Consumer app stores have grown considerably since Apple introduced its App Store on the original iPhone six years ago - and they're only going to get bigger. Analyst house Gartner predicts that spending on mobile app stores and content will grow from $18 billion (£11.2 billion, or AU$19 billion) in 2012 to $61 (£38 billion, or AU$64.3 billion) in 2016.
Cloud-based CRM giant Salesforce.com is now looking to looking emulate that success and bring the convenience offered by consumer app stores to the enterprise by allowing businesses to run their own private "one-stop app shops" in the cloud.
Dubbed Private AppExchange, it lets employees instantly download applications to help them in their role whatever the platform - whether it's mobile, web or desktop - using the company's single sign-on technology.
Salesforce has offered a public AppExchange store for some time, but it is promising greater levels of customization and personalization through its new private portals. The software-as-a-service specialist claims it will also save IT admins' time as they won't have to check users' passwords (or if apps are supported) before deploying them to employees.
Private stores can be customised by role, department or theme to encourage employees to discover and use apps to help them in their role. One of those apps is Evernote Business, which Salesforce integrated earlier this year in a bid to make it easier for its users to update customer records and make notes.
Salesforce Private AppExchange will be available with support for web and mobile apps on November 1, with support for desktop apps expected to be available in 2014.
- Why not read our business guide to software-as-a-service