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At MWC 2016, four major vendors in the enterprise mobility management (EMM) space, VMware AirWatch, MobileIron, JAMF Software, and IBM, jointly announced the AppConfig Community with the goal of standardizing the approach to configuring and managing mobile apps.
Mobile apps present organizations with the opportunity to transform business processes, but deployment and development complexities are restricting the ability of many organizations to realize this value. The AppConfig Community has been formed to help overcome this challenge through the provision of best-practice resources and developer tools. Through promoting a standardized approach to app configuration and deployment, the community hopes to make the process of transforming business processes with applications easier for organizations.
Best-practice resources and tools that are accessible via the community have been developed to help organizations better understand mobile app development and the deployment complexities associated with app configuration, security, access control, single sign-on, and per-app VPN. Upon launch, the community content is focused on iOS, but resources associated with Android and Windows are set to follow. The collaboration of leading EMM vendors around this best-practice guidance is very welcome because it will provide organizations with valuable knowledge, guidance, and a common understanding around some elements of enterprise mobility that many find challenging.
Traditionally, app developers use proprietary software development kits (SDKs) to configure and manage app features via an EMM solution. The challenge has been that developers have to build different versions of their apps to be compatible with multiple EMM solutions. The AppConfig Community provides a standardized approach to configuration and deployment, combined with an XML schema that allows developers to define their configurations and IT administrators to consume them, resulting in developers being able to create one app that will be compatible across EMM solutions. This significantly reduces the development overheads that are traditionally associated with designing integration for multiple tools.
As with any community, it will be hard to gauge the true business value it delivers until engagement can be effectively measured. However, the provision of neutral, vendor-agnostic resources, forums, and best-practice advice is encouraging.
Adam Holtby, Research Analyst, Enterprise Mobility and Productivity Software
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