There are so many app stores out there, it can be tough to keep track. Though Apple was the first with the concept and tried to trademark the term "app store," they have proliferated in recent years. Samsung in August introduced an app store filled with applications for its Galaxy devices, giving device owners an alternative to the Google Play store.
Such stores are oriented more toward consumers than enterprises, however. For businesses, they lack key benefits such as the ability to deliver apps directly to users and to offer centralized support across multiple mobile platforms.
Not surprisingly, then, Gartner predicts 25 percent of enterprises will have their own enterprise app stores by 2017. A large list of vendors, from Appian to WSO2, offer solutions that help companies build app stores.
Salesforce today joined their ranks, with the introduction of its AppExchange Store Builder, which it says enables companies to quickly create fully customizable app marketplaces that can be used to distribute mobile, Web and desktop applications to employees, partners and customers. The tool supports apps created on the Android, iOS and Windows platforms.
AppExchange Store Builder's notable features include:
- Customized branding for app storefronts, so end-users enjoy a consistent brand experience
- Built-in dashboards that provide transparency into activity and downloads
- E-commerce capabilities that allow companies to integrate payment processing solutions available on the AppExchange, such as Chargent, Linvio and Zuora, into their applications
The USDA, a Salesforce customer, is using AppExchange Store Builder to promote the reuse of existing applications that have demonstrated business success and to ensure that new apps are built in a way that facilitates reuse.
"We're working to quickly create a fully customized and transparent app inventory for our key stakeholders," said Todd Schroeder, business systems management director, USDA, in a statement. "With AppExchange Store Builder, we will bring stakeholders and apps together in a self-service business solutions marketplace that allows the USDA to more broadly share success."
Earlier this year Enterprise Apps Today published eight keys to enterprise app store success, with expert advice on how to successfully launch an enterprise app store.