The "app store" concept -- with graphical, user friendly icons -- makes the IT infrastructure and related services tangible to business end-users.
InformationWeek's Chris Murphy recently explored the topic in some depth in a new report, noting that some prominent companies are discovering the app store concept as a way to provide enterprise-wide access to corporate software.
The latest example is Manpower, the national flexible and temp staffing firm. As Chris puts it:
"Manpower CIO Denis Edwards is thankful for Apple's App Store. Three years ago, to do what he and his IT team want to do now, they would have had to explain a complicated concept about distributed development, a centralized software depository, shared services, and approval processes. Now, he just points to the App Store and says 'we want to do that, only for internal use,' and people get it.' And he wants to do it whenever Manpower adds new software for one business group that others might want to adopt."
Sounds highly service oriented, doesn't it? In fact, Chris relates, Manpower is employing "a services architecture" to integrate legacy applications into the app store concept. "Apps publish data in common XML formats and local IT teams adapt those to legacy apps."
Make no mistake about it, though, integration between a multitude of systems behind the scenes is a big job. But the app store is a nice way to make service orientation extremely tangible to the business.