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Why enterprise app stores are more important than ever

With Enterprise Apps World coming up, we examine alternate angles to issues facing the enterprise. Here Aakash Patel argues that 2014 will be the year businesses finally realise the enterprise app store matters.

Enterprise app activations are seeing a hockey stick growth over the past few quarters. According to the latest Mobility Index report published by mobile solutions provider Good Technology, Q4 2013 saw a 54% increase in enterprise app activations over the same quarter of 2012.

Comparing the numbers to the previous quarter of the same year, the activations were up 43%. Good Technology has called this a “groundbreaking quarter” for enterprise apps.

This exponential growth is likely to continue over the next two years. With the rise in BYOD and a general shift towards enterprise mobility, more and more businesses have realized the importance of making their solutions accessible over a smartphone. Around February last year, IBM had announced the launch of MobileFirst, a project that will aggressively push the company and its clients towards a mobility-friendly environment.

Since the launch, IBM has partnered with a number of major clients like AT&T, Ford, ING and a number of Fortune 500 companies to enable a mobile first strategy.

Given this aggressive push towards mobility and the benefits that come with it, it is critical that businesses focus on building solutions for the enterprise app stores. According to a survey published by Gartner last year, at least 25% of the large companies are expected to launch their own enterprise app stores by 2017.

One of the major reasons for this shift is the concern over IT security that come with deploying apps from public app stores. The Gartner study shows a dramatic rise in the BYOA (Bring Your Own Application) phenomena with the proliferation of BYOD. With an enterprise app store, businesses can ensure better security along with increased value and a drop in licensing fee and administrative costs.

Apart from BYOD, another reason helping the tilt towards enterprise app stores is the arrival of enterprise app builder platforms that has made development of apps for enterprise use extremly simple. Take the example of Mendix; an app builder service that recently secured a $25 million funding from Battery Ventures.

The service uses enterprise APIs to let businesses build custom apps using a drag-and-drop interface. For example, consider a scenario where your sales team requires a custom application that can pull data about the hot leads from your CRM and automatically create an interface for these users to send and receive contract signatures. This can be easily done by extracting the relevant information using the SalesForce API and integrating this with the eSign-Live electronic signature API from Silanis to build an enterprise app that may be used by your Sales team to close sales faster.

One of the biggest advantages of custom built apps is the increase in efficiency and productivity that they offer. This ultimately brings about a competitive advantage to enterprises over other businesses that do not offer similar tools to their employees.

With an economy that is crawling back to growth, such tools offer a significant advantage to enterprises and this could be a major factor in spurring the growth of custom apps and ultimately the enterprise app store ecosystem. 2014 could be the year when businesses realize that this ecosystem matters. 

Find out more about planning your enterprise apps strategy at Enterprise Apps World this June.

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