The app store vs. the service catalogue

Businesses are generally confused and lack understanding when it comes to cloud technologies. Often blinded by the projected cost savings, businesses are failing to take advantage of the full scale of cloud services available to them – all too often implementing those that are basic in management and low in cost.

Younger generations discover IT through their smartphones and expect the same level of efficiency in the workplace. Mobile devices have now become so firmly embedded in our lives – the number of mobile phones is expected to exceed the world population this year – that peoples’ behavioral patterns have dramatically altered.

The core of mobile consumption is the app store, arguably one of the most effective and innovative retail business models since the introduction of the traditional supermarket. As a result, Gartner estimates that 25% of enterprises will have implemented an app store of some kind by 2017, a direct impact of what has been dubbed the ‘consumerisation of IT’.

But while the app store is a great consumer solution, it simply doesn’t cut it for enabling long-term employee management, business growth and efficiency. Cloud is a people-led solution and businesses will only reap its rewards if they truly have the knowledge and understanding of the most effective solutions available, across market verticals.

The objective behind introducing any cloud service should be to change and adapt processes to create an entirely new business model that influences internal behavioral patterns.

Whilst an app store is certainly a step in the right direction and helps cope with the influx of BYOD, it only provides content and is too basic to help companies achieve long-term business objectives and growth projections.

The smarter business choice is a service catalogue, which provides organisations with a clear picture of the services in use, whilst delivering and managing performance, quality and the overall efficiency of these services.

>See also: App, app and away: building an enterprise app store

Simply put, an IT service catalogue is a list of available technology resources within an organisation, containing information about price, contact points and business outputs.

Despite its seemingly simple format, a service catalogue allows the deployment of new business models internally, therefore changing and adapting behaviour to new technologies, long term.

The app store is the consumerisation of IT, but the service catalogue is a more advanced, more intelligent successor that offers control and governance of consumerisation.

While app stores simply enable the consumption of products, the service catalogue is all about processing, combining focuses on people, process and practices. It enables organisations to apply or change business models simplistically across their whole customer base without having someone on their IT team to provision it.

Through the service catalogue businesses can provision new services, such as BYOD, quickly and effectively, with users only consuming what they actually need, when they need it – thus enhancing overall staff productivity and efficiency.

Businesses can now reuse licenses, prevent backdoor access, manage mobile access and prevent people having access to corporate assets when they move on from the business all at the click of a button.

The service catalogue has the potential to save businesses thousands, if not millions, annually in their IT expenditure, which begs the question why it is not being widely embraced by organisations.

The answer is that it is simply down to a lack of knowledge. Businesses, and even IT departments themselves, are all too often blissfully unaware of the difference between an app store and a service catalogue.

Whilst an app store is one quarter of the solution, a service catalogue offers the additional 75% in benefits, from social media to content deployment available across an entire customer base.

Companies that are buying into the service catalogues approach are now at the forefront of the economic revival, reaping the multiple benefits of cloud technologies.

The moment organisations begin buying and deploying service catalogues they will perform better financially and drive the economic upturn through intelligent, reactive business growth.


Sourced from Mark Keepax, senior VP UK&I, ASG Software Solutions

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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