Shopping Cart for the App Marketplace

BYOD, CoIT, ESN…. Pick your poison. Internal IT and users may not (may never) be ready for a complete BYOD, but that is the topic for another post. At the end of the day internal IT has realized (is realizing) that users will want a similar experience to their personal lives within the workplace.

We can see the manifestations of this in the fact that most organizations have started extended their web based email access to mobile devices as well. There is also a new found interest in targeting enterprise applications to these devices, although I haven’t seen a great degree of success here, especially due to the fragmentation of mobile devices and internal IT still spending over 80% of their time, let alone budget in keeping the lights on.

Enterprise social networking  is moving beyond the flavor of the month to being somewhat serious, albeit not thoroughly understood from a business case perspective (This fact ensures that I am employed Smile). Besides the dedicated social players such as Jive, Yammer, KineticGlue, … every major IT vendor has a play in the market, with the latest entry being Oracle (who would’ve guessed that one). My prediction is that Gartner is going to be very very busy publishing their reports & advising customers on ESN over the next 12-18 months.

Given the fact that end users (supposedly) expect internal enterprise systems to be more usable and configurable (personalization is so old fashioned) internal IT ha started evaluating the concept of an enterprise marketplace. Some companies are already hosting their ‘applications’ on public app stores that can be installed on their employees devices in the same way that one would install Angry Birds. The approach seems to work from a device perspective, however in my opinion this is not going to be as effective when we start thinking about portlets/webparts that I want to place within my ‘portal’ page on the ‘configurable intranet’ site. This seems like too much work. I would much rather prefer the old model of the ‘Shopping Cart’ which is the preferred metaphor for the final checkout process of an acquisition of goods. This seems to work pretty well when you are downloading content e.g. music, clip art, templates, … and can be an effective mechanism for discovery and delivery of applications within the enterprise. It would also enable internal IT (and business steams) to suggest (upsell) adjacent applications and plan for a scheduled (delayed) delivery depending on network availability.

Having the single ‘Shopping Cart’ metaphor for all purchases would also enable employees to aggregate content and applications being delivered together e.g. add all the diagrams from the last engineering meet and any associated viewers that I may need.

Think about it and do let me know if you have seen this work in action anywhere. Feedback as always is welcome.

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