Enterprise App Stores – Start with a Strategy

Author: Jim Lundy                          Date: August 21, 2013
Topic: Mobile                          Research Note Number: 2013-25

Issue: What technologies and architectures make up a mobile ecosystem?
Issue: How will enterprises leverage mobile ecosystems to gain competitive advantage?

Summary: Software distribution is shifting to a store approach. Enterprises need to take advantage of both private and public store options. Starting with a strategy is the best approach.

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App stores started with mobile systems and are now becoming a trend in overall enterprise software. Enterprises are using public app stores that support the Apple and Google mobile ecosystems as well as Windows Phone, Windows desktop and enterprise software like SharePoint, ERP and CRM.

Adding value to these platforms used to be a tedious customization effort. Now plugins and mobile apps are providing new ways to get value from these different investments. That said, enterprises have often focused on device management instead of the software. The shift to app stores is small, but it is strategic. This research note discusses the various elements that need to be evaluated when developing a strategy to leverage stores for both mobile and enterprise software applications and services.

In many IT departments, the challenge has been about BYOD and preventing the enterprise from being overrun by the explosion of tablets and personal smartphones that employees bring to work. That said, apps are the next frontier and that frontier is here now. We are entering an era where customization is being done via apps and widgets. This pluggable approach means that enterprises need a different distribution strategy. We believe app stores are the answer.

The strength of this model is similar to that of the consumer environment. An app store environment provides information about the apps, perhaps including feedback from users, and simplifies download and update management. Over the air (OTA) software distribution makes it easy for users to keep their apps, and the associated data, current and maintained.

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