When faced with a multitude of priorities and problems, there are few things CIOs like more than killing several proverbial birds with a single stone.
While the advent of a corporate app store is not new and certainly no panacea, it could offer a solution to a number of thorny problems CIOs will be expected to solve in the coming year or so.
Pioneered by Apple, and now common with many smartphone software systems, including Google’s Android, the app store concept is something employees are becoming more and more familiar with. It is an intuitive way of getting your phone or tablet to do useful or entertaining things, and you don’t have to run a wizard, and reboot the device to get it to work.
As such, IT management can be sure that business users are going to be expecting this kind of functionally from their corporate IT, and will waste no time in expressing their frustration if it is not fulfilled.
But there are more reasons to embark on your corporate version of this consumer phenomenon than pandering to pressure.
As more business-focused mobile phone and tablet apps come on the market, employees are bound to use them with or without the consent of the IT department. There may be no version control, data protection policy or guard against malware.
By stealing the march on consumer IT and providing your own app store, you could control authentication, configuration, and distribution of your mobile app inventory. You could identify approved applications, and blacklist apps that may contain malware or inappropriate content. You could also remove apps from devices should a user lose it, or change jobs.
The only downside is that few suppliers of device management software are ready for this level of functionality in the corporate app store. But it could be time to do a pilot while the vendors catch up.