Enterprise application stores are one of the missing pieces in BYOD and mobility generally. Enterprises are buying devices and building management platforms to give these devices to users, but when it comes to apps it seems they are being left out in the cold.
One of the most important features of any mobile platform is its application store and the ability it offers to search through millions of applications, find one relevant to the task at hand, and have it up and running in seconds.
This is a very different experience to that of most corporate users who need to make a request to IT, wait for someone to be assigned, re-confirm their request and the reason why they need an application, and then hope that IT install it and it just works – an experience that’s the complete opposite of what they see on their consumer device.
To transform a basic BYOD policy into something that can really support the business, CIOs must focus on apps. These are what will help users gain real business value. For example, the opportunities could be in expediting sales, approving forms and workflows anytime, anywhere or assisting in presentations by using live data from corporate systems.
Beyond the millions of applications available commercially in the App Store, you can also build your own internal applications, from basic sales catalogues through to Mobile Document Management systems.
With the growth of Web apps and other OS platforms inside the enterprise, the concept of an enterprise app store for all apps, not just mobile ones, is increasingly powerful – especially if it allows for apps to follow users across devices with built-in location awareness.
For example, as a user I want my enterprise app store to follow me between devices and to understand the capabilities of the device I’m using to deliver the best experience. It should also know where I’m coming from (physically) and secure my session appropriately.
As enterprises look to offer their staff a more flexible workplace and work style, the development of enterprise app stores may be the next step towards achieving this.
Rhys Evans is national practice manager at Thomas Duryea Consulting, Enterprise Information Systems.