Enterprises are turning to internal app stores in dealing with the challenges that accompany the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and bring-your-own-app (BYOA) trends. Many already feature internal app stores with scores of apps for employees and customers. At a recent Gartner conference some big companies revealed their strategies around the app stores they have built to distribute internal iPad apps.
By allowing employees to bring their own devices or use their favorite apps, organizations can increase productivity levels and employee satisfaction. These trends have also led to increased employee mobility, ability to share content, and access presentations and conference on-the-go. However, enterprise IT departments have to deal with several challenges – from securing data and devices to preventing malware from invading corporate networks through multiple devices.
Accommodating BYOD and BYOA calls for better mobile data management practices. It becomes ever more complex as new devices and apps enter the market and employees bring them to the workplace.
Adding to the challenge, nearly a tenth of all tablets sold worldwide are being bought by enterprises. Hence the need for apps to target the specific needs of enterprises. The current trend among enterprises is to create their own apps to interact with employees, customers and other stakeholders. Such apps make available mobile versions of solutions and applications found only on the company's intranet to employees on-the-move, thereby improving their productivity. A large US bank, for example, found it needed apps that managers could use when with clients on their private jets or yachts.
True, many organizations still do not support BYOD/BYOA but the increasing popularity of these trends and the need to boost employee and customer satisfaction levels will cause the situation to change. Against this background, corporate internal app stores give IT department's better control in managing employee mobile app usage.
A survey by security firm Symantec of IT professionals at 6,275 organizations found that 66% were considering developing a corporate app store. That is because IT departments find it easier to distribute proprietary apps through their own stores than through popular app stores such as the Apple App Store or Google Play. Not just businesses, even US government departments are now looking at creating internal app stores.
Third-party app store technologies now make it easier for organizations planning to set up internal app stores. These mimic the experience of the popular app stores but let IT department facilitate the deployment and management of the apps that employees use inside corporate networks. Some organizations have already created internal app stores featuring more than a hundred apps.
Do you see this trend at your organization? What has been your BYOD experience?