Mobile platforms – MAM, MEAP and MDM – a beginners guide

Posted on March 11, 2013

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As business become more and more reliant on Mobile apps then there is a need for firms to manage and control these apps and their usage.
To that end there is are suite of new types of platform entering the market for mobile solutions, and while some have been around for a while they are starting to become essential for the business,  so here is a beginners guide to the alphabet soup in the title.

Firstly,  here is a short scenario to set the context

A medium sized business has recognised that more and more of it’s users rely on tablets and mobile phones,  and they want to make the most of this opportunity.  When they consider replacement machines, the transformer laptops are scoring highly, and they’ve noticed that the younger members of the team are changing the way the business processes operate. they would like to provide a range of apps to their user base, to control spending on the business phones, and to maker fuller use of mobiles in their processes. To this end they consider some new capabilities in their IT landscape.

So lets think of what this business may need:

  • A private app store in which the firm’s pre-selected apps are placed, and where staff can obtain them, and the CIO can control expenditure or make use of bulk licence deals.
    This is called a MAM which stands for Mobile App Management and is a place where the biz can place their apps, even apps they have had made for them.
    Staff can go there and download the apps that are made available to them.
    This could be a cloud based solution such as Apperian or FeedHenry,  or be a part of another system as we’ll see below.
    So a MAM is there to manage the apps that are supplied to staff (B2E)
  • to proactively manage apps on user’s devices (byod or otherwise)
    Some apps are important, and you do not want to wait for your users to get round to installing it, or configuring it properly,  so you need an MDM a Mobile Device Manager,  this is a system that can add/remove and configure apps on devices.  With an MDM platform you can be in control of the important apps.
    Your likely to source this from your operator unless your big enough to warrant such a solution,  these are not cheap.
  • To be able to send and receive data from the “legacy” back end, and the new apps
    More recent apps have started to send chunks of data to the app for local use,  and this often requires a transformation either of the data structure or the method used to encode it,  eg you might strip out some data, simplify some other fields (merge 3 name fields into one for example) and then convert it to JSON.
    Tools like Cast iron and others can do this for you,  and this can be achieved on the fly,  and indeed as a cloud based solution.
  • Support the IT developers in building new apps
    apps are relatively new, and increasing in usefulness,  and until the ISVs become effective at producing apps, there will be a need to roll your own, much like web sites in the late 90s.  So you’ll need a facility to manage the frameworks you build against, the ability to test apps and to perform test integrations etc.

The diagram below shows the relationships in a graphical way …

MEAP hierarchy 2

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Posted in: Apps, Architecture, mobile