Keeping up with enterprise mobility news, I was skimming a Jack Madden blog post, and about halfway through I had to look back at the top to make sure I didn’t have the date wrong. It said March 22, 2013, but I thought I’d been reading something from the archive. The author raises some concerns about the need for Mobile Application Management (MAM) industry standards, especially in light of the fact that there are standard APIs for managing mobile devices.
Standards are not vendor driven. Standards are market driven, and the MAM market, as we’ve also espoused, is hitting its tipping point of enterprise mobility enculturation. MAM vendors (e.g., us) are more than willing to support standards, but with the market moving so fast, it doesn’t make sense at this time. We need to see the platforms evolve to meet needs as defined by enterprise mobility consumers.
Mobile Device Management (MDM) faces no such defining dynamic. MDM works on the same set of APIs (per platform), which means that with no differentiation, there is no need for standards. MAM vendors are still in that differentiating space — it’s hardly a mature market. We agree that standards kill an emerging market, especially as it works to define itself. When we reach that point of maturity, however, standards become an inevitability. Look at any disruptive technological innovation and that evolution is a safe bet.
That’s, like, sooooooo 2011!
For reinforcement, just check the very same blog that prompted our own post, where you’ll find a welcome counterpoint to Mr. Maddens offered by Colin Steele, who shares our belief that standards at this stage of the game will just inhibit MAM progress. Though I’m going on the record as taking issue with Mr. Steele’s assertion “most mobile workers use their devices to check email.”
Colin, see image and caption. Enterprise mobility today has blown past the novelty of remote email, calendar and filesharing. Check our client app stores, where you’ll find upwards of 300 apps in many cases.
But beyond the bickering, this discussion of standardization with respect to MAM is, in many ways, just a distraction. Consider the diversity of ways you can build a mobile app; they far exceed the number of MAM vendors. Mobile app dev is a far more mature market, and the value of standardizing it would be much higher for the enterprise — but it will never happen because that’s a religious conversation (everyone likes to build their app their way). It’s about iOS and Android (and even Blackberry). It’s about the numerous flavors and iterations within each of those operating systems. It’s about native, hybrid, HTML5 — and all that diversity has been good for app dev.
The same logic certainly applies to MAM, which we unflinchingly assert is moving toward mass adoption. True, it’s not there yet, but what’s the milestone? 50%? 65%? We’re seeing the signs that mobile app builds within the enterprise are going to be the rule rather than the exception. Our customer acquisition confirms that transformative shift. Enterprise mobile app dev has moved from R&D flying under the IT radar to a need for formal programming and management.
So if MAM hasn’t arrived, we’ve definitely put our tray tables up and returned our seats to the upright position. As for standardization? We’ll talk in 2015.
If you need to get up to speed on MAM, allow us to recommend our Understanding MAM eBook series. You’ll find Volume I: The Meaning of MAM here. It’s a quick, informative read. Then you can tackle Volume II: MAM in Action – How Big Companies and Gov’t Agencies Benefit from MAM.