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Enterprise App Stores Proliferating

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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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