RMAD vs. MADP – Understanding Mobile Development Lingo

The technology world relishes creating new jargon and acronyms. When a technology becomes stable and dominant, this makes life a little bit easier for everyone. For example, VHS is a lot more convenient to say than “video home system” every time you want to talk about those big plastic boxes full of tape that nobody uses any more. But when technologies are evolving really quickly, sometimes we get a lot more acronyms than we can handle. This is the case with enterprise mobility right now. So without getting into MEAP, MBaaS, or EMM, let’s just talk about two acronyms – RMAD and MADP.

What’s all the MAD-ness about?

To start, the MAD part stands for Mobile Application Development in both cases. So the good news is that we know both of these are about building mobile solutions. The R in RMAD stands for Rapid, and the P in MADP stands for Platform. So RMAD is clearly about building mobile solutions quickly. But if you went to the website of a vendor who was classified as an MADP provider, I can almost guarantee they would say they help you get things built faster as well. 

Gartner uses the RMAD term and has even published a market guide around this space. In this guide, they focus on simpler, faster development of mobile apps by business analysts. [The current version of Sitrion ONE wasn’t released last November when this report was written, but the authors of the guide have been updated on how Sitrion ONE fits in the RMAD market.] To understand why Gartner has written specific guidance on this approach and how RMAD solutions are much faster, it helps to have a picture.

Sitrion ONE - Rapid Mobile Application Development

The diagram above shows a very simple view of what’s involved in enterprise mobility. Basically, the solution needs to span all the way from connecting to backend systems through secure access and out to the actual mobile device. RMAD solutions solve the whole problem in an integrated way. This is what gives you the incredible speed of delivery (and this is what Sitrion ONE does).

It is important to point out that MADP vendors can actually provide all of the pieces, but their solutions are typically built so you can use just certain pieces. This makes sense if you are building beautiful clients for consumers – who may not require secure access or backend connectivity. On the flip side, basically every employee enterprise mobility use case need all of these things. And having an integrated platform makes building, deploying, and updating these solutions tremendously faster with RMAD. 

So which one do you need?

So now that you know how to separate RMAD from MADP, which one do you need? Most likely, you need both. Probably 80% of your enterprise mobile use cases are going to be things like approvals, information updates, data lookups, or quick data entry (e.g., making a vacation request). RMAD solutions are perfect for these use cases. MADP systems tend to be best for very custom applications built for very specific business needs or as your consumer-facing experience.

So if you haven’t chosen either kind of system, which one should you pick first? This one is easy – RMAD. And I’m not just saying that because we sell an RMAD solution. Successful enterprise mobility is about agility and learning. With an RMAD platform, you can quickly get use cases out to your employees and start delivering value in a fraction of the time and cost of a typical MADP project. You will learn tremendously from these first solutions, and this will help you to choose wisely where you want to make bigger investments.  

Hopefully this gives you a better understanding of these two mobility acronyms. More importantly, I hope this helps you understand the kinds of choices you need to make when pursuing mobile in your company. If you focus on how to get to business value quickly and cost effectively, it just doesn’t matter what kind of MAD label the industry comes up with next.

To get more of your mobile questions answered, be sure to join us for an upcoming enterprise mobility strategy webinar with Forrester Research where we will discuss these different mobile approaches.


Brian Kellner, Chief Technology Officer

Brian Kellner is responsible for Sitrion's product strategy and development. Brian has held product or development management positions for over a dozen years. Most recently he was Vice President of Enterprise Products for Webroot Software. Brian holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.S. in Management from Colorado Tech.


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