The enterprise needs to embrace the App Store
By Ron Miller
Five years ago, Apple introduced the App Store. Today, every phone OS has to have one and they are even finding their way into the enterprise setting too.
The consumer app store concept had a profound impact on the enterprise that has continued to this day. Today, enterprises have to be thinking about mobile and they need to be thinking about sanctioning certain apps and developing others.
That would require a place to hold all of these apps and hence the idea of an enterprise app store is taking shape. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2017, 25 percent of enterprises will have an app store in place. My question is what's taking everyone so long.
Ian Finley, research vice president at Gartner said in a statement related to this research that organizations face problems when users not only bring their own devices, but also their own apps and the enterprise app store has the potential to fix those problems.
"Bring your own application (BYOA) has become as important as bring your own device (BYOD) in the development of a comprehensive mobile strategy, and the trend toward BYOA has begun to affect desktop and Web applications as well. Enterprise app stores promise at least a partial solution but only if IT security, application, procurement and sourcing professionals can work together to successfully apply the app store concept to their enterprises," he said.
By now, we have seen the power of mobile apps to increase productivity and simplify what was once complex. Today, instead of large, monolithic applications that do lots of things, users want small apps that do a couple of things well.
Against this backdrop, perhaps not coincidentally, we also have seen the rise of the consumerization and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trends. These changes have rocked the enterprise as the power balance between IT and business users has shifted dramatically.
That's because if as an IT pro, you put up a roadblock to stop user from doing something, even with the best of intentions, they very likely can find a way to blow past you. Apps are just too easy to install and use.
Rather than fighting this trend, which is just about impossible to do anyway, a better approach would be to find a way to provide useful mobile tools that are sanctioned by the organization. Once these are in place, some companies may try to block unauthorized ones, but others simply try to encourage the use of the authorized ones.
When you combine the list of sanctioned tools with the ones that you've created in-house, you need a place to house them so that your enterprise users can go and find those tools. It needs to be as easy to use as the Apple App Store or Google Play --and that's where the Enterprise App Store concept comes in.
Mobile Device Management vendors (MDM) often offer a service for building your app store.
It definitely won't be as big as its private counterparts, but it provides a place where your employees can go to look first. Just be sure that you build good apps and that you sanction ones that people want to use.
If you end up with a collection of badly designed internal apps and poor choices for external ones, you will be defeating the purpose of having set up the App Store in the first place. The idea is to get people to use the apps you want instead of the ones that could be less secure.
The enterprise app store makes so much sense in the context of today's IT trends, it's something every company should be working to build.
Photo Credit: (c) Can Stock Photo
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