I’ve been thinking about this a while as I look at a variety of company’s create their own mobile apps and then struggle to manage the app itself and how to make a set of apps available on different platforms like Android and iOS. I have clients who are actively looking at vendor hosted options like SAP / Sybase. I have clients who are trying to figure out how to manage what they create. What spurred this particular post was the timely release of a review by Forrester entitled: “Corporate App Store Environments Open New Market Opportunities” (Warning, this is a password protected piece of content). Anyway, I don’t have a huge amount of time but I thought I would highlight three options I’ve started to research. Before doing so, consider what a corporate app store might offer you:
- A way to manage your own apps and get them somewhere business users can find them
- A way to bypass consumer app stores with a wide range of apps not geared towards business. In this case, overload of information is your enemy. If you publish 15 apps, your users may only be able to find 5 of them.
- You have some options to control the personalization of an app store vs the consumer side of things. (e.g. only show this app to this business unit)
There are more reasons but you get the gyst. Anywhere here’s a run down of three options. It’s not a complete list but you get some information on SAP, partnerpedia, and apperian
I have to admit I was surprised when a client told me I should look at SAP’s corporate app store. I’m used to SAP being on the “follower” side of things and they are definitely not following here. They’ve teamed with Sybase to offer an SAP branded app store that you can use to put your apps on and of course to download SAP apps, Sybase apps, and be sold on Sybase’s mobile development and deployment tools. I haven’t had the demo but I have to say that my client was impressed by what he saw. If you hit the site, understand you will have to dig a little to get past all the SAP mobile apps they highlight. It’s more than just a store for SAP apps. You can put your own there so keep an open mind. Here’s a quick YouTube video. Warning, this is part information and part marketing glitz. The music is a little over the top but hey, marketers have to do something……….
If putting your apps on an SAP branded site is not your thing then you can head down the private cloud route and look at Partnerpedia. Their Enterprise App Zone lets you setup your own store with only your own content. It also allows you to setup security and to better target your users for the apps that may be relevant to them. Of course, it also includes nifty features like rating the apps. I just like that options like Partnerpedia and apperian give you more control of your apps. Of course, Partnerpedia also develops mobile apps on android, iOS and others but, pure plug here, so does my company and we’d love to do cool stuff like developing a mobile apps. (Not that developing an insurance company site isn’t a lot of fun, but I’m just sayin…..)
apperian provides both a place to house your apps as well as a set of tools to develop the apps as well. Here’s a blurb from their web site
EASE provides businesses with a complete solution for mobile application management. This includes enabling developers to create apps, and helping line of business managers and tech staff deploy and manage mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android phones and tablets.
With EASE, IT professionals have the control needed in large organizations, while providing users with a familiar application interface from which to choose applications that is “private branded” to company requirements. Enterprise authentication methods including Active Directory can be used.
For iOS apps, EASE works with iOS Developer Enterprise Program (IDEP) license, which provides “private catalog” access to apps for your entire company.
For Android apps, EASE also provides a “private catalog” that can be deployed directly via the EASE server or from any location on the web.
and of course, a video:
One other note, it looks like ATT chose apperian to manage their apps store. ATT has a competing offering to the vendor hosted model like SAP’s mobility store but I don’t have much info on it.
I won’t say it’s inevitable for all company’s but the reality is that a large number of corporations will build or buy apps specific their businesses needs. Sticking those apps on the Apple or Android marketplaces doesn’t really represent a viable solution if you want a modicum of control over it. These types of solutions give you better options.