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Enterprise app store adoption rises: Gartner

But a successful app store depends on a large number of apps

One quarter of enterprises will have an enterprise app store by 2017, according to a Gartner report.

The statistic is worldwide but Gartner analyst Brian Prentice told Computerworld Australia he believes “Australia will track global averages”.

With employees increasingly wanting to bring consumer apps into the workplace, enterprises are creating app stores to take control of the software downloaded and installed on company hardware.

“Apps downloaded from public app stores for mobile devices disrupt IT security, application and procurement strategies," Gartner analyst Ian Finley said in a statement.

"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.”

"[Enterprise app stores represent] 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," Finley said.

“When successful, they can increase the value delivered by the application portfolio and reduce the associated risks, license fees and administration expenses."

Gartner predicted that the increasing number of mobile devices and rising use of mobile device management (MDM) software will drive 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,” said Gartner analyst Phillip Redman.

Gartner cautioned that an enterprise app store must provide a wide selection of apps to be successful. Users won’t use enterprise app stores if they provide little choice, it said.

Evernote, a consumer app commonly brought into the work place, this week released a business version in response to IT managers seeking greater control of the software used by employees.

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More about: Evernote, Facebook, Gartner
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Comments

Steve Schmidt

1

It’s not surprising to see Gartner’s prediction that a quarter of all enterprises will house their own ‘app store’ by 2017, but the prediction should raise red flags for IT professionals and executives about the preparedness of their enterprise for an in-house app store. Enterprise app stores deliver a number of advantages, but when you open up the floodgates it can be incredibly difficult to manage software licensing, control entitlement and track actual usage. App stores, like the iTunes App Store, have a consumer-like feel to them, but enterprise app stores need to be smarter than iTunes. If users are downloading at will – to simply play or try an app – that has an impact on enterprises licensing compliance. We’re walking a tightrope of enhanced user experience vs. licensing accountability, which is why it will be critical for enterprises to integrate some form of software licensing optimization – to approve, track, manage and optimize usage of applications available on their app store. The consequences of an unexpected, multi-million dollar true-up can have a lasting impact – and a little planning ahead can go a long way. Moreover, tying your app store into your Application Readiness process (which includes app assessment, packaging, format conversion, editing, etc.) helps keep store shelves stocked with apps that are ready for immediate delivery to the user’s device of choice. Tying the app store to these back-end processes is essential to deliver on consumerization of IT while minimizing cost and risk to the organization. -- Steve Schmidt, VP of Corporate Development, Flexera Software

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