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The increasing role of the Enterprise App Store


When the first cars were built, all parts were custom made. Even when Henry Ford created the first production-line car, he still used custom parts - if Ford needed a carburetor, they designed and built one.


The same was true of the first computers. IBM used to design its own memory systems, for example. 


Things are now very different. Cars contain standardized components, and so do computers. Designers look through a catalog and choose the components that they believe will best suit their needs. I believe this move toward standardized components will define the next few years in IT, with the IT department of the future building business solutions mainly out of standard components.


Moving from a bespoke manufacturer to the Enterprise App Store

Just like with cars and computers, the IT department of the past would ask the business what it wanted and would then build to specification.


But many IT departments are now moving to an app store-based approach to sourcing solutions. This cuts costs, improves time to gratification for the business, and reduces the risk that IT poses to the business.


I believe that by 2020, the bespoke approach to IT will be much rarer. It will be reserved for very, very special applications and portions of business processes that create differentiation. The general rule will be that when the business is looking for a solution, it will work with IT to build the solution with the applications, platforms and cloud services that IT has in its catalog.


ent app store blog.001.png


What is in the Enterprise App Store?

Today the Apple App Store and Google Play store only contain applications. But the Enterprise app store of 2020 will also contain platforms, pre-built integrations and cloud services.



The platforms can be used to create applications should no application exist. For example, HP uses the Jive platform, and from it, HP IT has created an internal collaboration system that HP now uses extensively. The Jive platform is in the "HP Enterprise App Store".


platform blog picture.001.png


Cloud services and the Enterprise App Store

How do cloud services fit into all this? I believe that by 2020, enterprises will routinely create business processes by using business process tools that glue together internally provided and external cloud-provided services.


The cloud services used for such business processes will come from the Enterprise App Store. I believe that it's extremely important that IT is the one who creates these cloud entries in the catalog, because many publicly available cloud services will not be suitable for Enterprise use (financial insecurity of supplier, security issues, performance issues).


Pre-built Integrations

I worked for many years in the business process management space, and modelling and controlling business processes was always the easy part. The hard part was integrating the data across the business process. 


As we use more third party cloud components in our business processes, we will also need integrations to go along side. These integrations may be code that runs in the data centre, or they may be a cloud service which we pass data and get data back. The cloud service approach is probably the easiest to use, but it requires that we have the bandwidth and security in place sufficient to the needs of the business process. 


If an Enterprise uses one particular platform a lot, then the Enterprise App Store needs to contain lots of integrations to that platform. 


Supplier management and the Enterprise App Store

And how does a cloud entry, an application entry and a platform entry get onto the catalog? Through a workflow - the same workflow for each decision, providing all the decision makers with all the data they need to manage risk. This is known as supplier selection, and it's something for which Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) systems have been used for many years. The app, platform, and especially, cloud spin is new, but the idea of making workflow-controlled supplier decisions is certainly not.


Enterprise IT has to strike a balance in deciding what does and doesn't make it into the Enterprise App Store. If they are very strict, resulting in a few sparsely populated store, then the business will bypass IT. What criteria should IT thus apply when choosing content for the Enterprise App Store? The key requirement is to ensure the safety and consistency of the Enterprise's data. There must be just one copy of each data item. For example, we must ensure we don't get 10 versions of user data. And we must ensure that the privacy of the data is maintained pursuant to the relevant compliance rules. 


Custom Code will become rarer

A corollary of the rise of the Enterprise App Store is that purely custom code will become increasingly rare. If the required application is not in the store, then a platform from the store may be used, or a business process can be created using cloud services from the store. Should none of these options fit the business need, then lots of money and a very, very good business argument will be needed for bespoke coding to take place.


Going back to our car production line, the components that build the car are from a catalog, and the machines used to create the production line are from a catalog too. Bespoke components can be created, as can bespoke manufacturing machines, but they must be shown to provide very high competitive advantage or a huge reduction in cost before they will be built.


Disagree? Have more points to make? Want to violently agree?

HP is reaching out to readers to ask them what they think IT will look like in the year 2020. We have broken the world of 2020 into a series of chapters. We then publish our initial thoughts for each chapter and  then open it up for contributions - disagreements, additional points, and supporting comments. We will continue to revise each chapter's content with these contributions. Thus, we will end up with a series of crowd sourced chapters, providing a vision for 2020.


We have just published our initial thoughts for the CIO 20/20 chapter and the Dev Center 20/20 chapter. Please feel free to add your thoughts to these chapters and our introductory chapter, here.


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 Author : Mike Shaw

Mike Shaw
Director Strategic Marketing

linkedin.gifMike Shaw

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About the Author


Mike has been with HPE for 30 years. Half of that time was in research and development, mainly as an architect. The other 15 years has been spent in product management, product marketing, and now, strategic marketing. .

Lewis Marshall

Maybe, IT as a Service (aka Enterprise App stores) could provide a landslide shift sooner?


Community led efforts to collaborate across organizational boundaries may accelerate through recent DevOps methods and platform advances (OpenStack). See my post on the subject here:


On this general theme, I mentioned an enterprise app store back in 2009


It hasn't happened yet but maybe soon?

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