As mobile apps continue to proliferate throughout the manufacturing organization, we are seeing companies grapple with how to best manage these apps. One trending question today is when it makes sense to funnel mobile app delivery for employees, partners, and eventually customers through a corporate app store and how to design, develop, deploy and manage the corporate app store.
As my colleague Kim Knickle and I have increasingly heard from manufacturers, there are two common models emerging for the corporate app store: one that is internally driven and managed, and one in which IT suppliers facilitate the creation and ongoing operation of the store. Keep in mind, corporate app store adoption is still in its nascent stages in manufacturing, and across most other industries. According to our IDC colleague, Bob O'Donnell, current adoption rates for corporate app stores are less than 20% across industries, although IDC Manufacturing Insights reports from recent surveys that almost 80% of manufacturers are developing mobile applications, and at a more rapid rate than traditional applications.
While mobile is becoming a popular form factor for new applications being developed by manufacturers, the rise of mobile applications poses a number of challenges for managing them in the context of the IT environment. IDC Manufacturing Insights recently released a new report (Business Strategy: Looking Forward to the Corporate Application Store) that explores strategies around corporate app stores in the context of an organization's mobile maturity. Key highlights of the report include:
- The ideal corporate app store is independent of device and application source, is sanctioned, and meets governance and security requirements of the corporation.
- As part of their corporate application store strategy, manufacturers must make design, development, deployment, and management decisions around the store in the context of how their key IT suppliers will support this construct.
- The decision to open a corporate app store must factor in employees' willingness to use the app store, and supplying current, relevant mobile apps will be essential. IDC believes the ability to support rapid mobile application development through the use of "patterns of applications" will influence the success of the store.
We expect manufacturers to increase their adoption of corporate app stores in the next 12-18 months as they accelerate the delivery and quantity of mobile applications they provide to their employees and look for a means of more effectively and securely managing related processes. IDC Manufacturing Insights recommends manufacturers assess their mobility maturity, evaluate their in-house mobility adoption, and consider how a corporate app store can assist with design, development, deployment, and management of mobile apps. Our report includes some helpful questions to start a dialogue about these important aspects of the corporate app store. Taking these steps will ensure that mobility is leveraged fully across the organization and important conversations with key IT suppliers start happening now.
As part of our research, we spoke with several manufacturers who are in the advanced stages of leveraging a corporate app store for mobile app development, dissemination, and management. Learning what these manufacturers are doing with mobility can be helpful for other companies heading down the same path. If you'd like to share any of your experiences regarding a corporate app store or how you are managing your mobile apps, I'd love to hear them!