An app marketplace allows developers anywhere to have direct access to all users of a specific platform, which in turn causes an exponential increase in the number of innovations available to enterprises. In the past we had platforms like application servers, which had an ecosystem of available applications. But a marketplace goes a generation beyond this.
Purchasing from a marketplace will drive companies to decide on a set of strategic marketplaces. Enterprises will define a set of strategic platforms available as Software as a Service, on a public cloud, within a colocation facility, or within an internal infrastructure. Each will have an associated marketplace. These marketplaces will need to support these various deployment options (e.g., the company will need to ensure that if the HR department purchases a payroll application, they can easily select to deploy that application to the portal platform installed into their public cloud).
Corporations will increasingly look to develop corporate accounts with their strategic marketplace providers. These corporate accounts will allow the company to centrally track purchases from multiple marketplaces by multiple internal departments.This will also allow the company to ensure compliance and long-term ownership. However, complex governance polices implemented to manage these central contracts will reduce the innovations by the business units and will reduce the company’s overall competitiveness. In order to facilitate this balance, a company may decide to pre-purchase a select set of applications and make them available to business units through an internal marketplace. Business units would then select the apps they wish to deploy from this marketplace while the central group tracks usage and expenses.
All strategic platforms will need to support marketplaces, and both consumers and developers will need to decide which platforms benefit them the most. Their choices will often be based on one important aspect: marketplace momentum. Those marketplaces with the greatest number of innovations and the largest number of customers will be the ones that will be chosen.
There’s one last consumer benefit to mention, which marketplaces will facilitate, and that’s the change in enterprise software prices. Mobile marketplaces have already drastically reduced the prices of software (e.g., the average cost for desktop software was $50 or more, while the average cost for mobile software is now $1-$5). Much of this is due to competition, but it can also be attributed to the greatly expanded potential of sales (e.g., would you rather have 100 $10,000 sales or 1 million $5 sales?).
The vast increase in innovations and the drastically reduced price for software will have a profound impact on the software industry. The platforms of the future will be those who recognize this today.