Should you consider your own enterprise app store?

Mike Martin

Guest Blogger: Mike Martin, Senior Vice President, Solutions & Services

Gartner predicts that 25% of enterprises will have their own app stores by 2017. Should you consider one for your organization?

Enterprise app stores are the latest response to the “bring your own application” (BYOA) trend, in which employees want to use their own apps on their own devices for work purposes. A study last summer of college-educated workers aged 20-29 found that 30% would use non-approved applications for work, and nearly 70% support a BYOA environment. Since this age group will be quickly moving into positions of responsibility in enterprises, CIOs should start considering how they will confront this potential conflict.

My Life Graphic/

My Life Graphic/

However, creating an enterprise app store requires an investment of time and money. First, the enterprise must create the platform, and choose which apps to offer initially. The store must also be continuously maintained, to ensure that changing document formats and technology demands are met by the apps available in the store. If employees find that enterprise-approved apps don’t fit their needs, they will likely be quick to revert back to public apps. Brian Prentice, research vice president at Gartner, says that “the primary determinant of success is app supply.” Application leaders must work in close collaboration with end users to ensure that available apps are efficient and enhance productivity.

Do you think the concept of an enterprise app store is ripe, and an appropriate way to manage BYOA? Or is it just hype, and an unnecessary expense?

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Should companies consider enterprise app stores?

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What is your 2013 strategy?

2013 is right around the corner. And the New Year can mean lots of new things, especially in an industry that moves as quickly as IT. Therefore Gartner has provided a list of the top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2013.

  1. Mobile Device Battles: In 2013 mobile devices will pass PCs as the most common way to access the web.
  2. Mobile Applications and HTML 5: HTML 5 will become a mainstream application developer environment.
  3. Personal Cloud: Cloud will become the center of all things digital.
  4. Internet of Things: Over 50% of internet connections are things, and this will only continue to grow.
  5. Hybrid IT and Cloud Computing: IT departments will have to play more roles.
  6. Strategic Big Data: Focus on non-traditional data types and external data sources.
  7. Actionable Analytics: Analytics will accelerate over the next year, including the ability to perform analytics on every action taken in business.
  8. Mainstream in Memory Computing: this will boost performance and response time.
  9. Integrated Ecosystems: more packaging of software and services.
  10. Enterprise App Stores: By 2014 there will be more than 70 billion mobile app downloads.

Do you agree that you need to add these trends into your strategic planning for 2013, making this ripe? Or do you disagree and believe these trends are only hype?

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Should your Employees be given full access to the App store?

One of the most concerning aspects of BYOD is the applications that employees decide to put on their devices. These apps can contain viruses that will hurt the devices, but they can be intrusive in other ways as well. Many apps can infringe on people’s privacy by invading a device’s address book or other private information on the device. And free apps have been found to be particularly risky.

Because of the risks many companies have decided to enforce strong security for BYOD. This can, for example, include signing an agreement that the company has the right to wipe the device if any problems arise and not allowing company owned devices to connect to the app store.

Do you agree that Apps are risky when it comes to BYOD, making this ripe? Or do you think this is hype? If this is Ripe, then how do you think companies should handle BYOD when it comes to apps? Let us know in the comments below!

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How complex is your data center?

There’s no denying that the data center is complex. Virtualization is one way that organizations try to reduce the complexity of the data center. And while virtualization helps, it certainly isn’t the only approach to reducing complexity.

The primary agent for complexity in the data center is business-critical applications. In fact, in Symantec’s study 65% of respondents listed it as a reason for complexity in their data centers. There are more and more applications being made each day and these applications take up space to store. The cost of storage for these applications is cheap, but when you add more and more applications each day the storage cost also continues to increase.

Other causes of complexity that were listed in the study are mobile computing (44% of respondents), server virtualization (43% of respondents), and the public cloud (41% of respondents).

Symantec’s study also found that 90% of organizations are implementing or discussing ways to get their data center complexity under control. Some ways that organizations are doing this include: enhanced security, finding the right information in a timely manner, reduced costs of information storage and management, reduced legal and compliance risks, and moving to the cloud.

What do you think about Symantec’s findings? Are they ripe and organizations need to be searching for ways to reduce their data center’s complexity? Or are they hype?

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Fast 5 Cloud Event Questions

What is the best way to take a holistic security approach when you are using public and private cloud environments as well as a traditional data center?
It is best to take the same approach you would in an off-premises solution. You will need to deal with the same compliances applicable to your business, i.e. HIPPA, and government regulations. It is important to interview the cloud provider as you would your own networking and IT staff. Start in your physical data center first, look at the environment, then the network and down to application security. You will need to apply due diligence as you move applications to the cloud.

Do I need to consider ITSM with my cloud environments?
Just because you move things to a public cloud, it doesn’t mean the need for ITSM is eliminated. It is important for your company to define what this will look like internally (if you haven’t already) and to look for a cloud provider that can achieve your specific needs. Some partners will provide it as a service, others will provide the infrastructure, leaving the rest up to you. It is very important interview and select your cloud provider carefully to make sure you know what they can do for you.

I’m experiencing issues with the performance of some of my applications in the cloud? How can I get better performance?
Applications are really important and can often dictate what you can do with regard to the cloud. First, you want to do a review of each app and determine the best place to run them. Despite the fact that there are over 26 carriers available and a mega-load of bandwidth, you still need to run the test to see how much you need. You might need a LAN acceleration device.

Email and other web-based apps are simpler, but when it gets to ERP level and production-critical applications you have to do a deep look at them.

You can also look at different ways of developing apps, you can scale out and not just up. There are better ways to design applications for scale now to leverage the elasticity of a cloud environment.

I want to outsource my DR to the cloud. How do I know that it is going to work when I need it to? Can I require the provider to run tests on a regular basis as part of my agreement?
You can and should require the provider to run tests on a regular basis. It is important for your company to set a DR strategy and think about continuity, just having a technical solution in place isn’t enough. You need to create an ongoing development plan to put DR strategies in place. Applications change, the way of doing business changes, and therefore you DR strategy also needs to be changing.

What kind of connection is required between our site and the cloud? Is it better to use programs like Citrix to stream apps back to the site, or is speed not an issue when the data is in the cloud as opposed to onsite?
It is important to do bandwidth tests that way you can see what requirements you would need. Certain applications work better than others and with choice comes a competitive spirit. Making your choice from the competition based on what will meet your requirements. It is also important to take into consideration what kind of applications you want to move to the cloud, how they will be hosted and then to create a back-up plan and have diverse options.

Are you prepared to monitor your cloud?

It seems as though in today’s world it is almost vital for companies to move their applications to the cloud. It is just as vital to adequately prepare and monitor the application moving to the cloud, as actually moving the application.

When it comes to monitoring your cloud, it may be beneficial to keep these application performance management tips in mind.

  1. Enterprises won’t move everything to the cloud anytime soon. They will always have hybrid environments, so consider how to manage them most effectively.
  2. Gain visibility into what the cloud provider is doing.
  3. Users will expect availability, performance and response time.

Are these tips ripe and helpful for preparing and monitoring applications in the cloud? Or are they hype? What other tips do you recommend for preparing and monitoring your applications in the cloud?

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