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Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: BYOD and the Consumerization of IT

More enterprise app stores on the horizon: Gartner

Call it BYOA (bring your own application). Unlike BYOD, however, enterprises will take more control of the situation with sanctioned apps available for quick downloads and deployments.

Within the next four years, up to 25 percent of enterprises will have their own enterprise app stores for managing corporate-sanctioned apps on PCs and mobile devices, Gartner analysts said.

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It's all part of the bring your own application (BYOA) trend that is starting to pick up steam, said Gartner's Ian Finley. Unlike bring your own device (BYOD), enterprises will take more control of the situation with sanctioned apps available for quick downloads and deployments.

It will also dramatically change the way software is procured within organizations. "Enterprise IT organizations should be transitioning from the traditional approach of selecting devices and software for users and instead, establishing transparent and enforced app curation policies — as is currently found in public app stores," said Gartner.

The consultancy also cautions that enterprises that do launch their own internal app stores, to be sure to stock them with a lot of choice. "Without a dynamic selection of apps to choose from, users will eventually have little reason to continue to visit an enterprise app store."

The enterprise app store concept also addresses many of the governance and business-value issues that flummoxed SOA and enterprise cloud proponents over the years. As Gartner described it: "An app store can be a natural way to share new applications within the enterprise, recognize great applications, provide feedback to development teams, and even create a bit of competition between them — all to drive the development of better solutions."

Not mentioned by Gartner is the fact that the app store model may potentially provide smaller developer operations more segue into larger corporations. Already, the public app stores have provided some new channels and opportunities to software publishers, and the corporate market is a big fat opportunity waiting to be opened up.

There may be impacts on the IT department as well. There will be further impetus for IT to compete more as cloud-like providers, or even serve as brokers to identify and bring in outside apps for distribution.

The public app store model is a compelling one, but there are distinctions between public and enterprise app stores that should be pointed out as well. Enterprise app stores seek to limit, not expand, sales, enterprise app store purchases/downloads need tight workflows, and enterprise app store purchases/downloads are subject to existing corporate licensing agreements.

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