CIOs Can Be Enterprise App Curators
By Dave Courbanou
As CIOs make the leap to mobile-centric workplaces, there’s a lot of variables to consider, especially about the kinds of applications needed to bring production-level productivity to tablet tapping workers. But once the key apps are ironed out and deployed, what about all the other apps in-between? It may be time for an enterprise app store.
Control over employee apps doesn’t have to be draconian, but it is necessary to provide both a level of security and continuity in how workers leverage the third party apps which become part of larger workflows. BYOD is gaining acceptance as software and tools make short work of device management, but bring-your-own-app policies will require more special attention.
“Enterprise app stores promise at least a partial solution but only if IT security, application, procurement and sourcing professionals can work together to successfully apply the app store concept to their enterprises. When successful, they can increase the value delivered by the application portfolio and reduce the associated risks, license fees and administration expenses,” opined Gartner analyst Ian Finely.
Part of that professional sourcing can be reaching out an MDM software provider that is currently managing the workplace. If they offer an enterprise app store option within their management bundles, this presents a viable on-ramp to app management — however, it may not be the most viable option for the long term. It puts CIOs at the mercy of the vendor’s capabilities. It’s important that an enterprise app store is well curated and frequently monitored — the reason is two fold:
First, more advanced enterprise applications will require some level of control over licensing and software requisitioning. By maintaining an on-premise corporate app store, CIOs can effectively manage licensing requirements and keep track of app usage and app dissemination for particular departments.
Second, CIOs that head up the job themselves can be quick to respond to employee queries about additional app selections. This has the effect of ensuring employees are provided a wealth of apps to use while simultaneously setting the tone that corporate will take on credible app requests.
An enterprise app store that offers little for their workers may end up dealing with fallout as employees turn to public app stores for the resources they need.
This is a challenge, but its one that must be tackled in some shape or form. If the enterprise doesn’t take the development of a true app ecosystem seriously, employees won’t take it seriously either.
Gartner predicts that by 2017, 25 percent of enterprises will have deployed an enterprise app store — and not just for mobile apps — for traditional computing environments too. While that means CIOs can take a “walk, don’t run” approach to this situation, it’s never too late to start making a list of approved apps that can make the grade.