Apps are the reason why we all love our devices, and our future is without question going to be app-centric. From a business context, we see organizations continuing to advance their mobile strategies and move well beyond just providing their employees access to email towards broader usage of productivity and collaboration applications (which are increasingly custom developed apps). Enterprise-oriented ISVs are also very active in sharpening their mobile focus and expanding their mobile applications portfolios ― additionally, data from a recent survey we conducted into the usage of app development platforms/tools shows that organizations are (finally) beginning to meaningfully take advantage of these solutions to create custom applications.
While there are several approaches to enable secure app management that include containerization, OS partitioning and virtualization (to name just a few), an app store component is core/key as it not only facilitates app discovery and entitlement, but brings enterprise-grade security and IT-friendly features that can help to simplify app distribution and management.
Mobile IT Investments Required to Support our App-Centric Future
BYOD has clearly impacted and changed the way we work, and has brought to light the need for investment in 3rd party software tools to support expanding mobile workforces. Clearly investments in the enterprise have started with solutions to mitigate against the inherent security risks that come with supporting multiple mobile platforms ― however, secure and efficient app management capabilities are increasingly important for organizations that are actively developing custom mobile apps. While many organizations are using a single platform approach from tenured vendors like Antenna, Kony or Verivo, several large multi-national organizations I’ve spoken with not only use multiple development platforms and tools, but are dissatisfied with the manual and often cumbersome processes associated with deploying custom apps they’ve developed. In this vein, functionality that can streamline app delivery while not “locking” a user into only using a single tool for all of their mobile app creation and deployment needs will be welcomed ― any mobile-first vendor that can deliver this capability will also be an attractive partner for organizations that are expanding their usage of custom mobile applications.
With the announcement of its Publishing API Program, Apperian has brought its customers the ability to publish apps directly from the UI of its program launch partners ― the initial partners that Apperian has disclosed with the official launch of this program include:
While the list of participating partners includes the most popular development platform / tool vendors, Apperian’s publishing API is public, which gives additional vendors the opportunity to integrate and offer their customers one-click deployment to Apperian’s application management platform.
Apperian continues to demonstrate it prowess in effective (and swift) partnering – I know for a fact that the company held numerous discussions at MWC to line up partners for this launch. The company recognizes its strengths, and has formed key partnerships with important security-oriented vendors such as Ping Identity for SSO, Mocana for granular app level policies and Appthority for app reputation/risk analysis to strengthen its platform and market position. As with all mobile ecosystem channel/partnership arrangements, there are varying degrees of coopetition between Apperian and several of this program's partners – for example, many launch partners have their own application management plays – however, this is to be expected, and I see this program as a significant development for organizations active in developing custom apps that have to deal with app signing, testing and other issues associated with piloting multiple version of apps that aren’t ready for full production environments.
IT Still Challenged
While MAM solutions ease app deployment, it is still important not to underestimate the complexity of upgrading an installed base of corporate app users, who are spread across geographies, languages, by carriers and platform. This, without question, makes for challenging deployment scenarios. These challenges are further magnified for IT when server changes require synchronization (a common occurrence in enterprise environments). For this program to be a success, Apperian will need to dedicate resources to co-marketing and sales training for its partners – I expect this, and will be eager to learn how customers are utilizing these capabilities.