Mobile App Management Space Starting to Consolidate

The news that Symantec has acquired Mobile App Management (MAM) firm Nukona wasn’t surprising – not that Nukona was being acquired, but that it’s a matter of time the MAM space would start to consolidate.

Last year, we saw a significant uptick in mindshare when it came to MAM – internal enterprise app stores that provides an easy self-service app distribution and management model for the enterprise.

MAM has been growing in momentum with several vendors in the space. Some are recent startups like Apperian, others like Partnerpedia has been in business for many years.

In any fast growing emerging market, you will see an expansion in the number of vendors providing the solution, followed by a consolidation, before the market becomes mature. Consolidation can happen through acquisition by larger players or companies simply go away due to a lack of funding or business. The remaining players then consist of the large vendors with broad portfolios, and the remaining independent vendors who have a thriving business.

Symantec acquiring a MAM player doesn’t come as a surprise. The MAM market focuses on application policies, while mobile device management (MDM) focuses on device security. Symantec, being a security vendor is expanding its portfolio of MDM solutions to include MAM. Beyond security vendors such as Symantec and McAfee (Intel), large IT vendors should also be looking at this space with similar ambitions. The question is either build or buy.

One might think that large vendor will dominate the market over smaller one. However, sometimes it can be the opposite. Large vendors are not fast movers and innovators in a rapidly evolving market. Their solutions often end up being far more complex (though perhaps more powerful) than the majority of the market may need. Or the sales force and channels have not been incented or optimized to sell effectively.

Improperly assimilated, the smaller company actually becomes less agile and less successful in developing and selling its solutions. As a result, don’t count out the remaining vendors who may remain independent.

If you look at the days of sales automation systems when Siebel was the dominant player and the preferred solution for large companies, Salesforce came out with its lightweight cloud solution that grew quickly first through SMBs, and is now an enterprise player that dominates that market.

By Sam Liu, Partnerpedia's VP of Marketing

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