Do you believe in "Enterprise App Stores" ?

App stores are the embodiment of public cloud services ranging from consumerized mobile apps to software- and infrastructure-as-a-service in the enterprise context. A great and simplified user experience drove mass adoption with consumers.

Will these cloud app stores simply evolve to meet the demand of corporate processes and compliance? Private clouds and software distribution to corporate laptops and desktops so far have not been able to catch up to the same level. So, there is definitely demand to bring the consumer innovation into corporates. 

But don't forget the the modern IT management software (ITMS) suites, which offer some self-service functionality. Still the coherent, end-to-end self-service experience across all types of users, assets, and already multiple deployment targets is still far away from the consumer world. But, ITMS software is also an equal starting point.

The situation in real enterprises is even worse. It is not only the absense of a good employee engagement around IT-service self service and user experience. It's more the fact that IT departments deliver traditionally many services that employees don't want any more. We've seen employees that haven't stored a single document on the corporate Sharepoint installation, but use instead; or employees that haven't created a single Excel spreadsheet for a while and use for example Google Apps instead; or employees who would love to downgrade their personal ERP profile to what they really need, if they get the saved money back. Once you create cost transparency and offer them to "un-subscribe" from tradtional software and subscribe to new (cloud) service instead – you embrace modern technology mangement and could drive the next wave of cost savings. This can be an essential milestone in the a business technology agenda.

Forrester believes, that the most promising approach for a systems of employee engagement around cost- and demand-transparency of all kind of private and public cloud services is an intelligend merge of app stores and traditional service catalogs.

We call this set of capabilities and Service App Store

CIOs might achive this by combining existing tools and services, or by using an upcoming disruptive new product. Whatever you do, at least the business model of an Service App Store is clearly disruptive compared to ITMS software.

The figure shows all kind of self-service solutions of consumer and corporate environments compared by business model. The new category of Service App Stores will offer an always up-to-datec cloud content in enterprise. It is the reselling and ecosystem channel directly to your employees. But, it will also link via existing on-premise software components into desktop provising or other legacy assets.

We just published a new Forrester report Service App Stores Will Reshape Corporate Tech Management, which explores the topic in much more detail and compares also the groups of users, the types of assets and the possible deployment targets across all these options. (Sorry folks, the picture here in the blog is just a sneak preview to our full report.) It also includes survey data of the current use and demand of app stores by a sample of 2.200 decision makers from small to large enterprises. Finally, there is a CIO-road map for shaping the appropriate app store strategy in the report. 

Upcoming research will map existing product and cloud services to the explored evolutions and merge of capabilities. Stay tuned!