IT managers adopt app stores for greater control

SAP and the University of Sydney are early adopters of enterprise app stores.

SAP's enterprise app store running on an iPad.

SAP's enterprise app store running on an iPad.

SAP has a review team that certifies new apps for addition to the store, Fox said. Major updates to apps are also reviewed. If the update requires a security check, SAP delays rollout of the update until it can complete a review, he said.

In addition to mobile app store, SAP has a separate store used for development purposes. The store is an internal Web 2.0 platform and includes 200-300 of SAP’s own apps, including early test versions. Through the store, users can download an app from the store and export it to the device of their choosing.

The store provides a feedback mechanism that helps with the development process, Fox said. “If we publish a new application, all of our employees can go in and rate that application” and send comments back to the developers.

University of Sydney

The University of Sydney is an early adopter of the internal app store concept. The uni launched an app store for students in September last year. The store enables the university to more widely distribute academic and other apps to students, as well as control what is installed on university computers, said the University of Sydney CIO, Bruce Meikle.

“The reason we did it is we’ve got in the order of 300 applications for different academic disciplines,” but to use them, students had to use each school’s specific computers, Meikle said. “Our intent was to make all of the on-campus student computers the same.”

The app store was developed by the university’s IT team with assistance and software from Citrix. With the store, students can view all 300 apps on university computers and add them to their session as needed, Meikle said. The university is conducting a 200-student trial program allowing students to use their own devices, he said. Fewer apps will be available on students’ own devices because of licensing issues, Meikle said. However, students “like the fact that things that they had to be on the campus for they can now do anywhere, anytime.”

Apps on the university’s store include Microsoft Office, Adobe software, Google Chrome, Apple iTunes and a range of academic programs. The store prevents students from installing apps on university computers that have not been approved, including Dropbox, he said.

The app store also helps the university navigate some licensing issues, Meikle said. “We can manage through the app store concurrent number of users if that’s the licensing arrangement, and we can limit the view of some applications” to a specific set of students.

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