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One of the biggest frustrations facing CIOs and their IT teams is the consumerization of IT and shadow IT.
This ad hoc and unauthorized adoption of mobile devices and business applications by corporate end-users is raising security and compliance concerns. It’s challenging traditional IT management systems and governance policies.
Consumer procurement of mobile devices has exploded over the past few years as smartphones and tablets outpace office PCs and laptops in performance and ease-of-use. As many professionals – “Prosumers” or “Bizumers” – clandestinely use these devices for work purposes, more IT departments are confronted with challenges about how to manage them and mitigate the risks involved in using unauthorized devices.
More and more of these organizations are recognizing they’re fighting a losing battle by trying to prohibit their employees from acquiring the latest mobile devices to meet their personal and professional needs. As a result, these organizations are instituting “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies to control this process.
Now, these organizations are facing yet another round of security and management challenges as their employees and executives discover a new generation of business apps via online marketplaces, such as Apple’s App Store, Google Play, and Amazon.
There are also a growing number of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) app marketplaces popping up among Cloud vendors specifically targeting business users, inspired by the success of Salesforce.com’s AppExchange.
Again, THINKstrategies believes that organizations should not try to fight this trend but instead embrace it. If an end-user can find a business app that meets their needs and helps them be more productive, then their employer should encourage this adoption process and try to capitalize on the desire of their employees to find apps that can help them achieve their corporate objectives.
Of course, this process has to be properly managed to reduce the rise of security, reliability or compliance issues arising. One way to combat these risks is by establishing a corporate app store that consists of apps that are nominated by employees and approved by IT. The good news is that there is a new generation of Cloud-based, SaaS marketplace solution providers that are delivering the functionality to make corporate app stores possible.
These providers, like AppDirect, are focusing most of their attention on traditional service providers, including hosting companies like Rackspace. But, they are also getting an increasing number of inquiries from other institutions, such as banks, universities, and retailers. These organizations see an opportunity to both satisfy their employees’ demands for better apps, and to also offer app stores for their customers and partners.
Launching a Cloud marketplace can help organizations better manage the acquisition of apps among their employees and build a stronger bond with their customers and partners – as well as an additional revenue stream.
THINKstrategies is hosting a one-day forum to examine the changing nature of the channel in the Cloud, called the Cloud Channel Summit on Monday, November 5, in Mountain View, CA. For more information, go to www.cloudchannelsummit.com.
Kaplan is the Managing Director of THINKstrategies (www.thinkstrategies.com), Founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace (www.cloudshowplace.com) and host of the Cloud Channel Summit (www.cloudchannelsummit.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.