Companies and developers stick in a dilemma. On the one hand, cloud computing should provide easy access to IT resources. But on the other hand, an enormous knowledge about distributed programming is assumed, to create solutions that are both scalable and highly available simultaneously. In particular, the issue of the responsibility for scalability and high availability for the virtual infrastructure respectively of the web application is largely suppressed by the cloud providers. This leads to a higher complexity of knowledge on the way into the cloud and to a lack of the seemingly simple use of cloud services. Furthermore, the cloud is currently lacking of complete services that represent individual modules for a specific business scenario and can be adapted easily and independently from each other.
Enterprise App Stores are in line with the trend. The increasing popularity of mobile devices and applications combined with cloud services mean that companies will introduce their own app stores in order to regain some control over the applications used by their employees and the costs.
Enterprise App Store
Apps from public apps stores lead to problems with IT security. Besides bring your own device (BYOD), it is also necessary to find solutions for bring your own application (BYOA), to have an overview and scrutiny which app is used by employees for business purposes to keep the famous barn closed.
A solution to get back the control are so-called “Enterprise App Stores”, enterprise-wide catalogs of applications, which provide a centralized store with mobile, desktop and web applications administered by the company. In particular, mobile applications are rolled out faster and more comfortable, and a standardized support for many devices is offered. But other applications as specific business applications need to be managed as well, so stores are needed that combine everything under one roof.
But, and this is a crucial point, especially the staff must be happy with the app store. With that concepts like BYOD and BYOA come along with. It must offer the apps that the employee would also use private (BYOA) and are supported by the device that he has been in use (BYOD). In addition, the app store must be accessible at any time and from any location, and the employee must not be in the enterprise network for that.
Disadvantages of a local Enterprise App Store
Let’s be honest, which company has the time, desire and above all the capital for the construction and maintenance of an Enterprise App Store’s infrastructure? Moreover, no safe cost effective, convenient and anywhere-access to this app store can’t be ensure. And who wants to ask his staff constantly go to the office to install a new app or download an update? So we are talking about costs and expenses that are disproportionate to the actual benefit. Moreover, the whole issue is much more complex than it first appears.
A local Enterprise App Store makes no sense
Not only the above reasons show that a local Enterprise Apps Store does not make any sense. An app store may therefore minimal be used in a hosted form. This means that an app store provider is responsible for operation and maintenance of a dedicated platform, providing a central access point at any time and from any the place to the apps. Where we arrived at the next challenge, the apps.
Apps, Apps, Apps
The success of an apps store stands and falls with the amount of (quality) apps. If these are not sufficiently prepared, the store is no longer used by the users and alternatives are sought. The app store has to invite, so that users use this actively and regularly browse, discover new applications and make them point out to colleagues. The challenge is therefore to make the Enterprise App Store attractive and especially keep attractive and this is the linchpin to the existing apps. This raises the question of whether a local or a hosted enterprise app store are be able to fulfill that. Normally not, since both are dependent on the input from the client and do not have access to public app stores.
Virtual Private Enterprise App Store
All these reasons lead to an Enterprise App Store version which is hosted and features a maximum of available apps that are attractive enough for people to use the app store. Beyond that own corporate applications should be deployed over it as well.
The widest range of applications are offered by public app stores of known providers that are provided through cloud infrastructures. Disadvantage of these stores is, as the name suggests, that they are in public access and anyone can offer what he wants, if it’s good or bad. There are vendors who follow a very hard process until the app finally lands in the store. Others leave the quality assurance still fully in the community.
However, one should not underestimate the potential of this public app stores and be borne in mind, what does it mean in terms of cost for the entire app store infrastructure and mobile anywhere access to this store and what complexity is overcome to build and operate the store.
A possible variant is the “Virtual Private Enterprise App Store (VPEAS)*“. It is a virtual separate area (see chart) within a public app store in which businesses can operate their own private app store, without having to invest in advance in a separate infrastructure for the app store itself, and in the network infrastructure. All public apps may include as a subset of a VPEAS. Specific enterprise applications can be marked as private and so provided only to the own employees. To ensure that only public apps can be used through the VPEAS, which are considered as safe, appropriate policies needs to be established with the app store providers. The authentication is done by a corporate account / profile for the employee on the local device. Based on that, regulations can be made which apps an employee can use or not. However, it should first be worked with the app power users, to understand which apps have a value for the employee.
* Name chosen by renebuest research.