Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Life by Sam Huleatt

Where’s the Enterprise App Store?

Update: Not to toot my own horn, but four months later and here it is GetApp.com

app_store

First, congratulations to @pistachio on the launch of OneForty! It’s awesome to see such great initial uptake and press; rumors of a Twitter buyout certainly don’t hurt either :)

My question: where is the enterprise app store?

While I know the social business and enterprise 2.0 space as well as anyone, I still find myself frequently “googlingâ€� to find solutions and reviews: should I use MailChimp or Constant Contact? Yammer or SocialCast? SurveyMonkey or Survey.io? What’s better to use as an extranet: Drop.io or Box.net?

App stores are brilliant because once they gain traction, they control information and user flow. Salesforce has had breakout success with its Force.com platform because it controls audience – anyone building a sales tool knows they need to work with Salesforce to be successful. Monetizing an apps store platform is pretty straightforward (read what OneForty is doing here) and in the enterprise space this can easily translate to big dollars.

As businesses of all kinds increasingly embrace social business and social business design, the ability to quickly find and evaluate solutions will be critical. Whoever controls the “routing board� to the social business ecosystem is going to kill.

Update: I understand that what I am talking about above (and Oneforty.com) are not true app stores; it’s more metaphor. The technicalities of an app store versus a directory is not the point.

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  • http://startupnorth.ca Jevon

    I think there is a disconnect here.

    What has made App Stores successful is that they do control the transactional part of the relationship, so they can get the kind of margins you need to make them viable. Force.com generates subscription revenue, takes a cut of app sales, and ties customers deeper in to their own platform with each app install (resulting in higher long-term lock in).

    If you don't have those advantages, you are not an “app store” as people are discussing them, you are a directory.

    Oneforty is not an app store, it is a directory of Twitter apps. It is simply positioning itself as an app store. Oneforty cannot offer developers the value-add they need, nor can they offer end-users the unified and integrated experience that they love in real app stores. It is a tough spot to be in.

    Building a directory of twitter apps is a much different proposition than Salesforce building force.com and I am surprised people are confusing the two so easily.

  • http://startupnorth.ca Jevon

    I think there is a disconnect here.

    What has made App Stores successful is that they do control the transactional part of the relationship, so they can get the kind of margins you need to make them viable. Force.com generates subscription revenue, takes a cut of app sales, and ties customers deeper in to their own platform with each app install (resulting in higher long-term lock in).

    If you don't have those advantages, you are not an “app store” as people are discussing them, you are a directory.

    Oneforty is not an app store, it is a directory of Twitter apps. It is simply positioning itself as an app store. Oneforty cannot offer developers the value-add they need, nor can they offer end-users the unified and integrated experience that they love in real app stores. It is a tough spot to be in.

    Building a directory of twitter apps is a much different proposition than Salesforce building force.com and I am surprised people are confusing the two so easily.

  • http://startupnorth.ca Jevon

    I think there is a disconnect here.

    What has made App Stores successful is that they do control the transactional part of the relationship, so they can get the kind of margins you need to make them viable. Force.com generates subscription revenue, takes a cut of app sales, and ties customers deeper in to their own platform with each app install (resulting in higher long-term lock in).

    If you don't have those advantages, you are not an “app store” as people are discussing them, you are a directory.

    Oneforty is not an app store, it is a directory of Twitter apps. It is simply positioning itself as an app store. Oneforty cannot offer developers the value-add they need, nor can they offer end-users the unified and integrated experience that they love in real app stores. It is a tough spot to be in.

    Building a directory of twitter apps is a much different proposition than Salesforce building force.com and I am surprised people are confusing the two so easily.

  • http://startupnorth.ca Jevon

    I think there is a disconnect here.

    What has made App Stores successful is that they do control the transactional part of the relationship, so they can get the kind of margins you need to make them viable. Force.com generates subscription revenue, takes a cut of app sales, and ties customers deeper in to their own platform with each app install (resulting in higher long-term lock in).

    If you don't have those advantages, you are not an “app store” as people are discussing them, you are a directory.

    Oneforty is not an app store, it is a directory of Twitter apps. It is simply positioning itself as an app store. Oneforty cannot offer developers the value-add they need, nor can they offer end-users the unified and integrated experience that they love in real app stores. It is a tough spot to be in.

    Building a directory of twitter apps is a much different proposition than Salesforce building force.com and I am surprised people are confusing the two so easily.

