App stores are the mobile equivalent of desktop Web browsers in many ways. They are the predominant mechanism for delivering content and functionality in the mobile world. They provide much more control than traditional browsers and the direct ability for developers and administrators to deploy, monitor, manage and monetize apps and the content that passes through them. This, along with being end user-facing, has made them the cornerstone of the outside-in view for users and developers. Within the enterprise, they will soon be the final manifestation of application management and device management capabilities for end users and IT administrators, and become as ubiquitous as the intranet.
Let’s take a look at the outside-in view and the key characteristics of app stores so we can evaluate them for the enterprise.
User and Device Identity. One of the most important characteristics of app stores that differentiate them from regular Web browsers is the fact that app stores have identifiable users with strong identities. App stores play an integral role in the mobile ecosystem of devices, developers, publishers and end users by identifying the users they provide services to, blocking usage when required and ensuring security. In an enterprise, user identity elements span not just employees, but also partners, vendors and resellers so having the right level of access and functionality for each stakeholder is critical to its success.