Looking for an enterprise app store to call your own? Check out the Salesforce Private AppExchange, which promises to drive productivity by giving every employee fast access to the apps they need on any device.
The Private AppExchange is essentially a one-stop shop for every app in your enterprise. Or, put another way, it's your own customized corporate app store where you can manage and distribute all your custom, mobile, Web and desktop apps.
"Employees today have an expectation that they can deploy apps for work as easily as they do in their personal lives," said Mike Rosenbaum, executive vice president of Salesforce Platform at Salesforce.com. "Yet CIOs must balance that expectation with business requirements around access and control."
Cutting Through the Weeds
Here's Salesforce's pitch: Apps are critical to driving employee productivity, but CIOs are still faced with the challenge of getting the right apps into the hands of end users across the enterprise. In the consumer world, getting apps is a no-brainer: go to an app store from a phone or laptop, tap the "install" button and, in a matter of seconds, the app is on the device and available to use.
In the enterprise world, before an employee can even install an app he must first check if the app is supported, then log a ticket with IT, wait for access and, on top of that, remember multiple passwords to access his apps. Today, companies recognize they need a single place to instantly distribute any app to employees, across any device, providing them with access to the apps needed to supercharge productivity.
According to a Forrester Research report entitled, "Build A Corporate App Store into Your Corporate Mobility Strategy," corporate app stores enable IT teams to change how they support and deliver apps.
"With app stores, Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) teams can give end users a self-service option and an intuitive interface to access corporate-approved mobile applications," the report reads. "Security and Risk (S&R) pros are happier because they're gaining some ability to control mobile apps and manage access policies. Employees can also use the app store as a portal for accessing all the tools that they need to do their jobs."
Onboarding Made Easy
Here's a practical example of the Private AppExchange in action: Even before a sales rep starts her new job, IT can ensure that every app needed to close more deals -- from capturing customer notes on the go with Evernote, to logging travel in her company's custom travel management app, to signing documents electronically with DocuSign -- are instantly accessible to her on any device, through a single identity. Now, a personalized app experience awaits when she signs in for the first time, and instead of logging tickets, she can start logging sales calls right away. And because IT spends less time managing app requests, they can spend more time on innovation.
We turned to Brad Shimmin, a principal analyst at Current Analysis, to get his take on the new offering. He told us this is one of the larger-scale app exchanges on the market and he's surprised it's taken Salesforce so long to roll it out.
"One of the major issues that any enterprise has in tackling mobility in particular is controlling the applications themselves -- the provisioning, management and security," Shimmin said. "By establishing a private exchange, Salesforce can give enterprise customers -- and I would imagine some channel partners -- the ability to create these closed ecosystems that are secured, manageable and more readily deployable and provisional for users."
Salesforce Private AppExchange will be available with support for Web and mobile apps beginning Friday. The company expects support for desktop apps to be available in 2014. It will be available with Enterprise, Performance and Unlimited licenses for Salesforce Sales Cloud, Salesforce Service Cloud, Salesforce Identity, Salesforce Company Communities, Force.com and Salesforce Chatter Plus.