We all know how popular the BYOD trend is. There’s no confusion about that. Heck, we’re so caught up in the BYOD trend that we’re now talking about BYOx….basically, allowing employees to create a corporate free-for-all. We all know how I feel about that.
I came across an article at ZDNet last week that talked about the merits of BYOA – Bring Your Own Apps. My initial reaction was to roll my eyes…yet another absurd manifestation of BYOx. Why on earth would you want to allow employees to use whatever applications they see fit for work? Whatever happened to the notion of consistency and standards across an organization? Why bother using a Mobile Application Management solution if you’re going to allow your employees to go willy-nilly and do whatever the heck they want?
This all said, it got me thinking about the role of Mobile Application Management and how BYOA could actually work in the workplace.
So, MAM tools are great for deploying company applications (yes, I know they can also be used to deploy non-corporate apps….but that’s not the point in this discussion). But in the context of BYOA – where you arguably don’t need a MAM solution – what if MAM solutions were used exclusively (or predominantly) for the deployment of corporate developed applications…meaning the apps that are built by the company for specific use cases? Like I just said, you don’t really NEED a MAM solution if you’re going to allow BYOA. But what if BYOA weren’t Bring Your Own Apps, but instead BUILD Your Own Apps. I’m thinking more specifically about the notion where employees can build their own apps to access corporate data. I don’t think this is such a far-fetched idea given how “easy” it is to build an app and more and more employees have the technical skills to create their own apps with all the new easy to use tools out there.
What if the organization encouraged this approach…but in a controlled way? To do this, the organization would need to create the appropriate web services that would allow employees to access the data. This is not mobile content management (I think that’s better aligned to things such as Dropbox or SharePoint), but instead mobile information management because it would be focused around XML feeds (or the like) that would be provided by the above said web services. The key issue thus becomes federating and controlling the access to said data. How do you do that? Policy management. Leverage your Active Directory or LDAP infrastructure to define who can have access to whatever web services.
Mobile Information Management could thus arguably remove the need for VDI, container solutions, etc. because of the fact that you’re no longer focused on the app per se, but rather the content that is being fed into and out of the application. Worried about security (I hope you are)? Then make sure the web service can only be accessed via a secure connection and just set the authentication requirements and frequency. What if an employee loses their device or leaves the organization? That’s easy, the policy management system can revoke access to those web services, even if the user of the device has the username and password.
So what do you think, can Mobile Information Management be the panacea we’ve all been looking for? Is this truly the answer for World Peace?