App stores are firmly embedded in our daily lives and as a result consumers are now demanding the same ease of use, accessibility and functionality from their professional environment.
This has inevitably bought about the 'consumerisation of IT' and if employers do not provide users with access to the apps that they want and need to do their job more effectively they will simply get them from elsewhere, regardless of corporate policies and security.
Fuelled by this demand, enterprise app stores are seemingly the solution for agility in the workplace and with Gartner predicting 25% of enterprises will have an app store by 2017 we are edging closer to the 'workspace of the future'.
In addition, IT departments are trapped in the mess of attempting to cope with the logistics of managing employee passwords and logins, inevitably leading to a mass of duplicated, unauthorised and dormant subscriptions to services that enterprises didn't even know they had. It can be assumed that this is costing organisations thousands if not millions in lost revenue.
Enterprise app store
The beauty of an effective enterprise app store is that its hands the controls back to the IT department restoring it to IT-as-a-Service capability, whilst also empowering the employee though independent application management.
The reality is that enterprises need to wake up to the fact that enterprise app stores offer a secure, cost effective and agile tool-set to employee management, ensuring consistent business growth.
Whilst appearing to offer a quick fix, an enterprise app store is by no means a small project and in order to be effective it needs to cut across all departments, if the flexibility and productivity benefits are to be realised. A connection often missed by organisations that are sometimes blinded by the associated cost savings.
Gartner recently stated that few enterprises are truly capable of controlling their entire employee mobile chain and that organisations need to realise that the majority of their staff will not accept in-house app stores on their personal devices.
Compliance and application policy is a quicker route to success and is a tactic that is easily enforceable and manageable.
An additional benefit, contrary to popular belief, is that an app store may assist enterprises in avoiding software penalties by seamlessly taking care of management approvals and license validation.
In the perfect case, an app store reduces risk by, in simple terms, providing the correct application for the right job.
More importantly it also ensures the organisation complies with license policy with the ultimate benefit being huge cost savings as the enterprise will only be paying for the applications which are active and in use by the employees.
An enterprise app store is an effective tool in coping with an increasingly mobile workforce who now expect more from their business network.
While an enterprise app store is a significant step in achieving effective Bring Your Own App (BYOA) in the workplace, this challenge can only be met if policies are developed for securing and provisioning this content.
- Mark Keepax is Vice President for UK and Ireland at ASG Software Solutions. Mark is responsible for ASG's business growth and development in the region as well as establishing and developing client relationships.