Over the past few months, I've read a lot of snarky comments about Apple and business. If you've kept up with my Consumerization column, you've seen them as well.
"Apple is a consumer-only company."
"Apple doesn't care about business or the Enterprise."
"Apple doesn't want to be a business-to-business company."
You'll understand my flippant answers once you check out Apple's App Store Volume Purchase Program for Business (VPP). The VPP is a way to intelligently manage Apps in business. It allows business owners and bean counters (Accountants) to track App purchases and to better manage licenses. Without a program like this a company could spend thousands or hundreds of thousands more than necessary on repeat purchases, prohibited Apps and Apps that either have no place in a business environment or Apps that don't properly fit into the corporate work flow.
The VPP is Apple's way of enabling businesses to use its, and third-party, products wisely. The result of using the VPP is a better use of tight corporate software funds and a more fiscally responsible business culture. In other words, it's a good thing.
Enrollment in the VPP is easy but before you begin, there are three things you'll need to have handy:
- Basic contact information to verify your business
- Dun & Bradstreet number (D-U-N-S)
- Corporate credit card, PayPal or PCard to purchase apps
The basic information includes a business phone, address and an email address. The business address must match the Dun & Bradstreet information. Your email address must be from a business email address and not from a yahoo.com or gmail.com type consumer domain. All information is compared to the Dun & Bradstreet database and must match exactly.
You'll also need to create a separate Apple ID for the VPP. This Apple ID is separate and distinct from all other Apple IDs and services, including iTunes.
In addition to offering apps from the App Store, the Volume Purchase Program enables businesses to get custom B2B apps developed for their unique needs. Businesses can work with third-party app developers and business partners to get custom B2B apps securely and privately through the program. The Volume Purchase Program is available in the United States only.
With the Volume Purchase Program you can search for apps, determine the quantity needed, and easily complete the purchase with a corporate credit card or procurement card. To start buying apps in volume, you’ll need to enroll in the program and create a volume purchasing account with Apple. Once you’re enrolled in the program you can go to the program website to purchase apps. Any paid app from the App Store is available for volume purchase at the existing App Store price. Custom B2B apps can be free or purchased at the price set by the developer.
When you purchase Apps through the VPP, you'll receive redemption codes for the Apps that authorize download and installation.
And, good news for App developers. Developers enrolled in the iOS Developer program can create custom B2B apps for customers who are also enrolled in the Volume Purchase Program.
If you've purchased a Mobile Device Management software suite, you can easily manage your redemption codes and VPP Apps through that interface. Additionally, businesses can use the Apple Configurator for OS X to manage redemption codes.
Apple products are no longer just for consumers, schools, chemical laboratories, colleges, universities, graphic designers, architects, retail companies, restaurants, airlines, movie studios, cartoonists, newspapers, magazines or publishers; they're for every type of business. Yes, even yours. The VPP proves it.
Has your company enrolled in the VPP yet? If so, talk back and let us know how it's working for you. If not, are you going to consider it now?