Apps are one of the technology industry's greatest success stories. Apps have not only fueled the boom in smartphone and tablet devices, but they have also changed the way that millions of people around the globe communicate and have fun. Now, apps are also prompting tremendous change in the workplace.
Driven by demand for user-friendly technology, millions of employees bring their own app-filled devices to the office. However, device-based apps, like those developed for smartphones and tablets, are only one part of the IT consumerization trend that is sweeping across the business landscape. The number of cloud-based applications is also on the rise, and the need to manage them securely and effectively promises to bring even greater change to the workplace in 2013.
Buy why cloud apps, and why now? Cloud-based applications-also known as Software-as-a-Service or SaaS apps-are more popular than ever before; in fact, recent Gartner research shows that up to 65% of businesses use cloud services from a third-party provider. More cloud services can mean greater flexibility and lower costs, but IT departments are also discovering that multiple cloud-based applications often bring greater complexity. Controlling application sprawl is a growing concern, and a significant challenge, for IT managers.
Fortunately, new models and technologies that address these issues are already emerging. Cloud services brokerage (CSB)-where providers aggregate, integrate, and enable access to cloud-based solutions-is one of the fastest growing segments of cloud computing. Over the next two years, Gartner predicts 30% of mid-to-large size companies will broker cloud applications for their employees. Given that, you can expect more IT departments to act as internal CSBs for their companies in 2013.
Since many companies don't have the internal IT bandwidth or expertise to develop CSB technology, third-party cloud service marketplaces will also become increasingly widespread. Provided "as a service," these marketplaces allow businesses to quickly launch an internal "storefront" for cloud applications and, depending on functionality, give IT departments the ability to easily manage solutions across the company.
This may seem like a simple shift in software delivery, but it actually marks a sea change for technology in the workplace. Application marketplaces give employees the freedom to select and self-provision IT-approved apps with a user-friendly technology-that is, an application store-that most people have already used while downloading apps to their smartphones. Not only that, but application marketplaces can also lower the IT management burden, allowing staff to focus on mission-critical projects instead of provisioning requests and other administrative tasks.
The typewriter, the computer, the Internet-all of these technologies transformed the workplace by accelerating business processes. Over the next few years, more companies will add applications and cloud service marketplaces to that ever-growing list of innovations, a development that is poised to make the workplace a better, more productive place in 2013, and in the years to come.
by Daniel Saks, co-CEO of AppDirect
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