Web and mobile app development company Partnerpedia recently released its enterprise app store product to GA. Enterprise AppZone, as it's called, is a mixture of several different features:
- a curated store for Partnerpedia to resell pre-vetted business-related Android apps
- Mobile app management for iOS and Android apps
- an app-store mobile app that supports HTML5 apps, in-house apps, publicly available apps (like from Apple or Google Play), and apps from
Partnerpedia isn’t a startup—they’ve been building web apps for 15 years now— and Enterprise AppZone has been available as a white label product for three years already. Let’s take a look at each of these components individually.
Curated app store
Enterprise AppZone is a curated marketplace for reselling Android apps that have been vetted by Partnerpedia. The vetting process includes filtering out malware, checking for viruses, and making sure that only legitimate apps make the cut; the other idea behind this is that Partnerpedia can offer real enterprise-appropriate levels of service, like volume discounts, the ability to pay with purchase orders, and real license management. (For comparison, Apple’s Volume Purchase Program consists of Apple sending companies a spreadsheet of redemption codes. A lot of app store solutions, including Partnerpedia’s, include provisions for tracking these automatically, though.)
The benefit here is that even though apps have to go through a review process to get into the big public app stores, the review processes generally don't account for apps having actual business value, or having security that would be acceptable to consumers but not to business users.
Enterprise AppZone’s MAM capabilities are apparently still a work in progress: for Android apps, Enterprise AppZone offers authorization code that can be incorporated apps, but this means it only works for in-house or bespoke apps. For iOS, the apps are managed through MDM configuration profiles. The Enterprise AppZone is taking advantage of the fact that when a MDM profile is on the device, administrators can install or uninstall any app. These two solutions don’t compare very favorably to many of the other MAM products out there, but Partnerpedia says that they’re working on app-wrapping technology.
All of the features of the Enterprise AppZone get collected in a native mobile app (for iOS or Android). Using the app store, IT can distribute in-house apps, link to apps in public app stores (like the Apple App Store), distribute Partnerpedia-curated apps, and do some basic document distribution as well (think just download links, not a full-fledged mobile syncing app). It can all be plugged into Active Directory or LDAP in order to define permissions and policies.
Putting it all together
What does all of this add up to? Again, for right now you get an enterprise app store app, you (sort of) get app management, and they have their curated app store. Just about every MDM and MAM company out there has a "build your own corporate app store" component, so that part of Enterprise AppZone is nothing too revolutionary. When it comes to managing the actual apps, there’s been a lot of excitement about app wrapping recently, so the sooner that Partnerpedia can add use it to replace their current solution, the better. However, if we have to wait a while before they build it, that’s probably okay for them, since they’ve been around for a while and their business is primarily building actual apps—they’re not a startup hinging on the success of their app management solution.
What about the role of the curated app store? Real licensing and purchasing capabilities are good to have, but there will always be the drawback that it only works for half of your users. Still, there’s a lot demand for someplace businesses can to go for apps that they can trust to not be junk. Even if it only serves half of the market, some sort of curated collection could be welcome.
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