Five reasons to build an enterprise app store ASAP

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This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter’s approach.

Enterprise IT leaders are embracing enterprise app stores as a way to get business-approved applications into the hands of end users, and with momentum building, now is the time to seize the opportunity. Our recent survey identified the five key reasons why IT should consider building an enterprise app store.

  1. Increased app usage control. Seventy two percent of respondents say increased control over app usage is a primary benefit of having an enterprise app store. To manage business approved applications in the next 12 months, 41% have either deployed an enterprise app store or plan to.

An app could be anything from standard business software to a third-party app like Dropbox. The goal is for users to come to the enterprise app store for all their apps, which enables IT to track costs while remaining in the loop on usage metrics.

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This approach empowers us to better track which apps are in use across the enterprise and exert better control over those apps. An enterprise app store features solutions IT is familiar with and able to support. Ultimately, IT must align the apps with those that their customers want and need to do their jobs.

  1. Decreased risk. Sixty five percent stated reduced risk is a primary benefit of having an enterprise app store. When it comes to improving enterprise application security, 61% of survey respondents say implementing an enterprise app store is either very effective or effective.

Growing mobile usage in the enterprise includes users accessing social media and other unapproved apps, which can leave a network open and vulnerable to hacking. An enterprise app store minimizes the potential of malware and spyware resulting from shadow IT by providing more options within the app store that IT has approved.

  1. Control over software expenditures. Fifty four percent of survey respondents say greater control over software expenditures is a primary benefit of having an enterprise app store. With an enterprise app store, IT is kept in the loop with clear visibility over user expenditures.

A user who is unaware that a software license was already purchased may innocently purchase another license. This line item expense often becomes buried and forgotten about when paid for through an employee expense account, and therefore drives up costs unnecessarily. Deferring to IT, who typically receives preferred rates not available to other departments such as HR or marketing, is another way to lower costs.

4. Increased value of your application portfolio.

When IT has control over users coming to the enterprise service catalog for apps, they can start looking at trends by department. Enabling IT to offer users suggestions based on what solutions their coworkers are using is a powerful tool. Monitoring what users are requesting means IT can stay on top of trends and deliver better tools that address user needs.

By having a single pane of glass, IT can ensure customers have the apps they need to do their job, ensuring they are the latest versions and retiring those no longer in use, thereby increasing the value of the app store.

  1. Decreased administration expenses

IT is often in the unfortunate position of having to clean up someone else’s mess. Commonly, it involves an unauthorized app that wreaked havoc on a laptop or even the network. IT may have to stop what they are doing and set up a team just to tackle the issue at hand. Shadow IT operations create unnecessary administrative expenses for the organization and headaches for the IT department.

An enterprise service catalog, which houses the enterprise app store, enables IT to be more proactive in making sure users aren’t getting apps the company can’t support or that pose potential security risks.

Forty one percent of survey respondents say reduced license fees is a primary benefit of having an enterprise app store. Realizing cost savings on license fees is easy to execute with the visibility gained from an enterprise app store.

IT is in a position to strike deals where they obtain licenses at a bulk rate. Achieving a cost savings via consolidating and pooling discounts on solutions multiple users need is an area in which IT can become the fiscal hero.

The time to build an enterprise app store is now. The benefits of building an enterprise app store are numerous. The question is not why should you build an enterprise app store, but why aren’t you building one right now?

PMG is a software company that deploys enterprise service catalogs for the Global 2000.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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