For years, software deployment was defined as the process by which IT centrally managed pushing software out to desktops throughout the enterprise, using tools such as Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) to actually manage the process. Preceding this step was an Application Readiness process that would assess compatibility, fix and repackage applications, and prepare them for a reliable, consistent deployment that conformed to IT standards.
But software deployment requirements are evolving. The Web, smartphones, iPads® and other innovations have changed the way people interact with technology. Consumers can download a tune, a book or a game to a personal device with a few clicks of a mouse. They want the same convenience, ease and speed when it comes to submitting software requests at work. They're tired of filling out paperwork and waiting days, or maybe weeks, for IT to deliver the applications they need to be productive.
Leading IT departments are meeting this demand head on via enterprise app stores. These app stores enable IT to meet this consumerization trend by enabling self-service application requests, but still maintaining control and automating the approval and inventory process to ensure applications are tracked once deployed.
An enterprise app store can:
- Cut application delivery time from days to hours—even minutes for applications that don't require approvals.
- Simplify shopping by displaying a single catalog item for each application instead of showing multiple format versions such as MSI, App-V or mobile app.
- Automate approval/fulfillment, eliminating hours of staff time that was formerly spent manually responding to one-off requests.
- Utilize a user-centric deployment model to intelligently deploy applications to the proper device based on type and configuration.
- Determine which applications a user is entitled to access based on Group, Organizational Unit and other attributes defined in Active Directory.
- Specify the type of approvals required for each application based on factors such as application cost and user role.
- Deliver immediate notifications when the supply of unused licenses for an application needs to be replenished.
- Report on software requests, approvals, installations and purchases to measure success and make sound decisions regarding software licensing and usage across the enterprise.
Software deployment needs are evolving rapidly as user expectations increasingly align with consumer experiences. IT departments are confronted with the challenge of addressing this growing need while continuing to meet requirements around security, accountability, tracking and asset management. An enterprise app store is the answer—allowing IT to evolve software deployment to enable self-service application requests while still managing the necessary back-office business processes.