By John Enright, General Manager of Web and Application Services at Hostway Services, Inc.
In the current business environment, applications are everything. Employees use a slew of apps — from those involving resource and customer relationship management to those for the financial and human resources departments — in order to complete their mission-critical tasks. However, when it comes to these important applications, many companies run into their fair share of problems.
Let’s take a look at two of the top issues enterprises experience with their applications, and how administrators and managers can address these obstacles:
Problem: The need for flexible access.
One of the first issues organizations run into with their applications — specifically those hosted and supported from the company’s premises — is their employees’ requirement of access to these programs from offsite. Today’s workforce is increasingly mobile, whether traveling or working from home. These employees must be able to use their mission-critical applications.
Solution: Managed application hosting.
This issue has become so prevalent that there is an industry of providers ready to host your mission-critical applications on their own infrastructures. This allows for anytime, anywhere access to these important programs. This type of configuration also frees up the internal IT team to work on other essential projects, as the managed hosting provider updates and maintains the hardware and applications from their side.
Experts predict continued growth for this market as more organizations deploy enterprise applications. According to a December 2014 report from TechNavio, the global managed hosting services industry will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 12.63 percent over the next four years.
Problem: Shadow IT.
Another issue faced by today’s enterprises is so-called Shadow IT, where developers or employees utilize systems not expressly approved by administrators. Jim Franklin, TechCrunch contributor and SendGrid CEO, noted that long, drawn-out procurement processes can add to the issue of Shadow IT, especially where developers are concerned.
“Developers that are accustomed to working in fast-moving environments with scalable, easy-to-implement products that have long since been impeded by outdated procurement processes for new vendors, which slow down prototyping and time-to-market,” Franklin wrote. “Frustrated by procurement, developers in corporate IT build and use solutions inside organizations without explicit organizational approval.”
This can lead to a whole host of other problems, including security.
Solution: Market responds with enterprise app stores.
Franklin noted that the technology industry has responded to enterprise’s call for a Shadow IT solution by establishing enterprise app marketplaces. These are similar to Apple’s App Store or the Google Play store, but are specifically for business users. Currently, big names like IBM and Red Hat have each released app marketplaces.
“The growth of these enterprise app marketplaces represents the tech industry’s response to developers’ intent on riding the wave of the developerization of IT, deploying SaaS and cloud tools with the convenience they have come to expect from consumer app stores,” Franklin wrote.
Overall, enterprise applications play a vital role in the business community. Although access challenges and issues involving Shadow IT do exist, managed hosting and the use of enterprise application marketplaces can help administrators mitigate these problems and ensure the success of their enterprise application initiatives.
John Enright joined Hostway in late 2014 to head up the Web and Application Services business division, bringing more than 20 years of hosting industry leadership experience to the role. A visionary in the hosting space, Enright founded one of the first North American hosting companies, ValueWeb, in 1994, increasing revenue to more than $20 million before the company merged with Affinity Internet.