Ever since Apple’s App Store transformed mobile computing, industry experts have been looking at how mobile apps will transform business. Most recently, Gartner added its voice to the narrative by predicting that by 2014, there will be more than 70 billion mobile app downloads from app stores every year. Gartner also predicts that by 2014, most organizations will deliver mobile apps to workers via private application stores.
With all due respect to Gartner, these observations miss the point – it’s not just about mobile apps. Business app stores are transforming the way businesses operate in a way that extends far beyond mobile access.
Ever since Salesforce shook up traditional enterprise software business models, software-as-a-service applications have been a disruptive business technology force for businesses of every size. Thousands of SaaS applications have emerged to offer effective, affordable technology options for almost every conceivable operational business need, for everything from cash flow and finances to project management, security, customer relationship management and even human resources.
Instead of looking at million-dollar technology investments and year-long deployment delays, business owners and managers have instant access to SaaS applications that allow professionals and executives to access vital business tools wherever they are, whether from a smart phone, tablet or at their desktop workstation.
Yes, this includes mobile access, but it’s bigger than that. These apps democratize technology for employees and executives, at a cost any budget can afford. Yet this path to business technology nirvana has not yet been paved or finished. The sheer number of available SaaS apps is overwhelming with thousands of SaaS apps and vendors competing for attention in the marketplace. How can anyone determine which app is right for their business, and whether or not the SaaS app will work as promised?
Business managers need a way to search through all the SaaS apps that are available, and pick the most suitable app for their company. And before they make their choice, they need to know the app vendor does a good job of delivering on its promises.
Which is why business app stores are so important. Just like Apple polices the App Store, the best business SaaS app store will make it easy to find relevant apps, and have a process for qualifying whether they will work as promised. By embracing the power of SaaS apps, businesses of all sizes can operate more efficiently, improve their focus on customer service and enter a new age of prosperity. And as they prosper, so will our economy.