What is a MEAP? The 411 on mobile enterprise application platforms

By Karin Kelley

No business has been left untouched by the rise of mobility, and employees have become more demanding about which devices they can use and how they can interact with enterprise apps. As such, modern businesses are finding it hard to survive without developing a solid and comprehensive mobile strategy.

Though many technologies can help manage increasingly mobile enterprise environments, most overlap with one another, and businesses that want to streamline mobile app development and management with one comprehensive tool should consider a mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP).

What is a MEAP?

The management features of a MEAP often overlap with more widely known mobile device management (MDM) platforms, but MEAPs are designed to handle the applications that run on MDM-controlled devices. At a high level, MEAPs are used in two main processes: mobile app development and mobile app management.

Using MEAP for app development

Most MEAPs allow developers to build cross-platform apps that can run on multiple devices and operating systems with a single code base. Depending on the particular functionality of the MEAP, the apps can be wrapped in a container that is compatible with a particular mobile device or compiled at runtime to work on whatever device or operating system the application is being accessed from. Developers can also build native, web or hybrid apps with most MEAPs.

Additionally, MEAPs come with prebuilt APIs that can integrate mobile applications with enterprise back-end systems at runtime so developers don’t have to write custom code. If this is done from the cloud, it would basically be the runtime environment of the MEAP, also known as mobile back-end-as-a-service (MBaaS).

Download Gartner report on managed mobility services

App management with MEAPs

As far as mobile app management goes, most MEAPs come with essential enterprise security components, such as network access controls and identity and access management features. These capabilities allow administrators to control who can access apps from given devices and specific areas on the network. Additionally, MEAPs allow administrators to publish apps in common app stores so users can easily access their productivity apps on the go. Updates and version controls are also handled automatically through these marketplaces or in a customized app store many MEAPs will provide.

To MEAP or not to MEAP?

With the long list of mobility management acronyms out there, many organizations and mobile app managers can understandably become confused about which tools they should incorporate into their mobile strategy. Though MDM and mobile application management (MAM) are well known, mobile managers may find themselves asking, “What is a MEAP? Is it more beneficial than MDM or MAM?”

MEAPs are often deployed in conjunction with MDM or MAM platforms, and they can offer a more flexible alternative to organizations that are deploying bring-your-own-device programs. If deployed properly, MEAPs can help organizations lower development time and costs, increase user productivity and satisfaction, and gain more control over their mobile environments through a single pane.

Written By

Karin Kelley

Independent Analyst & Writer

Karin is an independent industry analyst and writer, with over 10 years experience in information technology. She focuses on cloud infrastructure, hosted applications and services, end user computing and related systems management software and services. She spent nearly eight years…

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