Feb 11 2014

Colleges Ride the Mobile Tidal Wave with Mobile Application Management Software

Campus IT managers find that once they bring devices under control with MDM, MAM helps them save time and add efficiencies.

In serving a community of medical students, doctors, nurses and administrators, the University of Connecticut Health Center outside of Hartford has been supporting BlackBerry devices for several years.

Steve Mann, director of telecommunications, says it wasn’t until a few years ago when the “tidal wave” of demand for iOS devices made it clear to his team that they needed a more specialized tool to manage the influx of iOS smartphones and tablets and, later, Android devices.

Primarily because of its ability to support iOS and meet state requirements that all medical data be encrypted, UCHC went with MobileIron’s mobile device management system.

“MobileIron gave us the ability to track and remotely wipe lost or stolen devices and do it over a single, elegant console,” Mann says.

Next up for Mann and his team: mobile application management.

“MAM is something we’re looking to do in calendar year 2014,” Mann says. “We aim to create an app store in which we can push out university-supported applications and then manage them, generate reports and pull back the licenses when someone leaves the university.”

Mann says the ability to manage and distribute mobile apps more easily will become very important as UCHC expands over the next few years and the campus grows increasingly spread out. He says plans are in the works to add roughly 600,000 additional square feet to UCHC, including additions to the university hospital and a new outpatient clinic.

John Jackson, research vice president at IDC, says UCHC’s experience with MobileIron dovetails nicely with 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 off at the end of its lifecycle,” he says, adding that tools such as MobileIron are offering these capabilities.

Mobile All the Way

52%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)

At Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Taron James, executive desk support coordinator, says his team started with mobile device management by using the tracking and remote wipe MDM features within AirWatch.

“AirWatch ensures that our security policies are in place,” he says, adding that all university-owned tablets now have secure passwords.

James says VCU also uses AirWatch’s mobile application management features to set policies on which applications students can access.

“The MAM features let us set apps up so students only access the app they need,” James says. “Inventory management is also a big component of MAM. It really helps the departments to know how much the students are using any specific app on a tablet, and if the students are using it for what it was designed for.”

Why MAM?

IDC Research Vice President John Jackson says mobile application management 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

More On