How iOS 7 will affect EMM vendors

Over the last few months I've been spending a lot time talking and writing about how iOS 7 could affect mobile app management. With the release imminent, I'm going to wrap all this up by taking a look at how having MAM available natively in iOS 7 could affect different types of EMM vendors.

Over the last few months I’ve been spending a lot time talking and writing about how iOS 7 could affect mobile app management. With the release imminent, I’m going to wrap all this up by taking a look at how having MAM available natively in iOS 7 could affect different types of EMM vendors.

If you need to catch up on the conversation, check out the previous articles in this series:

EMM vendors that already have both MDM and third-party MAM will be just fine

There probably won’t be much of a change for well-established vendors that already have both MDM and MAM offerings. No matter how MAM is done on the device, you still need a third-party EMM vendor on the other end to bring everything together. For these vendors, iOS 7 will add a few more options, but overall it won’t be a huge shift.

Many basic MDM vendors will now be able to provide MAM

This is where iOS 7 will have the biggest impact. For vendors that just use the iOS MDM protocol and don’t have any of their own third-party tools, iOS 7 will give them new MAM capabilities overnight! Expect to hear a lot of these vendors talking up a storm about this. This is fine, but remember they owe a lot to Apple. And keep in mind that what will be more important now is how they offer flexible, scalable, and well-integrated ways of using iOS management.

This will take pressure off the MAM standards issue

Once all MDM vendors can do basic MAM through iOS 7, there will less of a need for them to build up a full stack of third-party MAM components. Remember, one of the issues with third-party MAM is that since each vendor is creating everything (app wrapping tools, SDKs, MAM APIs, etc) on their own, all of these products are proprietary. This creates a whole mess of competing ecosystems, and is the reason that I’ve written in the past that we need some sort of MAM standards. Fortunately iOS 7 will take the pressure off of this issue. For an example of this, look at VMware—they were about to release an app wrapping tool, but decided not to in light of iOS 7. That means one fewer competing MAM protocol.

What about vendors that just do MAM?

What about vendors that just concentrate on MAM? Will they be redundant? The answer is definitely no, because there are inherent differences between third-party MAM and the OS-enabled MAM that will come with iOS 7. These vendors will continue to be important for going above and beyond the native iOS 7 capabilities, or for situations where you might not be able to use iOS 7 MAM. We can probably also expect these vendors to go to market with a more specialized security and development message, and less of a general “what to do about iPhones and BYOD” message. 

Some use cases for app wrapping go away

There are several different ways that app wrapping can be used, and one of the use cases that got talked about was securing pre-existing apps built by other parties. This always seemed like fiddly process (involving getting apps directly from ISVs instead of through the Apple App Store, wrapping the apps, and then distributing them as in-house enterprise-signed apps) and it was definitely a big grey area. But now if you want to apply management policies to somebody else’s app you can just use the MAM built into iOS 7, so this questionable use case for app wrapping is going away.

Don’t forget about apps and content

iOS 7 MAM will bring many new opportunities, but remember that management is only half of the equation—we still need actual apps to manage! A few stumbling blocks have been removed, but most of the hard work of “mobilizing” the enterprise remains.

Remember, this is only iOS

Of course we still have to deal with Android, but what’s interesting is that there are already a number of ways to get granular, platform-enabled MAM in Android, including Samsung SAFE and KNOX, VMware Horizon Mobile, Cellrox, and others. It’s just that we’re just more excited about iOS 7 because there’s no fragmentation to deal with. Android will still be headache moving forward, and EMM vendors will still have to work on third-party MAM if they want to provide some consistency among all that fragmentation.

Everyone wins! (?)

When there are more new options for how to approach mobile app management, we’re more likely to be able to find acceptable solutions for problems—there’s no doubt that iOS 7 is a big step forwards for enterprise mobility management.

Already I’ve spoken to plenty of vendors and IT admins who say that this could be a big help for them, though we won’t know for sure until we get a chance to look at all the details. What do you think—is iOS 7 MAM going to be a big deal for you, or not?

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