MDM Vendors Look to Mobile Apps/Security Management for Differentiation

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Mobile application management (MAM) became the ‘new’ buzzword in enterprise mobility in 2011/2012 as enterprises and service providers shift their focus from mobile device management (now somewhat commoditized) to mobile app development, delivery, and security.  A large set of relatively small vendors (many of whose names start with ‘App’) is selling solutions for app development, app and content management, and app security.  However, the market is now split into ‘pure-play’ MAM vendors (with a number of sub-categories and niches) and MDM vendors that have been adding some of these capabilities to enrich their core offerings.
  • From the channel perspective, mobile operators and IT service providers have taken note of this trend and are trying to make sense of yet another set of potential partners.  Service providers can resell MAM solutions, but they could also potentially strike more meaningful relationships with MAM vendors as platform providers for managed mobility services.  Or, they can stay with their core MDM partners and hope they are up to the task of adding MAM functionality.

MAM vendors include companies that may provide platforms for mobile app development but also focus on app delivery, ongoing management, and security.  They often help customers set up role/policy-based enterprise app stores and many feature app-wrapping technology that secures each individual app rather than the device.  Examples include AppCentral, AppBlade, App47, Appcelerator, Apperian, and Partnerpedia.  Worklight (acquired by IBM in 2012) provides “open standards-based app development with tools and a console for easy deployment and maintenance of mobile apps, as well as enterprise integration to enable secure device/server connectivity and secure device storage.”  Mocana and Nukona (the latter acquired by Symantec in 2012) focus more on the security side, providing ‘app-wrapping’ technology and enabling data access/authentication, usage controls, and protection policies such as per app file encryption and copy-and-paste prevention.

Meanwhile, MDM vendors such as AirWatch, MobileIron, BoxTone, Zenprise, and Fiberlink are adding their own MAM capabilities.  For example, BoxTone provides application lifecycle management (monitor, update, selective wipe, catalogs, and app-wrapping with encryption, access control, and VPNs).  Fiberlink has expanded app management and security with workflows for large-scale app deployments, increased app security policies (native/injection and wrappers), and document management and containerization features such as enterprise (e.g. SharePoint) and consumer (e.g., Dropbox) integration and document share, edit, and sync functionality.

While we expect consolidation in the MDM/MAM ecosystem, in the meantime, it is actually getting larger and more confusing, with many vendors that position themselves similarly.  This creates both choice and confusion for customers and for the vendors’ channel partners, which have to sort out their preferred vendors for resale and managed mobility services.

2 thoughts on “MDM Vendors Look to Mobile Apps/Security Management for Differentiation

  1. Good article. One question -With most major MDM vendors beginning to provide MAM functionality, it is surprising why pure-play MAM vendors are still emerging and doing well. Any thoughts on that? My guess, is their strategy is to become targets for acquisition by bigger companies entering this space now ( acquire since you are late to develop). What do you think?

    1. Thanks for your question – I am not convinced that all MDM vendors will necessarily go as far as some MAM vendors have in the areas of app-wrapping and content security. But as you suggest, this is a market that needs consolidation. Not only will some of the MAM vendors look to be acquired, but there are also likely to be more acquisitions of some of the MDM vendors.

      In the meantime there are many go to market relationships as well as more formal platform integration efforts in place between MDM and MAM providers as well as carriers and SIs as well as between entities such as Samsung with its SAFE initiatives for its Android devices and MDM vendors, and Motorola 3LM and the MDM vendors. An interesting and evolving ecosystem, for sure!

      Kathryn Weldon

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