MAM, MDM, BYOD, MEAP… Alphabet Soup and a Dose of Confusion

I participated in a discussion of the Enterprise Mobility Group on LinkedIn (which you can link to from our discussion on our own board). It’s addressed towards CIOs, and centers around the growth of Mobile Application Management and it’s impact on Mobile Device Management. Reviewing those comments, and observing the explosive growth of LinkedIn groups targeted at “Enterprise Mobility”, I got thinking about something I’ve noticed for quite a while. 

The market specialists have always seemed very confused when it comes to device management (MDM), mobile application development, and many other areas of mobility. There has always been a tendency to lump multiple technologies together when they really should not be connected. As one example, there has been a tendency for years for media publications to lump “cell phone management” in as part of MDM. Cellular carriers and their channel have always had their own management issues. However, they’re not the same issues a WMS manager has controlling barcode scanners, mobile printers, etc. Yet most industry reports (until very recently), have tended to lump cellular phones, and a whole host of other devices all together when talking “MDM”.

With the advent of iPad, tablets, and BYOD, we’re seeing a lot of the same confusion again today. Ask yourself this question: Would you use an iPad, or even a cell phone to do grocery warehouse picking? Probably not. Yet the questions being ask point to a general belief that smart devices are going to make every other technology outdated. Discussions asking questions like, “Does MAM replace MDM?”, or “Has MDM become irrelevant?”, demonstrate that the consultants still aren’t getting it.

Multiple innovative technologies are going to continue coming into the traditional WMS, TMS, 3PL, etc, mobility space. And, mobility is going to continue to expand outside the four walls. But that doesn’t change the fundamentals. The market specialists might be well advised to focus more on the differences unique to the technologies, instead of attempting to lump them all into one unrecognizable mass.

I’d love to hear your feedback in either the comments below, or on one of the discussion groups mentioned above. What do you see?

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