In order to monitor, manage, and secure these mobile applications, IT departments will have to develop intuitive and dynamic policy rules that can change based on the behaviors of the app. Solutions are now on the market with this type of technology already built into the code, so any IT department can hit the ground running. They will no longer need to continually monitor and manage employee usage " by hand," as alerts and updates are pinged automatically. Mobile application management software isn't about control––it's about protection. It is a solution to the much more rigid answer of mobile device management. Providing your employees with a simple and safe means of instantly accessing any company data they need (on their own mobile device) can fuel business innovation and create incredibly productive, entrepreneurial employees.