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Enterprise app store to present benefits through challenges: Gartner

A quarter of enterprises will have an enterprise app store by 2017 for managing corporate-sanctioned apps on PCs and mobile device, according to analyst firm, Gartner.

The firm said this is because enterprise app stores promise greater control over the apps used by employees, greater control over software expenditure, and greater negotiating leverage with app vendors.

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Simultaneously, this is only possible if the enterprise app store is widely adopted.

"Bring-your-own-application [BYOA] has become as important as bring-your-own-device [BYOD] in the development of a comprehensive mobile strategy, with the trend toward BYOA beginning to affect desktop and Web applications as well," Gartner research vice-president, Ian Finley, said.

"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."

Gartner has identified three app store trends from which enterprises can benefit:

"The increasing number of mobile devices and use of mobile device management (MDM) by enterprises will drive demand and adoption of enterprise app stores."

Gartner said enterprises are beginning to formalise more standard support for software across all devices, particularly smartphones and tablets, and are looking for ways to manage mobile application provision particularly as they develop in-house apps to extend complex data to these.

"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," Finley said.

He added that the development of mobile apps and support of MDM will drive most enterprise app store implementations in the next 12 to 18 months.

"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, organisations can delegate important decisions down to the end-user level, enabling for informed decision making.

"The long-term success of an enterprise app store hinges on dramatic increase in the supply of software solutions."

Gartner recommends that enterprise IT organisations should be transitioning from the traditional approach of selecting devices and software to establishing transparent and enforced app curation policies.

While it will prove to be a challenging shift, the enablement of choice will be more profound. Once a dynamic selection of apps becomes available, users will have little reason to continue to visit an enterprise app store.

As such, the store becomes the default means of sharing new applications, providing feedback, and creating competition, all with a common motive of producing improved solutions.\


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