Updated on 23 September 2010
Bring Your Own Application (BYOA) is getting real and fast. So much so that it is already beginning to impact the manner in which enterprises manage their application landscape. Research and advisory firm Gartner has revealed that by 2017, 25 per cent of enterprises will have an enterprise app store for managing corporate-sanctioned apps on PCs and mobile devices since they promise greater control over application used by employees, software expenditures and vendor negotiations.
"Apps downloaded from public app stores for mobile devices disrupt IT security, application and procurement strategies," says Ian Finley, research vice president at Gartner. "Bring your own application (BYOA) has become as important as bring your own device (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, they can increase the value delivered by the application portfolio and reduce the associated risks, license fees and administration expenses says Finley.
Gartner has identified three key enterprise app store trends and recommendations of how organizations can benefit from them:
The increasing number of enterprise mobile devices and the adoption of master data management (MDM) by enterprises will drive demand and adoption of enterprise app stores.
Enterprises already have numerous choices for downloading software onto PCs, but most of them don't include support for smartphones and tablets. Enterprises are beginning to formalize more standard support for these devices, and are looking for ways to manage mobile application provision, especially as they develop their own in-house apps to extend more complex data to these devices.
"Many enterprises have looked to MDM vendors to provide these capabilities as part of the suite of services that MDM providers are selling," says Phillip Redman, research vice president at Gartner. "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. The development of mobile apps and the support of MDM will drive most enterprise app store implementations during the next 12 to 18 months."
Organizations begin by assessing the realistic need for immediate adoption of enterprise app stores and looking for providers that offer cross-platform support for Web, PC and mobile apps, as well as for different devices. App stores should be part of an MDM bundle of features and should be purchased along with a full mobile management solution.
Enterprise app stores can support a more diverse and competitive automated software process requiring less procurement intervention.
The enterprise app store offers a way to automate the procurement of enterprise software licenses from app stores under corporate control as part of the normal requisitioning process. By delegating choice to end users, organizations can delegate many important price and performance decisions down to the end-user level, enabling them to make the best choice to meet their needs with the knowledge that the cost will require management approval and/or chargeback to their business unit.
"Enterprise app stores enable procurement to broaden user choice by encouraging providers to submit competing apps, and to monitor demand for popular apps that may benefit from better negotiation of license terms and prices," says Stewart Buchanan, research vice president at Gartner.
The long-term success of an enterprise app store hinges on a dramatic increase in the supply of software solutions.
Few companies are still in the position to control their entire mobile value chain. Enterprise IT organizations should be transitioning from the traditional approach of selecting devices and software for users and instead, establishing transparent and enforced app curation policies—as is currently found in public app stores.
This shift in control will be challenging for many IT organizations. But even more profound will be the enablement of choice. Without a dynamic selection of apps to choose from, users will eventually have little reason to continue to visit an enterprise app store. An app store can be a natural way to share new applications within the enterprise, recognize great applications, provide feedback to development teams and even create a bit of competition between them—all to drive the development of better solutions. A dramatic increase in the app options available to internal stakeholders is a precondition of any successful enterprise app store.
"The implementation of an enterprise app store should be seen as a component of an organization's application strategy, rather than infrastructure strategy," says Brian Prentice, research vice president at Gartner. "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."
FIND US ON TWITTER
FIND US ON FACEBOOK
What do you think is the best career move?