by Thomas Wailgum

Enterprise App Stores: iTunes Imitation Is Flattering and Foolish

Aug 14, 20092 mins
Enterprise Applications

The world's gone mad over Apps. Now enterprise software vendors are talking up their own App Stores.

The world’s gone crazy over Apps. And I’m not talking about nachos or calamari, here.

Look no further than the incredible rise of Apple’s iTunes store and iPhone Apps. (I can’t be the only one sick of those Apple ads—”Hey, is there an App that will get you to shut up, Mr. Apple Pitchman?!”)

To prove that in the business world no good idea shall go uncopied, even if it makes absolutely no sense for the industry or vertical in question to mimic it, we have this: Enterprise software vendors (purveyors of multimillion-dollar ERP, CRM, BI and supply chain apps) have apparently seen their future. And it just might involve an App Store of their own.

“Sparked by the jaw-dropping success of Apple’s iTunes store,” noted a recent article on, “an array of enterprise software vendors are getting into the ‘app store’ act.” The article objectively explains the pros and cons of enterprise app store strategies and what specific markets and tech tools in which an app store could and could not work. (Big apps: Not a chance; small application connectors or Web interfaces: possibly.)

Several months back, as the buzz around Microsoft’s retail stores grew, I satirically envisioned how this would play out at an SAP store. (Turns out, maybe I wasn’t too far off.)

Now, if we envision an IT manager using the future Oracle App Store, for instance, what could possibly happen? Here’s what we’d probably overhear:

“Does anyone have a credit card limit above $20,000? It says here this E-Business Suite app is going to cost us $1.2 million.”

“No! No! No! I didn’t want the Projects Intelligence app. I wanted the Financials Intelligence app! Now I have to pay for both!”

“‘Larry Ellison’s Fav Picks’?! What the hell is that?”

“Now it’s saying, ‘People Who Bought “Advanced Supply Chain Planning Option: Constraint Based Optimization” Also Bought “Strategic Network Optimization.”‘ Grrrrrr.”

“Hold on a sec, here: ‘Estimated time of download: 4.2 Years. Do Not Disconnect.’ Oh brother.”

“I can’t believe this: Limited Edition Miley Cyrus Enterprise Asset Management App—Now Available!”

“Boy, I miss the good old days of getting taken out to a nice dinner by my Oracle rep and then haggling over the licensing discounts later!”

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