In the past, employees were required to use a device issued to them by a company. This system ensured a number of things including security. However, as the use of personal devices has proliferated in the world, it was inevitable that it would also enter the workplace. Thus, the idea of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) came to be. Nowadays, BYOD is hardly a new concept, but it remains relevant as companies continue to incorporate BYOD policies and practices. This approach even includes things like creating and incorporating customized enterprise app stores.
It's been observed that BYOD can aid in things like increased productivity, job satisfaction, flexibility, cost savings and so on. First of all, the user owns the device and thus has a better and more comfortable understanding of how it works and what can be done. Secondly, users can bring their devices from home to work and vice versa. This allows them to work wherever and whenever they need/want to. Furthermore, because the device is supplied by the user, enterprises don't need to worry about the cost of said devices.
None the less, issues can arise when it comes to downloading apps and software. Think about the last app you downloaded onto your device, If it didn’t come from an already established enterprise app store, then chances are it came from a more commercial app store. Given the sensitive nature of business operations, data, company information, etc, it doesn’t really make sense for employees to get apps from big name app stores where apps can be riddled with bugs, errors and potential viruses. Sure, the stores try to be judicious and monitor their apps, but some are bound to fall through the cracks. This is not to say that such instances won’t occur with an enterprise app store. There's just more control in terms of the process of app development, checking and deployment.
Another thing to keep in mind is that enterprise app stores can be very similar to more commercial app stores. 3rd party apps, user feedback and ratings, app updates and screenshots are still used and available to users. In addition, an enterprise app store may even include custom -built apps and links to recommended public apps. However, be aware that more upkeep is required and there is a constant progress of inspection, protection and deployment.
That’s not bad right? And the benefits make it look especially good.
So, what does an enterprise need to do to set up an enterprise app store? If your enterprise has it’s own development team, you might try looking into mobile application management solutions (MAM). These services focus entirely on applications allowing certain levels of access, updates, performance monitoring and usage. It can even be used to remove company data from a device when a user leaves the company. Furthermore, HTML5 app catalogs can be used to manage apps and are applicable to most mobile devices. On top of that, there’s also native app catalogs to consider.
If you don’t have a development team, you can certainly look into getting a customized version built (which may turn out to be cheaper in the long run) or you can look to a vendor. There are certainly plenty in the market today. Among them are Cisco, McAfee, Apperian and Apple’s app store corporate purchasing program.
The key point to all of this is keeping company information and personal information separate. It’s a challenge that many are still working to accomplish. Ultimately it goes back to the beginning with the BYOD policy. With that in mind, we can definitely expect that many more private app stores will pop as mobile devices continue to thrive and flourish.