Enterprise App Stores Proliferating

Carl Weinschenk

Gartner’s conclusion that the number of enterprise application stores is dramatically increasing is anything but a surprise. Ideas that make sense tend to do well.

The firm released research this week predicting that 25 percent of enterprises will have their own app stores by 2017. The app stores are closely associated with mobile devices, but the enterprise versions will also serve other devices, according to the eWeek story on the findings.

The story outlines three things enterprises should look for in their app stores: inclusion of mobile device management (MDM) functionality, awarding of more control to end users and a concerted effort to keep the cyber shelves well stocked so that users won’t stray.

It all seems so natural. Datamation, in a discussion of the value of enterprise and corporate app stores, outlined the benefits and named some of the major players:

App store platform vendors, like AppDirect and Apperian, are gaining traction and funding. Older vendors, like Jamcracker and Parallels, are finding greater receptivity for their app store capabilities also. Cisco Systems recently announced an investment in Parallels primarily for its virtualization technology, but may have also been attracted to its app store capabilities.

The efficacy of enterprise app stores is unassailable. They give enterprises final control over what employees are using while more fully enfranchising their needs and desires. They increase security by weeding out dangerous apps and create more of a unified software front across all computing devices. They can ensure that the latest versions of all certified apps are in use. In short, an enterprise app store is both a great way to distribute applications and a hands-on and practical organizational tool for the company.

Smyth puts the enterprise app store itself into a bigger context:

Companies need to think about Application Usage Management as an overall strategy to maximize the value of their software assets across the entire license lifecycle. This includes implementing an enterprise app store environment that is tightly integrated with organizations' essential Software License Optimization and Application Readiness systems. These back office systems are implemented to ensure companies derive the most value and efficiency from their software licenses - by ensuring continual software license compliance, optimization and by providing automated application migration, compatibility testing, packaging and deployment capabilities.

The bottom line of all this is that as time passes, the option of letting employees hop onto consumer marketplaces to haphazardly download business apps increasingly isn’t adequate. IT departments must confront this issue.

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Feb 14, 2013 8:48 AM Steve Schmidt Steve Schmidt  says:
It’s not surprising to see Gartner’s prediction that a quarter of all enterprises will house their own ‘app store’ by 2017, but the prediction should raise red flags for IT professionals and executives about the preparedness of their enterprise for an in-house app store. Enterprise app stores deliver a number of advantages, but when you open up the floodgates it can be incredibly difficult to manage software licensing, control entitlement and track actual usage. App stores, like the iTunes App Store, have a consumer-like feel to them, but enterprise app stores need to be smarter than iTunes. If users are downloading at will – to simply play or try an app – that has an impact on enterprises licensing compliance. We’re walking a tightrope of enhanced user experience vs. licensing accountability, which is why it will be critical for enterprises to integrate some form of software licensing optimization – to approve, track, manage and optimize usage of applications available on their app store. The consequences of an unexpected, multi-million dollar true-up can have a lasting impact – and a little planning ahead can go a long way. Reply
Apr 2, 2013 7:04 PM Michael Price Michael Price  says: in response to Steve Schmidt
But Steve, isn't that the whole point of the Appstore? As the broker it holds the relationship to the user and the provider and tracks all usage. It tracks and manages the licensing. The provider can offer enterprise-wide agreements to firms and receive all data for usage. The Appstore delivers the single monthly bill to the enterprise with a detailed usage breakdown. No red flags here. Reply
Apr 25, 2013 8:06 AM Enterprise App Store Enterprise App Store  says:
The point for me of the enterprise app store is to help deploy, manage and monitor in a private and secure environnement. And that is what they do. No red flags here in my point of view. Reply

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