Do enterprises need their own app stores?

Moderated by Lawrence Dignan | May 27, 2013 -- 07:00 GMT (00:00 PDT)

Summary: BYOD has added a layer of complexity to IT management. Can internal app stores help?

Eileen Brown

Eileen Brown

Yes

or

No

Matt Baxter-Reynolds

Matt Baxter-Reynolds

Best Argument: Yes

77%
23%

Audience Favored: Yes (77%)

The moderator has delivered a final verdict.

Opening Statements

Fewer complications

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has introduced a cultural shift to the Enterprise and a logistical nightmare for the IT department and service desk. The ability for users to download their own apps from wherever they choose brings a layer of management complexity, app compatibility testing and provision of extra support. Directing employees to an external store to download one of potentially millions of apps poses significant risk to the IT team. The IT department will be expected to manage, test and provide on-going compatibility support for existing and proposed applications. This extra level of complexity brings with it an associated cost to the business.

Enterprises that have their own internal app store for employees to download approved, tested and sanctioned corporate apps bring several benefits. Companies benefit from a managed service to the business, a reduction in support and correct internal charging back to the business cost center.  

Why bother with the risks?

I think the assumption that enterprises need app stores is misplaced -- some enterprises might need something like an app store, but many enterprises will not.

If you have a "BYOD first" policy -- as opposed to a policy where you buy all your staff the same device, e.g. an iPad or a BlackBerry -- you're going to have to run multiple app stores to cover off the supported platforms. Moreover, if you are working to this method, you are unlikely to be pushing out private, home-grown apps to the employees. People bringing their devices to work will be using a very limited set of apps -- web browsing, email, calendar/diary management, etc.

If it is your policy to give audiences within the workforce devices, you likely have private apps you want them to have. In this instance, the app store metaphor is overkill as it's simpler just to push down to those devices the apps that you want them to have. Why bother risking having the helpdesk bothered with "I can't find the app I need to do my job" type requests because you're dependent on the user finding the app within the store.

Talkback

21 comments
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  • BYOD or no - it's an interesting proposition.

    I'll start by saying I'm not really a big fan of BYOD, and that I'm likely to buy my own separate work device should I ever have to work for a business that requires BYOD.

    I'm certainly never going to put my personal phone on a business network.

    That being said an "enterprise app store" is an interesting proposition, and that could take a load off of the shoulders of IT, regardless of the BYOD policy.

    The users would be in charge of downloading software as they need it, so the IT personnel wouldn't have the burden of deploying the software.

    That is, assuming that easy-to-use tools are available for creating such stores.

    It could potentially have downsides, though: If there are limited numbers of licenses for the software, and users abuse the system to download software you really don't need, you could find yourself in a position where the people who really need the software can't use it because abusers used up all of the licenses. Things like that certainly need to be addressed.

    But do businesses *need* app stores?

    I'd say no. Especially small ones might not need something like that. This strikes me as something for medium to large businesses.

    I will likely vote "no," but it would be a weak "no," as I can certainly see the benefits. I am not *against* the idea of having an app store. But on the other hand, I don't see it as being so overwhelmingly useful that it could be labelled as a "must have" for businesses.
    CobraA1
    Reply Vote I'm Undecided
  • How is that any different than "side loading" applications?

    Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck...
    jessepollard
    Reply Vote I'm for Yes
    • Probably the trust aspect

      If you can set up a company store where all available apps are trusted (after appropriate testing, presumably), the IT people are more likely to be willing to work with it.
      Third of Five
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
  • Not a solution

    The real reason people bring their own device is because of the employers restricting their employees sometimes to such an extent they forced to use external channels to do their work, or just to feel connected to the outside world. So now we are going back to it?
    andries.spies@...
    Reply Vote I'm for No
  • I voted yes but I am not sure that it applies to all enterprises.

    I work for a major Midwestern university and for many years we have had a website whose sole purpose is to deliver to students any software for which the university holds an enterprise-wide license. Of course, a university environment represents the epitome of BYOD but the premise is the same. In light of the explosion of BYOD devices, whether or not the institution needs something more attuned to the needs of individual devices is a different question.

    Most BYOD devices already have access to an OS-dependent app store so enterprise-specific apps are often better served through the vendors app store than through an enterprise-specific app store.

    Still, I think the time is coming when BYOD will require the enterprise to make industry-specific applications available through such an app store mechanism and whether or not OS vendors allow the enterprise to connect to the device via an enterprise app store or whether the enterprise is forces to use Google Play, or the Apple AppStore remains to be seen. Microsoft has already said they will permit the enterprise to "side-load" their own apps.
    M Wagner
    Reply Vote I'm for Yes
  • blackberry does this, hello

    I'm surprised you don't know or didn't mention that blackberry 10 devices have their own enterprise app store. In fact blackberry has had this for years. They never seem to get credit where deserved.
    Ahnomimush
    Reply 1 Vote I'm for Yes
    • BES 10

      Yes, and BES 10 can do that for Android 2.2>, iOS 4>, BB 10, and PlayBook 2.x devices.

      Done.

      That was easy.
      bb_apptix
      Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
  • Not even on the table...unless we can remove what we want when we want.

    Simply by connecting to our corporate network with your own device reserves us the right to wipe the phone when it is believed that something installed is a security risk. What is a security risk? Who monitors them? How many new FTEs for all of that? Do the user's feel comfortable granting this kind of control of their own device to their employer?

    The opening statement sounds nice but not for personal devices. If you are restricted to apps only provided by your company then shouldn't it be a company device managed by the company?

    If you connect your existing phone using vpn to your company network have you read the company policies? Ah, thats why that app has the access it does!
    hashref
    Reply Vote I'm for No
    • Not even....

      Many FTEs want to use their own devices particularly remote workers and road warriors that want light or feature rich devices. Selective wipe is a reality and a corp responsibility in BYOD scenarios.

      Any half-@$$ IT department can monitor & automate Alerts to users and move the users access to a GUEST status in a highly secure DMZ. Skills and grey-matter is all that stands in the way.
      TXtunes
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
    • What makes you think

      we need to connect to your network. We are the knowledge workers who create the content. If you do not serve us we will move our content to other servers and dismiss you.
      AnalogJoystick
      Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided