One complaint enterprise IT departments consistently raise regarding Mac software deployment is the inherent dependency upon Apple's app store. Technology departments understandably have reservations about surrendering software selection, purchasing, distribution, and updates to Apple. Soon Microsoft will enter the fray, too, when its Windows 8 OS introduces Microsoft's own software purchasing and distribution engine.
MuirwWebs aims to wrest control
MuirWebs seeks to provide enterprise environments with the ability to build their own on-demand app stores. Certainly, the company presents an intriguing proposition: use its functionality to implement a private app store.
The benefits are numerous. Companies can specify application selection, improve compliance, lower costs, and more.
Leveraging a private application store, enterprise organizations can design custom app stores that dictate which programs users may access. Firms can eliminate apps they don't wish for users to see or access, while selecting and including only those programs intended for organizational use.
Instead of depending upon written guidelines to govern user behavior, organizations can dictate which applications are loaded and by which users. Such policy enforcement wrests control from third-party app store providers and returns software management tasks to the organization.
Flexible app store models
MuirWebs' technology supports third-party app submission. The organization can dedicate specific staff to approving and provisioning new applications. The store supports apps for desktop, mobile and cloud use, provides advanced management and reporting tools, and a variety of commerce models including direct ecommerce. MuirWebs' functionality also includes integration with social media networks to help alert users to important new software programs.
Will it work for your organization?
Obviously, deciding to deploy a private application store is a decision larger organizations must make after careful consideration. Firms must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of developing their own software selection and distribution network versus simply outsourcing the responsibility to another entity.
Bringing app management in-house, on some level, seems to run counter to industry trends in which firms increasingly appear to be offloading application purchasing, distribution, and management tasks to Apple (or Microsoft, again, with its impending Windows 8 OS that will include its own app store). Yet, some enterprise organizations may well find the additional control, policy enforcement, and cost management benefits that come with maintaining a private app store justifies the costs of building and managing one of their own.
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.