Feb 07 2014

With Time and Money at Stake, Governments Transition to Mobile Application Management

Agencies find that once they bring devices under control, MAM tools save them time and bring efficiencies.

For Aracelis Caraballo, IT director for Georgia’s Office of the Attorney General, mobile application management has proved to be a real timesaver.

“It used to take us up to 45 minutes to set up a new device with all its applications,” Caraballo says. “Now we can take care of it in about 15 minutes.”

The Attorney General’s office has been using AirWatch since last November. The agency began by using the product’s mobile device management features — such as device tracking and remote wiping — and gradually moved to the MAM features.

Caraballo uses the AirWatch tool for about 50 of the agency’s attorneys and investigators. Most use their iOS devices for enterprise applications such as email, calendaring and contacts. “We can push out applications and profiles on multiple devices at the same time,” she says. “Plus we can generate reports on usage.”

John Jackson, research vice president for IDC, says the Office of the Attorney General’s experience with AirWatch mirrors how many IT organizations are shifting their focus from managing devices to managing applications.

“IT managers now understand that they need to manage applications in a granular way and through the lifecycle of the application,” Jackson says.

“It’s no longer sufficient to just provision a mobile app and let it out. The app has to be updated, maintained, secured and then disposed of at the end of its lifecycle,” he says, adding that tools such as AirWatch offer those capabilities.

Migrating to MAM

Bob Berg, IT manager for Orange County Public Works in California, says there might come a time where his department will use the MAM features in MobileIron and roll out an app store, but for now it has a couple of internal apps.

Orange County Public Works uses the MDM features in MobileIron to push out authentication certificates and configuration profiles so the department’s 300 mobile devices can access apps and information from internal and external networks.


The percentage of IT managers surveyed who say that their organizations are developing mobile applications for the enterprise

SOURCE: “The Enterprise Mobility Guide for IT Management and CIOs” (iPass/MobileIron, February 2013)

Berg says employees use their mobile devices to complete timecards, requisitions and help desk tickets; keep in touch with county and department information; and access their desktops remotely from an iPad. Workers can also access and download the department’s internal apps, such as asset management software, by scanning a QR code with their mobile devices.

“We find that the QR code is very flexible and easy for people to use,” Berg says. “In addition to scanning QR codes, users can access our public applications directly via Apple’s App Store or Google Play. There is no cost to download these applications.”

Why MAM?

IDC Research Vice President John Jackson says mobile application management (MAM) products let IT organizations manage, secure and distribute mobile applications, as well as apply enhanced policies to individual applications. Mobile application management solutions can either supplement mobile device management features or stand by themselves. They also typically include some combination of the following features:

  • Granular application distribution capabilities by group or policy, often through a mobile enterprise application store
  • Application versioning and end-of-life management, as well as the ability to wipe applications and data remotely
  • Detailed application analytics and reporting
  • Application white lists and blacklists
  • Enforcement of user authentication and encryption per application
  • Enabling or disallowing data storage, offline access, document sharing and
  • copy/paste

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