Walk down the streets of a busy city and you’ll find people glued to their mobile devices, texting, checking their email or doing something else with their smartphones. That “something else” is nothing short of revolutionary.
Beyond playing games or interacting on social networks, people are accessing information literally on-the-go. Increasingly, what they’re accessing extends well beyond consumer-centric information into the work-related realm. Enterprises are looking to build enterprise app stores to securely deploy and manage mobile enterprise applications.
Similar to consumer-based app stores, like iTunes, the enterprise app store is a concept with which any smartphone user should be very familiar. As opposed to browsing a catalog of hundreds of thousands of apps — which may or may not have been tested and curated — “customers” (employees) are instead offered any number of mobile applications to download to improve productivity.
The benefits of creating an enterprise app store should be rather self-evident. First of all, enterprise app stores replicate public app stores by extending the familiar user-centric view of application deployment. Enterprise app stores also provide organizations with a means to deploy custom applications in a private and secure fashion, bypassing public infrastructure and approval processes to disseminate the applications.
The private enterprise app store also provides many advantages for the workplace. Consumer app stores take an all-or-nothing approach — upload the app to the public store and it is available to everyone and anyone, including the competition. With a private enterprise app store, on the other hand, organizations can leverage an existing directory services infrastructure and deploy applications to very targeted groups.
A CRM application, for example, won’t necessarily show up for the operations group. A mobile business intelligence (BI) app can be reserved for senior management. Being able to customize options based solely on employee roles and responsibilities is a key value proposition of the enterprise app store.
The private enterprise app store also allows IT departments to track application usage and ensure that employees have the latest versions of their application sets. Perhaps most importantly, it also enables IT to remove applications from lost or stolen devices, as well as from the devices of employees who change roles within the organization or leave the company.
Enterprise app stores are not just about deploying and managing applications. They provide a trusted means for ensuring information and data security. Enterprise app stores and mobile application management can help organizations struggling to find the right balance in a world increasingly driven by the bring your own device (BYOD) trend, because regardless of who owns the device, it’s the organization that owns the data, and that data must be secured and protected.
In case you missed it, make sure to check out part one of guest blogger Philippe Winthrop’s series, Building and managing the enterprise app store, in which he discussed the newfound opportunities of enterprise mobility as well as the new challenges posed by mobile application management and the BYOD trend.
About the 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.