IBM adds mobile application management tools with Apperian integration

IBM MobileFirst shops now have a way to develop and distribute mobile apps, thanks to new Apperian integration with IBM Worklight.

IBM MobileFirst shops that want to develop custom mobile applications and distribute them now have a way to do it.

Last week, Apperian, a Boston-based mobile application management (MAM) company, said it has integrated with IBM Worklight for a new Software as a Service offering within IBM's MobileFirst platform.

Apperian said the partnership is aimed at mobile application developers who can use IBM Worklight to create and develop their app, and then use Apperian to distribute it more easily. The integration exists in a U.S. government-secure cloud environment that is part of the new IBM Federal Cloud Innovation Center.

Both IBM and Apperian were quick to note that the news was for a partnership and not an acquisition. IBM recently acquired enterprise mobility management (EMM) provider Fiberlink Inc.

However, there is a connection between the moves that will potentially give the enterprise two MAM options within IBM's infrastructure, according to Chris Hazelton, a mobile analyst and research director with 451 Research.

Fiberlink's main platform, MaaS360, has similar MAM tools as Apperian, including app wrapping and app store capabilities. How each will be offered and how they'll appeal to those seeking MAM capabilities will in part be determined by what IBM ultimately decides to do with each, Hazelton said.

"They're going after two different customer sets," Hazelton said. "For MaaS360, it will be for someone who wants mobile device management and mobile application management. But Apperian will be for more of an MAM focus and not really for those focused on the device. … If they are more concerned with getting their app out, they'll push toward Apperian."

The linking of Apperian with IBM Worklight will appeal to governmental and financial entities because they're now able to resell each other's Federal Information Security Management Act-certified bundles for application management, according to Eric Klein, senior mobility analyst for VDC Research, in Natick, Mass.

Other MAM vendors that offer similar services to Apperian and IBM Worklight, with MaaS 360 now in the IBM fold, include: AirWatch's Mobile Application Management within its Enterprise App Catalog; App47; Citrix's XenMobile platform; F5 Networks' Mobile App Manager; and MobileIron's AppConnect and AppTunnel.

IBM's goal with Apperian is to create a system for the mobile application lifecycle for making applications, then distributing and managing them in as frictionless a manner as possible, according to Mike Gilfix, director of IBM's MobileFirst Platform and Analytics. He added that the partnership is geared toward entities with security needs.

The development of a platform with government security standards is something unique for mobile customers, according to Cimarron Buser, Apperian's senior vice president.

"Our challenge was, 'How do you make it easy in a very smooth way?'" Buser said. "The user experience within the IBM development platform was very important to us."

Buser likened the experience app developers will have within the new IBM Worklight-Apperian partnership to a carwash, where customers will come in on one side to develop their apps on IBM Worklight, and then out the other to distribute and manage them through Apperian.

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