5 Mistakes to Avoid When Deploying an Enterprise App Store

Enterprise app stores are not as big a part of the BYOD trend as you might think. Why? According to IT consultancy Virtusa, essential features such as social media integration, consistent UI design and security check lists are being neglected.

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Thu, July 05, 2012

CIO — As personal mobile devices flood the corporate workplace, you'd think every company would have its own app store, right?

Not so fast. Despite the obvious benefits of efficiently and securely distributing mobile apps to employees to use their personal iPads, iPhones and Android smartphones, enterprise app stores are not widely in use. In fact, only an estimated 10 percent of enterprises have their own stores — though it's worth noting that Gartner predicts that by 2014 private app stores will be deployed by 60 percent of IT organizations.

The current low usage numbers are surprising given that the enterprise app store model follows the popular consumer trend started by Apple's iTunes App Store and Google's Play Store (Android). Such familiar platforms are the place where users go for apps and content, and without them smartphones and tablets would just be pieces of aluminum and plastic.

Some big companies such as CDW and General Electric have successfully implemented private app stores, and smaller niche companies, particularly in the healthcare field, are also looking at private app stores with help from big vendors like Cisco and SAP as well as smaller players such as AppCentral and Virtusa.

However, despite the efficiency of the model, the enterprise store is still not at the core of the BYOD (bring your own device) movement. The main reason seems to be shoddy, mistake-prone implementations.

More specifically, for example, this means having little to no social media interaction and recommendations within the stores and not having a consistent user interface, to name a few reasons, says Rauf A. Adil, director of technology at Virtusa, an IT services and consulting company based in Wesborough, Mass.

"The fundamental reason users visit an enterprise app store is to discover apps and get other users' feedback," says Adil. If youre not building your app store with that in mind, it's likely to fail.

Here are five mistakes to that will quickly turn employees away from using enterprise app stores, according to Virtusa.

1. There's No Easy Discovery

The biggest mistake organizations make is they do not provide easy search and discovery for applications in an enterprise app store. This often goes unnoticed at first as the number of apps available is limited. But over time, as the numbers of apps grow, discovery becomes more important. Apps should be categorized with the capability to create bookmarks and favorites, and there should be a seamless search and discover capability to get to a specific app or a set of apps.

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