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    Yea, I agree they work best on a closed platform, but I'd argue that the same underlying concepts can be applied anywhere where you have a niche audience.

    What I'm suggesting is just moving these a degree out; in other words, now app platforms are catering to niche versions of services specific to a device or API (Android, iPhone, etc) but the same principles should govern the entire ecosystem of those products, no? Think what Mashery is doing for API's or San Francisco for Government data

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    Yea, I agree they work best on a closed platform, but I'd argue that the same underlying concepts can be applied anywhere where you have a niche audience.

    What I'm suggesting is just moving these a degree out; in other words, now app platforms are catering to niche versions of services specific to a device or API (Android, iPhone, etc) but the same principles should govern the entire ecosystem of those products, no? Think what Mashery is doing for API's or San Francisco for Government data

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    I don't think people are confusing them. I get that “app store” is more a metaphor, than anything else. My point still stands, whoever does it right is going to kill in the space. Most people have no idea these services even exist — it's an awareness issue and web 2.0 still hasn't penetrated that deep. Therefore a middle man can really add value and become part of the overall transaction (IMO)

    Thanks for the comment Jevon!

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    I don't think people are confusing them. I get that “app store” is more a metaphor, than anything else. My point still stands, whoever does it right is going to kill in the space. Most people have no idea these services even exist — it's an awareness issue and web 2.0 still hasn't penetrated that deep. Therefore a middle man can really add value and become part of the overall transaction (IMO)

    Thanks for the comment Jevon!

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    I don't think people are confusing them. I get that “app store” is more a metaphor, than anything else. My point still stands, whoever does it right is going to kill in the space. Most people have no idea these services even exist — it's an awareness issue and web 2.0 still hasn't penetrated that deep. Therefore a middle man can really add value and become part of the overall transaction (IMO)

    Thanks for the comment Jevon!

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    I don't think people are confusing them. I get that “app store” is more a metaphor, than anything else. My point still stands, whoever does it right is going to kill in the space. Most people have no idea these services even exist — it's an awareness issue and web 2.0 still hasn't penetrated that deep. Therefore a middle man can really add value and become part of the overall transaction (IMO)

    Thanks for the comment Jevon!

  • http://startupnorth.ca Jevon

    I am pretty confident that middlemen won't be able to offer the value they think they do.

    It is a mistake to think that the iphone app store's value is in helping people find apps they like, that is just step 1. Clicking “Buy this” and having it install on your phone, backup in your itunes, integrate with you app store account, and update automatically are all major components of the experience that others cannot duplicate.

  • http://startupnorth.ca Jevon

    I am pretty confident that middlemen won't be able to offer the value they think they do.

    It is a mistake to think that the iphone app store's value is in helping people find apps they like, that is just step 1. Clicking “Buy this” and having it install on your phone, backup in your itunes, integrate with you app store account, and update automatically are all major components of the experience that others cannot duplicate.

  • http://startupnorth.ca Jevon

    I am pretty confident that middlemen won't be able to offer the value they think they do.

    It is a mistake to think that the iphone app store's value is in helping people find apps they like, that is just step 1. Clicking “Buy this” and having it install on your phone, backup in your itunes, integrate with you app store account, and update automatically are all major components of the experience that others cannot duplicate.

  • http://startupnorth.ca Jevon

    I am pretty confident that middlemen won't be able to offer the value they think they do.

    It is a mistake to think that the iphone app store's value is in helping people find apps they like, that is just step 1. Clicking “Buy this” and having it install on your phone, backup in your itunes, integrate with you app store account, and update automatically are all major components of the experience that others cannot duplicate.

  • http://startupnorth.ca Jevon

    I am pretty confident that middlemen won't be able to offer the value they think they do.

    It is a mistake to think that the iphone app store's value is in helping people find apps they like, that is just step 1. Clicking “Buy this” and having it install on your phone, backup in your itunes, integrate with you app store account, and update automatically are all major components of the experience that others cannot duplicate.

  • http://startupnorth.ca Jevon

    I am pretty confident that middlemen won't be able to offer the value they think they do.

    It is a mistake to think that the iphone app store's value is in helping people find apps they like, that is just step 1. Clicking “Buy this” and having it install on your phone, backup in your itunes, integrate with you app store account, and update automatically are all major components of the experience that others cannot duplicate.

