One of the factors that has driven the rapid take-up of smartphones is the way that users can dive into an apps store to find a particular application that's need. Now Sendmail is hoping that the same concept will work for enterprise mail systems.

The company has introduced its new Sentrion Application Store as a way to help enterprises personalise its mail systems. It allows companies to select which add-ons they wanted to use with their email infrastructure saving them from buying additional products and integrating them with the existing products.

It's the comparison with a smartphone apps store that will attract most interest. "When I use this metaphor," said Glen Vondrick, Sendmail's COO, "executives get it right away. It fits in exactly with what they're trying to do, that is, looking for a way to simplify network infrastructure."

Vondrick uses another metaphor to explain how Sentrion helps an enterprise manage the multiple threads of its email system. "It's like the way that universal remote control has replaced the multiple devices within the home."

There is already a selection of applications in the Sendmail store for enterprises to choose from, charges for the applications vary. Apps include ones that manage mail filtering, compliance and content security. The company hopes that many more will be developed, although the company as yet has no plans to go completely down the smartphone apps store route and offer inducements for third-party developers. "We have thought about extending the store so that developers can get money by downloads or usage but we haven't gone that way yet," he said.

One key application that Vondrick highlights is an email generating one, designed for CRM applications such as Salesforce. "A lot of enterprises use Salesforce to send out emails to customers, pulling in information from a central database. Some of those addresses will be invalid so they bounce back. We have an application that will capture those and help the administrator manage the database more effectively,"

Vondrick said that Sentrion Application Store would work on a variety of systems. "There's no prerequisite for any particular email systems - or systems - we're the spaghetti that holds it all together." He added that what Sendmail was doing was adding choice for customers, "With most applications you don't have a choice; with Sendmail you have freedom of choice," he said.