Need an app store? Salesforce, Microsoft have options.
Agency IT managers who need to manage, distribute and secure a variety of apps to their mobile or remote workers could build an app store like the Defense Department’s DOD Mobile Application Store, which delivers, updates and deletes applications on remote mobile devices.
Or, agencies without the resources of DOD could take advantage of app store capabilities now being built into enterprise cloud systems. For instance, Salesforce just announced its AppExchange Store Builder, a platform to help organizations quickly create a fully customizable app marketplace. And Microsoft is expected to include app store management in Windows 10.
Salesforce’s AppExchange Store Builder lets IT managers create a single destination for mobile, web and desktop apps, including third-party apps and apps for various device platforms, such as Android, iOS and Windows.
New app storefronts can also be customized to give end-users a consistent experience, while built-in dashboards send IT managers intelligence about activity and downloads.
The Department of Agriculture, a Salesforce customer, is using AppExchange Store Builder to engage its constituents in entirely new ways. USDA wants to promote reuse of existing apps that have demonstrated business success and be sure new applications are built in such a way that they can be reused easily, according to Salesforce.
The AppExchange Store Builder lets USDA deliver the right apps to the right people at the right time in its custom store.
“We’re working to quickly create a fully customized and transparent app inventory for our key stakeholders,” said Todd Schroeder, business systems management director, USDA, in the Salesforce announcement.
“With AppExchange Store Builder, we will bring stakeholders and apps together in a self-service business solutions marketplace that allows the USDA to more broadly share success.”
AppExchange Store Builder is available at no cost to existing Salesforce customers. Additional users require Customer Community licenses, which are available starting at $5 per user per month.
Meanwhile, Microsoft plans to add Windows Store management capabilities for organizations using Windows 10 apps "in the coming months," according to a report on Redmondmag.com, a sister site to GCN.
The new management capabilities are specifically associated with using Windows 10, which is still at the preview release stage. Jim Alkove, Microsoft's leader of the Windows enterprise program management team, outlined some of the Windows Store changes to come in a recent blog post.
In general, Microsoft plans to provide a single Windows Store for all devices running Windows 10, including PCs, tablets and smartphones.
To manage such apps, IT pros will have access to "a new web-based store portal" if they use Microsoft Azure Active Directory. The portal can acquire apps and then they can be assigned to end users, who just have to click on a link to download them, according to Alkove's description.
Additionally, there are vendor specific app stores like the Amazon AWS Marketplace that helps customers find, buy and immediately start using tools ranging from databases, application servers, testing tools, monitoring tools, content management, and business intelligence software. AWS clients pay by the hour or month, and the company handles billing and payments, with software charges appearing on customers’ AWS bill.
Likewise, the Granicus AppStore, targeted at state and local governments, lets the company’s government customers easily find, purchase, deploy and manage apps for government-specific solutions -- including 311, citizen mobile, budget transparency, social media, recycling and solid waste.
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