The increasing number of smartphones and tablets in the workplace will push 25% of enterprises to adopt their own app store by 2017, according to Gartner.
In a new study, the research firm says that enterprises will increasingly turn to these app stores to control the apps their employees are using, especially with the bring-your-own-app (BYOA) trend now deemed to be “as important” as bring-your-own-device (BYOD).
"Apps downloaded from public app stores for mobile devices disrupt IT security, application and procurement strategies," said Ian Finley, a research vice president at the company.
"Bring your own application (BYOA) has become as important as bring your own device (BYOD) in the development of a comprehensive mobile strategy, and the trend toward BYOA has begun to affect desktop and web applications as well.
“Enterprise app stores promise at least a partial solution but only if IT security, application, procurement and sourcing professionals can work together to successfully apply the app store concept to their enterprises.”
And while this may represent another chore for IT departments already burdened with trying to control these mobile devices, Gartner says that the rise of corporate app stores represents an opportunity for Mobile Device Management (MDM) vendors.
"Many enterprises have looked to MDM vendors to provide these capabilities as part of the suite of services that MDM providers are selling," said research VP Phillip Redman.
"Today, most MDM providers have a simple way of extending apps to mobile devices, usually through a basic agent on the device, but many are launching more-sophisticated app stores that can host enterprise and third-party apps to be accessed by smartphones, tablets and PCs. The development of mobile apps and the support of MDM will drive most enterprise app store implementations during the next 12 to 18 months."
Furthermore, and in a nod towards how consumerization has changed software procurement in business, the researcher says that enterprises should encourage app developers to submit competing apps to the store, and then check to see which one is favored by the end user.
"Enterprise app stores enable procurement to broaden user choice by encouraging providers to submit competing apps, and to monitor demand for popular apps that may benefit from better negotiation of license terms and prices," said analyst Stewart Buchanan.