BYOD spurs need for enterprise app stores

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The BYOD trend is spurring the deployment of enterprise app stores as companies struggle to deal with the influx of personally owned devices, according to Gartner. One-quarter of enterprises will have enterprise app stores to manage corporate apps on PCs and mobile devices by 2017, the research firm predicts.

"BYOD is a big driver of enterprise app stores. Enterprises want to get control of application costs and licensing, as well as look into usage and analytics around applications. So, rather than send users to third-party app stores, like the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) App Store or Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Play, they would like to host more enterprise applications on their own sites," Phillip Redman, research vice president at Gartner, told FierceMobileIT.

Enterprises are also looking to mobile device management, or MDM, vendors to provide enterprise app stores as part of their service suite. "MDM providers are very good at providing application stores that are mobile specific. However, some enterprises are looking for app stores to move to the next generation of PC-based apps as well," Redman said.

"Right now, the majority of the interest is in supporting mobile apps. But there are more tools coming out to support mobile and PC apps, as well as mobile and PC devices. So it makes sense that we see app stores unifying," Redman added.

Enterprise app stores offer a way to automate the purchases of software license, Gartner noted.

It recommends that IT organizations transition from the traditional approach of selecting devices and software to establishing transparent app curation policies, similar to public app stores. Otherwise, users will continue to use third-party apps with all of the attendant risks outside apps can pose to the enterprise.

 "The primary determinant of success [of an application strategy] is app supply. As a result, application leaders should be given overall responsibility for any app store initiative, but they should work in a collaborative fashion with other teams. The types of apps downloaded and used provide important information as to what types of solutions are of value to each type of user," Brian Prentice, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement.

A survey conducted last year by mobile application management firm AppCentral found that a majority of companies have at least one custom mobile application available to their employees and are moving ahead with deployment of enterprise application stores.

BYOD is forcing IT managers to confront the support and security risks that these personal devices and apps pose to the enterprise. Only by developing and enforcing a comprehensive strategy can IT hope to secure the enterprise and enhance employee productivity.

For more:
- see the Gartner release

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