The mobile world is now filled with “apps” – software applications that can be downloaded or accessed via mobile devices such as smart phones or tablet computers. The consumer application stores have become extremely successful in providing apps that do everything from create grocery lists to mobile games for kids. Apple’s app store and Google’s Play store are just two examples of very successful app stores that provide free apps as well as fee-based apps.
An enterprise application store (EAS) is a new approach to managing mobile applications for businesses. The EAS performs virtually the same tasks as consumer based app stores, but is tailored specifically for a business or enterprise.
Software providers also utilize enterprise application stores to serve apps to their customer base. The EAS platform provides customers with a virtual “menu” of apps that they can utilize or have customized based on their particular needs.
An EAS can be very beneficial when properly designed and managed:
Control – the business can make the determination on which users should have access to specified apps. For example a reporting or dashboard app may only be served to managers and executives, while a task management app could be required for field technicians.
Compliance – an EAS can be set up so that mobile devices used for business purposes remain compliant with business policies and rules. While some public apps can be added to the EAS such as a weather app or a travel planner, other apps can be blocked if they are in violation of a policy.
Costs – if an enterprise implements an EAS there can be volume discounts negotiated with fee-based app providers, which could save the company on expenses.
Deployment – with an EAS you are able to provide your employees or customers with the latest updates and versions of the apps. The deployment process becomes much more streamlined for IT while still getting the benefits of tracking who has downloaded the updates and who has not.
The ClickAppStore from Click Software is a great example of an EAS and how it can be used to better serve customers and employees. There is virtually zero clutter that can be found in public app stores, and Click Software users can quickly locate apps and information to help their business.
The ClickAppStore is organized for maximum productivity. There are featured apps on the main page, and users can get information on upcoming apps or search for a specific app. For users who would just like to browse, you can scroll through all available ClickApps. The app store is secured and can only be accessed with appropriate credentials. Customers of Click Software can also establish their own EAS and have access to the ClickApps that they choose.
With this type of flexibility, EAS implementations are the ideal approach to managing mobile software applications. Installing an EAS should be part of any mobile strategy so that app management is easier and more secure. A mobile strategy that does not include an EAS can be more complicated to manage and less secure if only public app stores are used. It is best to build a mobile app foundation that starts with an EAS.