The current adoption rate for corporate app stores among manufacturers is less than 20 percent, although almost 80 percent of companies in the sector are developing mobile applications, and at a more rapid rate than traditional applications. Those are some of the key findings of a new report by IDC Manufacturing Insights.

The report, “Business Strategy: Looking Forward to the Corporate Application Store,” covers the rising trend of using a corporate app store to manage the proliferation of mobile applications across manufacturing organizations.

While mobile is becoming a popular form factor for new apps being developed by manufacturers, IDC Manufacturing Insights says, the rise of mobile apps poses a number of challenges for managing them in the context of the IT environment.

The question for many manufacturers is determining when it makes sense to funnel mobile app delivery through a corporate app store and how to design, develop, deploy and manage the corporate app store independently or with IT partners.

IDC says the ability to support rapid mobile application development through the use of "patterns of applications" will influence the success of the store. The firm expects manufacturers to increase their adoption of corporate app stores in the next 12 to 18 months as they accelerate the delivery and quantity of mobile applications they provide to their employees, and look for ways to more effectively and securely manage related processes.

"The rise of the corporate app store is an emerging trend in manufacturing, and we believe it will continue to become an appropriate construct for managing the proliferation of mobile apps inside the corporation,” Heather Ashton, IT Priorities and Strategies' research manager at IDC Manufacturing Insights, said in a statement. “Manufacturers need to evaluate their current mobility maturity and understand when and how a corporate app store can effectively facilitate the spread of mobile apps throughout their organization."

Other key findings of the report are that the ideal corporate app store is independent of device and application source, and meets governance and security requirements of the corporation; as part of their corporate app store strategy, manufacturers must make design, development, deployment and management decisions around the store in the context of how their key IT suppliers will support this strategy; and the decision to open a corporate app store must factor in employees' willingness to use the app store.

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