Do you remember what you were doing on July 10, 2008? Let me jog your memory a bit by rephrasing the question: How did you react when Apple launched the iTunes App Store? You know, the marketplace that in just three years amassed over 500,000 applications for iPhones, iPods and iPads?
Research in Motion (RIM) was undoubtedly the pioneer in mobile messaging with its iconic BlackBerry devices, but Apple reinvented our perspective on smartphones by suggesting we could do almost anything with our mobile devices. How can we forget the catchphrase, “There’s an app for that”?
While we have collectively fallen in love with slaying pigs on Angry Birds, remembering a forgotten song with Shazam or checking into our favorite coffee shop with FourSquare, another mobility trend emerged — the consumerization of enterprise mobility.
A revolution was sparked when individuals began to demand (or expect) that they could bring their own smartphones into the workplace and access email and other work information, consequently forcing organizations to adapt to new technology paradigms. IT organizations have had to shift from a mostly prohibitive model to one where they embrace user choice and flexibility.
The mobile application revolution has also permeated the workplace, where organizations have now recognized the opportunity to provide employees with tools to access various mobile unified communications and collaboration apps, back-end systems for CRM, business intelligence, travel expense management and more.
While there are many newfound opportunities — not only for deploying mobile applications to the workforce, but also (and more importantly) for finding ways to re-engineer legacy business processes — new challenges have also emerged around mobile application management.
Mobile application management is defined as the process by which organizations manage the entire lifecycle of deploying, securing, updating and removing custom or third-party business applications on employee- and corporate-owned smartphones and other mobile devices.
The challenge for enterprise organizations is in determining the technologies and services on which they should rely to manage the development and deployment of these internal-facing applications. Specifically, how should organizations go about deploying internal mobile applications to their workforce? Should they rely on public app stores to deploy internal applications or should they instead find another solution, such as using private or enterprise app stores? How will organizations go about managing the purchase of third-party applications, particularly when they are purchased in bulk? What happens when an employee changes roles within the organization or leaves?
In my next installment, I’ll dig more deeply into the advantages of building a private enterprise app store, what organizations need to do to deploy mobile applications securely and effectively, and how their efforts can drive the enterprise mobility revolution.
Editor’s Note: Guest blogger Philippe Winthrop is the founder and managing director of the Enterprise Mobility Foundation, the organization behind the Enterprise Mobility Forum. Winthrop’s career has included key positions at noted analyst and technology firms