Corporate App Stores: Do they Matter?

By CIOReview | Tuesday, July 19, 2016
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In 2012, Symantec published its annual “State of Mobility Survey” which shed light on a growing trend at the time. According to the survey, 71 percent of organizations around the globe were supposedly planning to launch their own corporate app store. With the BYOD craze on the up, this made sense for organizations as they want to ensure better control and security on their valuable assets. Four years since the survey, corporate app stores have made giant strides into the workplace and marginalized the usage of consumer apps.

While one could easily make the argument that employee enthusiasm and high-adoption rates of enterprise apps are almost reason enough to have an enterprise app store, there are specific reasons beyond that as to why it makes great business sense to do so.

Security and Confidentiality

If an enterprise does not provide their own apps, or offers too few or poorly made apps, employees will, as one would expect, turn to consumer apps. No ifs, ands, or buts to that. Consumer apps from public app stores like Google Play, Windows Store, and Apple’s App Store are usually less secure than enterprise apps or enterprise-approved third-party apps. Consequently, your company data will be willingly or unwillingly placed in the hands of consumer apps, beyond the reach of your security measures, if you do not provide any safer and better enterprise alternatives.

Regulatory Compliance

In heavily regulated industries like healthcare, compliance has become a serious issue. Moreover, almost every industry is bound by a multitude of regulations of some sort. Enterprise apps will help diverse industries ensure compliance while consumer apps do not. Therefore, if you are not ready to gamble on compliance, an enterprise app store is surely your best course of action.

Avoid the Formation of New Regulations

Privacy issues have grown to become a big headache for governments all over the world. In the US, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is already poking around commercial as well as consumer apps that expose users’ private data to third-parties; because neither the app developers nor the app stores are proactively adhering to privacy concerns. To counter privacy issues, app developers tend to make the apps more vibrant by providing more updates, but the core issue is often intentionally overlooked. Commercial app stores are only focused on meeting consumer demand; so, if the consumer is kept happy, there won’t be any complaints. Thus, in the absence of any consumer complaints, privacy issues are shoved under the carpet.

The ongoing FTC enquiry could result in new privacy regulations for consumer app stores. For enterprises, having their own apps mean less messing around with the FTC or any other regulatory body. Moreover, enterprise apps will enable them to confine corporate data within the four walls of their organization where they can proactively address potential issues and avoid any redundant scrutiny or new regulations.

Enhanced Employee Productivity

As mentioned earlier, BYOD has become all the rage among enterprises. These days, almost every corporation allows the usage of at least one mobile component in their workplace. As a matter of fact, IT departments are already having their hands full with handing out mobile devices or networking in BYOD and managing the data on all of it. But, what companies often fail to realize is that having mobile devices available for immediate use is not enough to get the job done.

One of the main reasons for employees relying on commercial apps in the first place is increased productivity. The apps are easier, lighter, and faster to use than logging into a company or SaaS website with a small screen keyboard and waiting patiently on the download. In addition, employees are attracted towards apps which are designed to perform a specific task, rather than using the same interface for executing multiple functionalities. In short, employees find that commercial apps are the perfect fix for whatever bugs bothers them. Thus, enterprises can take a leaf out of the page of consumer apps to enhance organizational productivity by developing apps which focus on the employee specific needs; can easily be integrated with existing company software; and that can capture unstructured data. Moreover, corporate data can be secure within the company itself from unwanted outside threats.

So it’s pretty much clear! Enterprise app stores are the only way forward for organizations in enabling employee productivity, particularly for those who embrace BYOD. If you haven’t got one already, it’s high time to get started now securing and distributing apps to your employees via a private, customized enterprise app store.