Enterprises open their doors to App Stores

According to new research released this morning from Gartner, 25 per cent of enterprises will have an enterprise app store for managing corporate-sanctioned apps on PCs and mobile devices by 2017. Ian Finley, research VP at Gartner, says that these enterprise app stores will offer greater control over the apps used by employees – not to mention greater control over software expenditures – but this greater control will only possible if they are widely adopted:

“Apps downloaded from public app stores for mobile devices disrupt IT security, application and procurement strategies. ‘Bring Your Own Application’ (BYOA) has become as important as 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.”

When successful, he says, they can increase the value delivered by the application portfolio and reduce the associated risks, license fees and administration expenses. Gartner has identified three key enterprise app store trends and recommendations of how organizations can benefit from them.

First, the increasing number of enterprise mobile devices and the adoption of mobile device management (MDM) by enterprises will drive demand and adoption of enterprise app stores. Today, most MDM providers have a simple way of extending apps to mobile devices, usually through a basic agent on the device, but many are launching more-sophisticated app stores that can host enterprise and third-party apps to be accessed by smartphones, tablets and PCs. Gartner believes the development of mobile apps and the support of MDM will drive most enterprise app store implementations during the next 12 to 18 months.

Second, enterprise app stores can support a more diverse and competitive automated software process, in turn requiring less procurement intervention. By delegating choice to end users, organisations can delegate many decisions down to the end-user level, enabling them to make the best choice to meet their needs.

Third and finally, Gartner says the long-term success of an enterprise app store hinges on a dramatic increase in the supply of software solutions. Few companies control their entire mobile value chain. Enterprises should be transitioning from the traditional approach of selecting devices and software for users and instead, establishing app curation policies — as is currently found in public app stores. Without a dynamic selection of apps to choose from, users will eventually have little reason to continue to visit an enterprise app store.

Brian Prentice, research VP at Gartner, says that the implementation of an enterprise app store should be seen as a component of an organisation's app strategy, rather than infrastructure strategy:

“The primary determinant of success is app supply. As a result, application leaders should be given overall responsibility for any app store initiative, but they should work in a collaborative fashion with other teams. The types of apps downloaded and used provide important information as to what types of solutions are of value to each type of user.”

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