Where’s An App Store For The Enterprise?

App Store

Demands on IT are growing as today’s technology allows greater mobility of employees, as we have seen from the impact of social media on IT. Accessibility of mobile devices and lack of clear policies lead to an explosion in the amount of mobile technologies in the workplace. Will IT organisations be up to the challenge?

IT will need to cater to the loftier mobility expectations of a generation of young executives. This emerging workforce bases its’ productivity on the new mobile technologies and companies will need to support them enabling more flexibility through greater access to mobile devices. Overwhelming pressure from executives, line-of-business (LOB) managers, and employees to support diverse and even consumer-grade devices and applications will add to the IT workload.

Mobile Devices Require Extended Hours Support

Furthermore, now the average workday is hardly restricted to 9 to 5 anymore. People are constantly working: accessing the most up-to-date information, responding immediately to client contacts, and retrieving sensitive corporate information. This will add new stress to the IT operations team that will need to provide high quality support for out-of-the-office hours.

IT Operations Needs to Manage Mobile Devices

As internal IT budgets suffer — and mobile devices become more manageable — companies, on a policy level, are seeing the sense in allowing employees to access corporate resources using their personal smartphones and tablets. Yet for the IT department, this will mean that they must be able to manage the operations of these devices and applications ran by these devices. Also the underlying infrastructure must be functioning at an optimal level for carrying out business processes.

New Toolset for IT Operations

IT never wants to be the group to stand in the way of employee productivity. With more confidential and sensitive data finding its way onto smartphones, handheld devices, solutions for the management of mobile devices will quickly become a must-have solution for IT operations in businesses of all sizes.

This will add to the IT toolset, and workload, as today’s enterprises contend with a wide variety of processes, tools, and solutions to monitor and manage their IT assets and services. Organisations are making plans for the deployment of Line of Business (LOB) mobile applications, content like rich media for training purposes, and collaboration/unified communications. This will be an additional push for the IT organisation to invest in mobile device management solutions.

An App Store for the Enterprise

Many organisations already started a process of expanding existing business systems with mobile clients. However such projects are expensive both in time and effort. New technologies are emerging that will automate conversion of existing applications for mobile devices similarly to the platforms that were created in the past to automatically enhance legacy systems with client/server user interface. This trend will lead to exponential growth of applications available for the employees.

Just as the consumer world has App Stores, mobile device management vendors will need to offer application delivery methods or “stores” that can meet enterprise management and security requirements. These standards still stand in the way of IT accommodating the needs of enterprise users, and delivering enterprise-class apps to mobile devices as well support for more heterogeneous devices.

The explosion in the use of employee-owned mobile devices for work purposes will push IT vendors to create app stores that meet these needs, and open the way for mobile devices to serve the needs of business without impacting IT stability.

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Sasha Gilenson is Chief Executive Officer, co-founder, of Evolven. Sasha enjoyed a long and successful career at Mercury Interactive (acquired by HP), having led the company's QA organisation, participating in establishing Mercury's Software as a Service (SaaS), as well as leading a Business Unit in Europe and Asia. Sasha holds an M.Sc. in Computer Science from Latvian University and MBA from London Business School.