When to Deploy an MAM Solution


Many of us are confounded by the challenges introduced by the advent of mobile devices in our daily lives. For an IT administrator, it starts with recognising the challenges in the first place, and then trying to find a solution. While looking for solutions, frequently administrators are faced with a choice between a UEM and an MAM solution, with not much of an idea when to deploy and when not to deploy a MAM solution.

So what is MAM?

MAM stands for Mobile Application Management. In simple terms, it is a solution for distributing and managing applications to mobile devices. The application itself can be a public mobile app store application, a web application, or an internally developed enterprise application. Most MAM solutions don’t require a user to “enroll”, in conventional terms, and don’t allow an administrator to monitor or manage anything on the device, other than the provisioned apps. These solutions generally have a built-in app store. Additionally, an enhanced level of app data security is offered by using proprietary app packaging.

And what is UEM again?

UEM stands for Unified Endpoint Management. I would define a UEM solution as one that manages all your devices in a similar manner. A typical UEM solution generally installs a profile or an app on a device, which in turn allows the solution to further install more apps, Wi-Fi / VPN profiles, certificates etc. on the device. The solution also allows administrators to enforce strict security requirements on devices, while generally giving them the control to wipe a device, even when it’s a user’s personal device.


When to go for an MAM solution?


Based on my interaction with customers and industry folks, in my opinion, here are five main reasons to opt for an MAM solution:


End users require only a few apps!


Depending on organizations, there are scenarios where only few apps need to be provisioned to end users. Generally, these apps include a mail app, a document management app and some assorted in-house web apps. Users may not require Wi-Fi profiles to be preconfigured, or even a VPN connection to be in place. In such scenarios, an MAM solution makes a lot of sense. It is worth noting that even when some apps require a VPN connection to be in place, some MAM solutions like ZENworks Mobile Workspace can obviate the need, by providing a built-in secure connection to the corporate network.


End users don’t like big brother watching upon them


In organizations with large BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) user base, when deploying any mobile management solution, the key end user concern is around privacy. Most UEM solutions provide tools that allow administrators to monitor device and app usage, list down personal apps, track locations and in most scenarios, fully wipe users’ personal devices, without even providing a warning. In such scenarios, even an isolated breach can cause end user trust issues. Additionally, within some organizations, it may not be legally possible to use such a solution on users’ personal devices, either due to contractual restrictions or in some cases, due to a country’s legislation. Since a typical MAM solution only provides visibility and control over company-provisioned apps, it can be just the solution to ride over all privacy or legal concerns.


Securing App Data is the biggest concern


For any organization, ensuring data security ranks high on the priority list. Most UEM solutions provide device-level security by enforcing device passwords and enforcing device encryption. In most scenarios, mandating these policies on users’ personal devices causes resentment amongst end users. However, in quite a few scenarios, organizations are more concerned about the security of data within emails and apps. Since most MAM solutions ensure that data within corporate apps remains secure at all times, such use cases make a compelling case for using an MAM-only solution.


Budgets are constrained


Almost all UEM solutions have a built-in MAM functionality. From the pricing perspective, this means that most MAM-only solutions cost much less than UEM solutions. So if an organization has a budget constraint and an MAM solution fits most of its needs, quite a lot of money can be saved by opting for an MAM solution.


Employees belong to multiple organizations


Some employees work on a contractual basis and hence, may work for multiple organizations. If devices belonging to such employees already have a UEM solution installed on them, it will not be possible to configure another UEM solution on such devices. In such scenarios, using an MAM solution can enable an organization to provide these employees with the necessary apps and thus allowing them to do their work effectively.


What to watch out for when opting for an MAM solution?


Since the world is not perfect, here are couple of things to be aware of when opting for an MAM solution:

    • MAM solutions typically require an application to be either wrapped or compiled using a proprietary SDK. This may require a skill set that may not be available within organizations. It can also lead to additional training costs. Some MAM solutions provide this as a part of their contract, but more often, the cost is already factored into the overall price.


    • For some apps, wrapping or compiling them using a proprietary SDK may violate either app-specific license terms or even mobile app store license terms (where the app is originally hosted). Thus, such apps can’t be distributed using an MAM solution, but can be distributed using a UEM solution (which generally doesn’t require wrapping or the use of an SDK).


ZENworks Mobile Workspace


There are many MAM solutions in the market, however, not all are equal. I would definitely urge you to evaluate ZENworksRegistered Mobile Workspace, which is a simple, yet highly secure mobile application management (MAM) solution. It enables end users to access corporate data through a company-controlled workspace on their mobile devices.




Depending upon the use case under consideration, an MAM solution can provide significant value to end users, while still keeping costs in check, and ensuring data security and user privacy. Hopefully, this article will help you in your quest to deploy the most suitable solution for your organization. If you have further queries on a MAM solution, please feel free to reach out.

Note: A version of this article first appeared in Issue 40 of Open Horizon Magazine.


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