Enterprises are finding that app management may become as important as device management as they launch mobility and BYOD initiatives. Because current consumer-focused app stores do nothing to offer the type of deployment control required by enterprises, experts believe these organizations will increasingly turn to enterprise app stores or enterprise app catalogs as a way to improve distribution of both corporate custom apps and sanctioned consumer apps.
"Just like users want BYOD connected to the enterprise, now they want an easy app experience in the enterprise," says Brian Reed, chief marketing and product officer at BoxTone. He adds that he thinks app stores will become a core feature for enterprises by 2014.
A recent survey by Partnerpedia, an application store vendor, found that currently about 70% of the 113 organizations polled name the Apple App Store as a top source for app purchases; almost 40% named Google Play. But technology and line-of-business leaders aren't happy with the situation, saying that they don't like to purchase through these consumer-focused stores for a variety of reasons.
The top reason is a lack of business focus, a concern named by nearly 58% of respondents. Approximately 43% of organizations reported that the inability to own or control app licenses is a problem, and 43% said security issues were an issue with consumer app stores. Additionally, organizations also cited a lack of volume purchasing or PO purchasing as an issue with these consumer stores.
If organizations want to continue to take advantage of the benefits of the consumerization of IT and BYOD, they'll need to find a workaround to these issues, says John Juris, director of product management at Flexera Software.
"Employees want anytime, anywhere, anyhow access to the apps they need to do their job," he says. "They don't think in terms of mobile, on premises, cloud, browser-based, etc. They just want their data and they want their apps on the devices they happen to be using."
While Apple and Google have trained users to expect to find apps in some sort of central repository, those specific mechanisms don't have the same kind of under-the-hood controls in place to satisfy enterprise needs. That's where an enterprise app store comes into play.
At the beginning of the year, Gartner analysts named app stores and marketplaces fifth on a list of 10 strategic technologies for enterprises in 2012. While only a select few early adopters have actually rolled out enterprise app stores, analysts at Gartner and 451 Research, among other experts, believe we'll see an increasing number of these platforms in the coming years. Here are the five driving forces behind enterprise app store adoption.
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