Whether it involves creating software
internally or purchasing prebuilt apps,
there must be some level of control, Winthrop says.
The Enterprise Mobility Foundation
recommends that organizations set up
their own in-house enterprise app stores.
By adopting an approved list of apps, enterprises can ensure that users download programs that the organization has tested and
OK’d and can maintain, Winthrop says.
Imris, a Winnipeg, Manitoba, provider of
medical equipment, has given Apple iPads
to sales and marketing personnel, product
managers, executives and other employees.
The company lets users download software
from an internal app store that it set up
using a tool from Apperian called Enterprise
App Services Environment, says Ben VanOsch, IT director at Imris.
The IT group identifies publicly available apps that it wants
to adopt as recommended company tools, and they’re added to
the Imris app store. This allows for “consistency” throughout the
enterprise, VanOsch explains.
Currently, Imris has 16 privately developed apps and two public
ones in its app store, which the company calls InfoCentral. It
expects to deploy two more public apps within a couple of months,
after the IT group vets them, and it’s in the process of developing
two more private applications that will be released by mid-June.
The company has a total of 32 iPad users, all of whom have
downloaded apps from InfoCentral. “We are considering deploying iPads to our board of directors, other leaders and to every
employee,” says VanOsch. “We believe the iPad can become a
strategic communication tool, providing increased timeliness of
Continued from page 24
the message and increased environmen-
tal responsibility by reducing paper as a
means of communicating.”
While the app store is the preferred
source of applications, VanOsch says it’s
likely that Imris iPad users have down-
loaded personal software as well — and
he says that’s OK with him.
The company’s strategy provides flexi-
bility for end users while at the same time
giving IT some control over what can be
used on the devices. Most users “have the
same app requirements,” says VanOsch.
“However, due to their different roles
and localization needs, [they have] the
latitude to personalize their iPads in a
manner they believe will provide them
the greatest benefit.”
The company app store “allows us to
manage the deployment of apps from our main office and [keep]
everyone worldwide with the same message and tools,” he says.
In the past, marketing materials or sales tools deployed to teams
could be altered or grow outdated, resulting in an increased risk
of company representatives presenting conflicting messages to
n Create a clear policy about tablets
in the workplace, including which applications can be used for business
purposes and how company-owned
data should be treated.
n Consider using partitioning tools
that separate business-owned data
from consumer data on the devices.
n Encourage feedback about which
applications seem particularly useful
for the organization or for specific
n Seek volume discounts for tablet
applications as a way to control costs.
— BoB Violino
The Middle Ground
Other organizations are allowing employees to select from a
range of publicly available applications — with some controls —
rather than creating in-house app stores.
The Morris School District in Morristown, N.J., has deployed
Tools for Building
about 200 iPads to high schools and middle schools, and it plans to
increase the number considerably in the coming months. Students
and teachers use the devices to download content such as electronic
An App Store
YOU COULD BUILD your own enterprise app store to distribute and manage mobile applications. IBM, for example, created its own online app marketplace called Whirlwind, according to a recent Business Week article.
But there are a handful of vendors that offer software intended to
make the process of opening and maintaining an app store easier.
They include AppCentral (formerly Ondeego), Apperian, MobileIron,
Partnerpedia and Rhomobile.
AppCentral, for example, claims that its Mobile App Management
software handles three major challenges facing enterprises trying
to manage apps on company- and employee-owned mobile devices:
distribution, security and administration.
Distribution means getting approved apps installed on users’ devices. AppCentral distributes native apps, H TML5 apps or links to consumer marketplace apps. “Role-based distribution delivers the right
apps to the right employees,” the company says on its website.
AppCentral says it secures corporate apps and data with a “mobile
app wrapper.” And it wipes apps if the device is lost or if the employee who uses the app leaves the company — without touching personal
information on employee-owned devices.
To run the store, AppCentral manages, monitors and updates mobile apps over the air. The software also manages licenses and tracks
app installation and usage, the vendor says. AppCentral’s software is
available in an on-premises version or as a hosted service.
The next step in the evolution of enterprise app stores is to allow
employees to rate the apps’ usefulness — something IBM is encouraging its employees to do on its internal social network.
Giving people the ability to rate and discuss apps could have far-
reaching consequences, according to a recent Forrester Research
report. It concluded: “Participation in an employee social community
where app store applications can be rated, and new ones asked for,
will stimulate increasingly savvy mobile users to share knowledge
about new tools that save time, facilitate collaboration and communi-
cation, and also nurture an innovation culture within the company.”
— MITCH Be TTs