Consumer-facing companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon aren’t the only ones building out app stores. Others are following suit as a way to gain more control over the apps used by employees.
By 2017, research firm Gartner projects that one-quarter of enterprises will have their own app stores for distributing corporate-sanctioned apps.
Driving the rise of internal app stores is the growing number of companies that allow employees to bring their own smartphones and tablets to the workplace to access proprietary company information. With their own devices, people have also brought their own personal apps, creating an additional security issue for enterprises.
"Apps downloaded from public app stores for mobile devices disrupt IT security, application and procurement strategies," said Ian Finley, research vice president at Gartner. "Bring your own application has become as important as bring your own device in the development of a comprehensive mobile strategy."
The report points out that corporations are now starting to formalize standard support for smartphones and tablets, especially as they create their own in-house apps to push more complex data to workers’ devices. Until recently, the focus has been on the PC.
By setting up app stores, organizations delegate many key pricing and performance decisions down the end-user level. That streamlines the procurement process and allows people to make the best choices to meet their needs, with the understanding that the cost will require management approval or chargeback to their business unit.
"Enterprise app stores enable procurement to broaden user choice by encouraging providers to submit competing apps, and to monitor demand for popular apps that may benefit from better negotiation of license terms and prices," said Gartner analyst Stewart Buchanan.
As with public app stores, the report emphasizes that a wide selection of titles is the key to success of corporate app stores.
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“The primary determinant of success is app supply. As a result, application leaders should be given overall responsibility for any app store initiative, but they should work in a collaborative fashion with other teams,” noted Brian Prentice, another Gartner analyst. “The types of apps downloaded and used provide important information as to what types of solutions are of value to each type of user."