2011 has been a challenging year for IT Professionals. The Corporate Users want more of an experience than a role when it comes to their computing needs but the Corporate Masters expect tight controls on cost and security. What is an IT Guy to do?
The Consumerization of IT has meant that not only IT Departments are again expected to do more with less they are now facing challenges coming at them from literally 1000s of PUDs (Personal or Unmanaged Devices). Younger employees are more tech savvy than ever before and if they are not “allowed” to install what they need…they will find ways around the safeguards and policies to install what they think they need. Asset Management is a key component for all IT Leaders and preventing the purchase of Shelfware (like the employee who absolutely needs Photoshop to complete a product convinces their department that the asset is needed and then uses it once in the entire year – now that is a good $500 investment).
I recently came across an interesting service provided by the software development company Embarcadero that provides an Enterprise App Store to end users. This FREE service is called AppWave and both the installation and use of this browser based method of application delivery is quite impressive. Not only does the service provide direct access to 209 Out of the Box Applications it is a great way for IT Departments to manage the Licenses needed to maintain software compliance.
It includes access to applications that range from the Open Source AbiWord and OpenOffice to Adobe Products like FireWorks and Illustrator both at the CS5 level. There are also several Embarcadero Software offerings for the App Dev crowd out there.
I quickly ran through the installation of both the AppWave software and through the AppWave Browser and was quite impressed with how easy it was to have Mozilla Thunderbird running on my computer in under 15 seconds! There are some hiccups though…the application needs to be run in Admin Mode on Vista and Windows 7 to build out and use things like Adobe Acrobat X (yes the full PDF building version) and there are some problems with 64 bit OS integration but in my experience the vast majority of SMB companies out there are still running 32 bit, Windows XP systems and for them…this might just be a real win.
The Enterprise App Store built through AppWave is sleek, sexy and very much so Web 2.o and therefore very intuitive. The best part of the service is that the AppStore is fully customizable. You can add and remove default Apps, through in your own Apps, change the view etc. The real advantage to this form of delivery would be for IT departments leveraging the power and savings of a VDI Environment so that the User still has a customizable Desktop at their disposal without having multiple versions of the same Virtual Image that have to be managed.
All in all I think that Embarcadero has hit a home run with this bridge between the outright wild, wild west mentality that comes from the Consumerization of IT and the locked down structured world of the Enterprise 1.0. It is truly time to move forward and this may be “If you Build it, they will come” for the software world.
Chris J Powell