Angry birds for the enterprise: Apperian raises funds to manage those pesky mobile apps

It may be less sexy than more substantive enterprise mobile app plays, but device management is still an important nut to crack.

outdated stack of cell phones and mobile devices

Sometimes I despair a little at how much time and effort enterprises take to perform tasks that really should be considered simple housekeeping. One would have thought that, in this day and age with disruption and turmoil facing many organizations, that we would have reached a place where the most basic tasks of IT management were no longer necessary.

Alas, however, there's no escaping the fact that, like the physical infrastructure our cities and nations work upon, the building blocks of an enterprise's IT footprint are still important. One of these building blocks is increasingly problematic, that of mobile application management (MAM). MAM is all about delivering, securing, and controlling enterprise applications within the context of mobile devices. With the rapidly growing use of mobile devices within enterprise settings, and the increasing move towards bring your own device (BYOD), this is an area of increasing importance.

One vendor riding this wave of increasing awareness over MAM issues is Apperian. Apperian powers application management within a host of large organizations and boasts of customers including AT&T, Cargill, Emory Healthcare, Toyota, and Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Apperian is leveraging a growing trend, that of managing the applications on mobile devices rather than the devices themselves. Rather than ringfencing entire devices and controlling them at large, as is the approach taken by mobile device management (MDM) tools, MAM deals simply with the individual applications on the device.

Analyst firms have commented on the utility of a move away from an MDM approach, with Gartner saying that "Gartner clients who have tried MDM and have received poor feedback from their workforce, which perceives it as too invasive on their mobile devices, have been inquiring about alternative methods to securely provide enterprise access from mobile devices."

451 Research echoes this in its report, "Mobile Applications and Cloud: Companies, Vendors Take Aim at Mobilizing Business Workflows," detailing how Mobile Application Management (MAM) is taking center stage as the focus in mobility management shifts from the device to mobile apps and data. The report states, "Enterprise mobility management built around applications represents the future of ensuring enterprise data is protected and locked down and end users have the access they need to mobile service."

So with these ticks from the analysts, it is perhaps unsurprising that Apperian has secured another funding round. The company is today announcing that it has closed $12 million by way of a Series C round. New investor First Floor Capital joins Bessemer Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, North Bridge Venture Partners, Intel Capital, and CommonAngels Ventures in backing Apperian. 

Of course, Apperian isn't the only player in the space - most notably AirWatch, acquired last year by VMware, is a strong MAM player, and one that is backed by a vendor that offers a whole host of infrastructure services, both mobile, desktop and foundational.

It will be interesting to see how the broader mobile device and application management fields shake out over time - one thing is for sure, the requirement for mobile management will only continue to grow.

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