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Should You Create Your Own Mobile App Store?

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

SAP

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……….

Partnerpedia

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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…..)