One of the lesser-appreciated aspects of mobile computing is the impact it is having on how the applications are developed, deployed and managed across the enterprise. Historically, all those functions were managed in isolation. With the rise of mobile application development platforms (MADPs), all processes surrounding mobile application development and deployment are becoming a lot more cohesive.
Looking to accelerate that trend, AirWatch, a unit of VMware that specializes in providing enterprise mobile management (EMM) as a service, this week at the AirWatch Connnect conference unveiled AirWatch AppShield, a set of tools that make it simpler to wrap mobile applications developed using an MADP in a way that makes it easier to manage and secure those applications on a mobile computing device, regardless of who owns it.
The first providers of MADPs to support the AirWatch AppShield include Adobe, Appcelerator, Kony, MicroStrategy, Oracle, Salesforce.com, Sencha, Telerik and Xamarin.
Kabir Barday, a product management leader for AirWatch, says AirWatch AppShield is the first step in a series of initiatives that AirWatch will take in terms of integrating its EMM services with MADPs, including embracing open application programming interfaces and distributing software development kits (SDKs) that will enable developers to more easily embed EMM functionality into their applications.
In general, EMM is getting a little complicated these days because not only are there multiple standalone offerings, many providers of MADPs are starting to embed EMM functions inside their MADP. It will be up to IT organizations and sometimes even individual developers to determine which EMM path to take. But in the case of AirWatch, Barday says the EMM services scale a lot better than any existing on-premise EMM approach.
In either scenario, the good news is that in the months and years ahead, the development and management of mobile applications is obviously going to be a lot more tightly coupled in the enterprise than anyone has ever experienced before.