Vendors Prepare For Corporate Application Store Opportunities

Firms are expanding beyond basic applications, deploying line-of-business mobile applications to address the needs of specific workers including the sales force, help desk, supply chain, logistics, and inventory management personnel. A growing number of firms are using mobile application stores to distribute these apps. In fact, 35% of enterprise organizations currently use mobile app stores, up from 27% of firms in 2010 (see Figure below).

An Increasing Number Of Firms Use Mobile App Stores To Distribute Applications

Mobile application stores gained momentum over the past few years as firms including Apple, BlackBerry, Nokia, and Google developed mobile application stores to deploy applications over their devices. Now application stores are evolving to include corporate mobile application stores. These corporate app stores help firms control employee access to applications and ensure consistent mobile application use across the organization. Results from our 2011 networks and telecommunications survey of IT decision-makers show that nearly 5% of enterprises currently use corporate mobile application stores to distribute mobile apps. These corporate app stores provide an easy way for employees to find and download corporate-approved apps for any officially supported operating system or device.

I am currently conducting research for my upcoming report on corporate app stores. I am interviewing device manufacturers, application aggregators, mobile device management vendors, telcos, network management vendors, and others who are staking a claim in this market. Today’s corporate app stores focus on distributing mobile applications to smartphones and tablets and come in two types: 1) internal IT application stores that are a central site to distribute and manage mobile applications for employees; 2) external app stores that vendors use to distribute their mobile applications to customers. Distributing mobile applications is the key focus of these stores today, but in the future, corporate app stores will evolve to include applications for partners and suppliers. In addition, services deployed through these stores will expand to include storage, security, application vetting, and expanded device management capabilities. Vendor differentiators include the breadth of applications and services offered through these stores, partnerships to fill the stores with services, and the ability to support employees.

Interviews for this report are being scheduled from October 24th through November 18th, and we plan to publish the report by December 19th. Please let me or my Research Associate (smusto@forrester.com) know if you would like to participate in the report. All participants will receive a copy of the report prior to publication.