Jose Carlos Linares is the president and CEO of Open Technology Group.
The need for enterprise application stores within the federal government is growing as the demand for constant connectivity by citizens and employees continues to increase. According to a report forecasting future global mobile data traffic, the number of mobile-connected devices already exceeds the number of people on Earth. By 2019, the study projects 11.5 billion mobile-connected devices and a world population of 7.6 billion – or about 1.5 mobile devices per capita.
To meet their missions in this increasingly connected world, government agencies must provide citizens, partners and employees with critical information on demand via a variety of devices and across multiple platforms. Enterprise app stores can help the government do this in a secure, efficient and cost-effective manner.
Does your agency have an enterprise app store? If not, then consider these six benefits to adoption:
1. Provides Greater Security Control
If an organization does not offer the right apps, employees usually turn to consumer app stores for solutions. However, apps downloaded from consumer-facing stores can introduce malware, spyware and other security concerns, potentially causing disruption to agency networks. With an enterprise app store, agencies can exercise tighter control over network security by verifying apps meet policy, security and procurement requirements prior to endorsing them in the store. Employees can download apps from the enterprise store with confidence knowing they have already been audited for potential security issues.
2. Gives Employees the Tools They Need for their Job
Employees are most effective when they have the tools and resources they need. Agencies can provide a one-stop shop for all of the most current agency-specific data and applications through an enterprise app store. By customizing each employee’s access to the app store based on department, job function, device and platform operating system, agencies can make it simple for employees to quickly find exactly what they need, which increases employee satisfaction and helps drive productivity.
3. Allows Insight into User Habits, Needs and Wants
An agency can monitor employee habits and app use to evaluate the effectiveness of apps in the enterprise store. In addition, app stores allow employees to rate applications, provide reviews and even suggest additional apps for consideration. This employee insight can prove very valuable for agencies, as it saves time and money by reducing the amount of research required to identify new useful apps for inclusion. Apps that are not well liked can be removed, and apps that employees request can be added to the store after successful verification and testing. When end users have a say, they are more likely to choose agency-approved apps rather than download them from consumer stores.
4. Creates Operational Efficiencies
The federal government strives to save money while serving its citizens in an efficient and timely manner, and enterprise app stores can help. Agencies can procure software licenses once and then serve many users. IT departments can then create a robust store front that empowers employees to serve themselves through a single, user-friendly interface without the need for assistance from IT staff. App stores also allow IT staff to push out automatic software updates and seamlessly retire old apps. Enterprisewide app stores can save the government time and money while enabling a more productive workforce.
5. Expands the Government’s Mobile Strategy
The Obama administration’s “Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People” states that agencies need to enable the “American people and an increasingly mobile workforce to access high-quality digital government information and services anywhere, anytime, on any device.” In addition to creating mobile apps that provide more citizen engagement, the government must also support federal employees who use laptops and other mobile devices to perform their job duties. Enterprise app stores provide a secure way for employees to access the device-agnostic applications they need at any time and from any location while protecting agency networks.
6. Control Costs
Agencies generally have many end users who need the same software. Rather than having multiple users purchase licenses for the same product, consolidating applications into one enterprisewide app store enables IT departments to control expenditures by purchasing software licenses at discounted bulk rates. Because app usage can be easily tracked, each cost center can be accurately billed.
As the use of mobile devices continues to increase, enterprise app store adoption will become more common. They offer the government a win-win-win situation for agencies that need more control over security, employees who need to be more productive and citizens who demand easier access to services. With a variety of options available to support multiple devices across many platforms, agencies can implement enterprise app stores that will create operational efficiencies, increase employee productivity, provide better citizen service, and ultimately impact your agency’s bottom line.
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