One of the more compelling visions of how cloud computing will evolve will be the emergence of a raft of self-service applications that users will access through a corporate portal. The enterprise equivalent of an app store, these portals will make applications that reside on public and private clouds readily available.
One example of how these corporate portals in the cloud will emerge comes from RightNow Technologies, a provider of self-service applications in the cloud. It's adding support for custom applications built using its tools as well as providing a suite of management tools for applications that reside on the RightNow platform.
RightNow is not the only company pursuing this app store metaphor for the enterprise. ServiceMesh has a service that allows IT organizations to manage software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications wherever they reside, and BMC has been advocating that IT organizations use its software to build portals that could reside on either a public or private cloud.
Andrew Hull, director of product management for RightNow, says the company has extensive experience delivering self-service applications that thousands of customers already rely on to interact with consumers. So allowing IT organizations to remotely manage and extend that platform only makes sense.
It's becoming clear that IT organizations need to get their arms around all the applications being used across the enterprise. And the first logical step in the process might very well be the creation of an enterprise app store that not only centralizes application provisioning, but also makes it clear how many applications with redundant functionality there really are in the enterprise.