There is a long way to go before enterprise app stores are widely adopted by businesses, as internal IT departments and IT vendors react slowly to the consumerisation of IT trend, according to Concur Technologies executive vice president of traveller services Barry Padgett.
His company deals in travel and expense management software, and recently launched its own enterprise app centre.
Gartner predicts that one quarter of all enterprises will have their own in-house app store within the next five years. Trends driven by the consumerisation of IT, such as bring your own device (BYOD) and bring your own apps (BYOA), mean companies will be forced to react to staff carrying their own devices and software onto the corporate network.
An enterprise app store can give companies more control over how work-related apps are consumed and distributed to staff in an effort to prevent security breaches and data leaks. But there are hurdles that stymie the uptake of such app stores, according to Padgett.
For one, some organisations are still trying to wrap their heads around things like BYOD, let alone BYOA, he said. Having worked across Australia, Europe, and the US, Padgett said Australia is particularly slow in recognising these trends and responding to them.
"We are really early in the maturity curve, and that's the biggest obstacle today," he told ZDNet. "Every company has the same constraints on R&D and IT resources. I think there's high interest in enterprise app stores but it just hasn't managed to work its way on the top of the priority list yet."
Building an in-house enterprise app store internally can also be costly, and there aren't enough IT vendor offerings out there that businesses can consider integrating within their own businesses, Padgett said.
"There isn't a bunch of vendors that are actively investing in it," he said. "It does take a lot of investment, time, energy, and resources to have other successful apps on an enterprise platform that delivers value.
"So there's just not that many in the market right now."
Launching an enterprise app centre isn't difficult to do, but the tricky part is cultivating a team of app developers and third-party partners that want to develop on the platform, Padgett said.
"There is opportunity either in distribution, cooperation, or in data exchange," he said. "By having a really comprehensive approach to an app centre where you're servicing not just the end users but other constituencies, it sets you up to having a really compelling long-term strategy."