SaaS model will appeal to organizations that don’t want to oversee on-prem software, says company

With mobility forcing organizations to shape a coherent strategy for staff demanding anywhere, anytime access to corporate data, IT managers have to face a problem: Controlling the apps employees are allowed to use.

One answer is a corporately-run app store or catalogue, where employees are allowed to download approved applications, videos and documents.

A number of mobile device management vendors offer private on-premise or cloud-based app stores as part of their application management capabilities

Hewlett-Packard Co. has joined them. The company today announced the HP Access Catalogue, a software-as-service offering that will be open for business next month.

To start it will support Android and Apple iOS platforms because combined they comprise over 90 per cent of the mobile devices on the market.

Subscribing organizations are able to upload the content they want, and even to allow approved developers and content creators to upload. Administrative controls allow designated persons to approve who has access to the catalogue and what they can download.

What HP doesn’t offer is broad app security like scanning all content in the catalogue for malware. However, Tim Rochte, director of product marketing for HP Web Services did say in an interview that HP will do scanning for some mobile platforms – which he refused to identify.

Otherwise, he said, content security is largely the responsibility of subscribers: They control the content.

“Anybody you allow to post you’d better make sure they are trustworthy,” Rochte said.

HP’s main selling point is that App Catalogue is a cloud service so customers don’t have to consume time and resources looking after on-prem software.

Apps and documents, of course, can be developed by the enterprise. But they can also be loaded with agreement from commercial developers whose apps are in Google Play or the Apple App store, with the enterprise paying for a number of licences. For approved free apps the enterprise might stock them, or put a link to the developers Web sites.

It’s a good way to provision new hires, Rochte said: Put a card with a QR code in their welcome packets, the staffer photographs the code with a smart phone, the catalogue app loads and the staff logs in with their corporate identity.

“This is a mechanism that gives (organizations) the front door to mobile enablement,” he said.

Pricing starts at $50 a year per user, with volume discounts.

The catalogue will be sold direct and through HP [NYSE: HPQ] partners.

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