According to Accenture chief technology innovation officer Gavin Michael, the blueprints behind consumer mobile application stores may hold the answer to a number of enterprise IT challenges.
The majority of corporate IT professionals are currently in the process of deciding to what extent, and in which ways, their organizations will embrace consumer mobile device technologies. While the most notable trend has been the establishment of bring-your-own-device policies, a number of savvy CIOs are leveraging the designs behind such consumer utilities as the Android Market and Apple App Store for their own benefit.
"A new breed of corporate app store [is] now starting to be embraced within a growing number of firms," Michael explained in a recent column written for Forbes. "Just like Apple's vastly popular version, these offer firms a means of providing easy access to a curated set of apps in a controlled environment that allows employees to get the software they need, as and when they need it."
One of the most important potential implications associated with this trend is the fundamental changes it would bring to software distribution. According to Michael, one-time, company-wide software deployments could become a thing of the past. Instead, employees would be able to download and use the programs of their choosing at any time, across both desktop and mobile platforms.
Corporate IT administrators would no longer have to waste time configuring software packages for each specific department, and Michael believes employees will appreciate the new self-service "technology democracy."
"IT can still control which tools are appropriate for the enterprise and supply them via the app store, but users can be free to self-select the programs they need or prefer to do their jobs," Michael noted. "People are freed to work the way they want to work."
This self-service model of application provisioning may have several additional advantages. According to Michael, it will allow companies to save on licensing costs as they only pay for the programs employees use. IT administrators will also likely spend less time on training and supporting end users, as workers will generally gravitate toward applications with which they are already familiar.
According to predictions from ABI Research analysts, there will be 830 million employees around the world using enterprise smartphone and tablet applications by 2016. As these utilities can be a source of both productivity and network vulnerability, more proactive management styles such as the corporate app store model may be advisable.
Consumerization News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro