Businesses Still See A Disconnect With Apple Over App Purchasing

Businesses Still See A Disconnect With Apple Over App Purchasing

Many businesses still feel that the App Store doesn’t truly address their needs

As more and more companies move forward with BYOD programs and/or mobile strategies centered around streamlining workflows for mobile professionals, the idea of the enterprise app store has gone from being a nice add-on feature to being seen as necessity for businesses, schools, and government agencies.

Developing a strategy around mobile apps is seen as a core need by a solid majority of companies – 66% of organization are considering or implementing internal app stores according to a Sourcebits survey of over 6,000 enterprises. That doesn’t mean that actually pursuing an enterprise app store strategy is an easy prospect.

Despite some advances in volume purchasing by Apple, many companies feel that mobile app options are still sub-par for their needs, particularly when it comes to the purchasing process and volume licensing.

According to a survey by Parternpedia, which specializes in app marketplace strategies, many businesses considering an internal app store are doing so because options like the iOS App Store and Google Play don’t meet their needs. Nearly two-thirds (57.5%) say that discovering truly useful business apps is too difficult and nearly half (43.4%) say that volume licensing and issues around who really owns apps creates problems or conflicts.

The licensing issue is a significant one. Even though Apple offers a volume purchase plan for iOS apps, the program functions more like gifting apps to employees rather than true volume or site licensing. In the vast majority of situations, redeeming VPP codes associates the app with an employee’s Apple ID (Apple Configurator can reclaim VPP licenses but the process isn’t automatic).

The issues around licensing break down into two different demographics with distinctly different attitudes: large organizations (500+ employees) and smaller businesses (less than 500 staff members).

Large organizations overwhelming want to manage the app decision-making and purchase processes – 90.2% preferred or needed to use a traditional software procurement process. Smaller organizations were far more likely to endorse or accept other methods – just 45.8% felt a traditional process must to be used.

Ultimate control of the license (and thus the app) was also seen as more important in larger companies – more than half (56%) said owning app licenses was a requirement compared to about one-third (36%) of smaller businesses.

In addition to identifying a pervasive disconnect between business leaders and Apple over enterprise apps, there are several interesting findings among Partnerpedia’s report.

  • The survey found that corporate app purchases reflect iOS as a dominant business platform – 69.9% of companies have made purchases from Apple’s iOS App Store. That was roughly double the number that made purchases from Google Play (39.8%).
  • Roughly half the companies surveyed plan to build an internal app store that combines public and in-house apps. About two-thirds (63.7%) of those looking to create internal apps will outsource the effort.
  • About one-third (35.4%) of companies plan to create apps that also serve outside partners and contractors.
  • The top three uses for internal apps are operations(48.7%), customer service (46.9%), and sales automation at (44.2%).
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About the author

Ryan FaasRyan Faas is a technology journalist and consultant living in upstate New York who has written extensively about Apple, business and enterprise IT, and the mobile industry. In addition to writing for Cult of Mac, he is a contributor to Computerworld, InformIT, and Peachpit Press. In a previous existence he was a healthcare IT director as well as a systems and network administrator. Follow Ryan on Twitter and Google +

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