What is Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP)?

A Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP) is a development environment that provides tools and middleware for developing, testing, deploying, and managing enterprise software running on mobile devices.

A MEAP serves as both a development platform and a management tool for enterprise mobile apps, freeing developers from the task of creating separate apps for different operating systems (OS). This is especially important because organizations that support many different devices don’t have to write code for each device’s operating system. With a centralized management platform, administrators can assign user access to particular applications and allow applications to pull data from specific corporate databases.

MEAP versus MADP

Gartner, a technology research company based in Stamford, Connecticut, started using the term MEAP in 2008 in a Magic Quadrant report, before the proliferation of smartphones. Early MEAPs collected data from personal digital assistants (PDAs).

Rob Tiffany discusses the common
the advantages of the Internet of Things,
MEAP and MDM platforms.

As the industry evolved, MEAPs began to fall under the more general term Mobile Application Development Platforms (MADPs), environments that allow developers to build, test, and deploy applications. mobile for employee, consumer, and business-to-business (B2B) scenarios. Gartner stopped using the term MEAP in 2012, preferring to use the generalized term MADP instead. Today, the term MEAP is more or less obsolete because MEAPs are rarely mentioned in their original terminology.

Important features

In general, a MEAP has two important characteristics:

  1. A mobile application development environment and back-end web services to manage these mobile applications and link them to enterprise applications and databases.
  2. A centralized management component that allows an administrator to control which users can access an application and from which corporate databases that application can pull data.

Sometimes organizations use a mobile enterprise application platform in conjunction with enterprise mobility management (EMM) or mobile device management (MDM). MDM manages mobile devices, while MEAP products manage enterprise applications running on these devices, although there is sometimes an overlap between the functionality of these two technologies.

Advantages and disadvantages of MEAP

In addition to the benefits described above, a mobile enterprise application platform extends beyond Fourth Generation Language (4GL) tools for application development to use a graphical environment and language of dedicated script. The tool makes business applications accessible to users from anywhere and anytime. To facilitate IT management, some MEAP products can operate as a cloud service.

A MEAP, like any technology, has its challenges. The initial investment is high – it is expensive upfront, although the total cost of ownership (TCO) decreases with use over time – and it requires IT to perform additional tasks such as updating content, securing data, maintaining applications with updates and managing user authentication.

A MEAP often falls under the generic term MADP. For more information on MADPs, read our definition.