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    I think you're jumping to conclusions here: yes, the apple app store provides a lot more value than what I am referring to; but that's not what I'm arguing.

    The enterprise space could use something designed with the same premise in mind – and that could make someone a lot of money. For example, I read reviews on Amazon before I buy most everything; sometimes I buy from Amazon, sometimes I buy direct.

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    I think you're jumping to conclusions here: yes, the apple app store provides a lot more value than what I am referring to; but that's not what I'm arguing.

    The enterprise space could use something designed with the same premise in mind – and that could make someone a lot of money. For example, I read reviews on Amazon before I buy most everything; sometimes I buy from Amazon, sometimes I buy direct.

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    I think you're jumping to conclusions here: yes, the apple app store provides a lot more value than what I am referring to; but that's not what I'm arguing.

    The enterprise space could use something designed with the same premise in mind – and that could make someone a lot of money. For example, I read reviews on Amazon before I buy most everything; sometimes I buy from Amazon, sometimes I buy direct.

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    I think you're jumping to conclusions here: yes, the apple app store provides a lot more value than what I am referring to; but that's not what I'm arguing.

    The enterprise space could use something designed with the same premise in mind – and that could make someone a lot of money. For example, I read reviews on Amazon before I buy most everything; sometimes I buy from Amazon, sometimes I buy direct.

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    I think you're jumping to conclusions here: yes, the apple app store provides a lot more value than what I am referring to; but that's not what I'm arguing.

    The enterprise space could use something designed with the same premise in mind – and that could make someone a lot of money. For example, I read reviews on Amazon before I buy most everything; sometimes I buy from Amazon, sometimes I buy direct.

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    I think you're jumping to conclusions here: yes, the apple app store provides a lot more value than what I am referring to; but that's not what I'm arguing.

    The enterprise space could use something designed with the same premise in mind – and that could make someone a lot of money. For example, I read reviews on Amazon before I buy most everything; sometimes I buy from Amazon, sometimes I buy direct.

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    I think you're jumping to conclusions here: yes, the apple app store provides a lot more value than what I am referring to; but that's not what I'm arguing.

    The enterprise space could use something designed with the same premise in mind – and that could make someone a lot of money. For example, I read reviews on Amazon before I buy most everything; sometimes I buy from Amazon, sometimes I buy direct.

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    I think you're jumping to conclusions here: yes, the apple app store provides a lot more value than what I am referring to; but that's not what I'm arguing.

    The enterprise space could use something designed with the same premise in mind – and that could make someone a lot of money. For example, I read reviews on Amazon before I buy most everything; sometimes I buy from Amazon, sometimes I buy direct.

  • http://www.jonsteinberg.com jonsteinberg

    You only need app stores on specific platforms. Namely closed platforms but to quasi open ones as well – like OneForty/Twitter. For web based apps, the app store is the internet itself and open API protocols allow for interchange. I guess you could argue that a catalog is needed by vertical/function.

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    Yea, I agree they work best on a closed platform, but I'd argue that the same underlying concepts can be applied anywhere where you have a niche audience.

    What I'm suggesting is just moving these a degree out; in other words, now app platforms are catering to niche versions of services specific to a device or API (Android, iPhone, etc) but the same principles should govern the entire ecosystem of those products, no? Think what Mashery is doing for API's or San Francisco for Government data

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    I don't think people are confusing them. I get that “app store” is more a metaphor, than anything else. My point still stands, whoever does it right is going to kill in the space. Most people have no idea these services even exist — it's an awareness issue and web 2.0 still hasn't penetrated that deep. Therefore a middle man can really add value and become part of the overall transaction (IMO)

    Thanks for the comment Jevon!

  • http://startupnorth.ca Jevon

    I am pretty confident that middlemen won't be able to offer the value they think they do.

    It is a mistake to think that the iphone app store's value is in helping people find apps they like, that is just step 1. Clicking “Buy this” and having it install on your phone, backup in your itunes, integrate with you app store account, and update automatically are all major components of the experience that others cannot duplicate.

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    I think you're jumping to conclusions here: yes, the apple app store provides a lot more value than what I am referring to; but that's not what I'm arguing.

    The enterprise space could use something designed with the same premise in mind – and that could make someone a lot of money. For example, I read reviews on Amazon before I buy most everything; sometimes I buy from Amazon, sometimes I buy direct.

  • http://www.jonsteinberg.com jonsteinberg

    You only need app stores on specific platforms. Namely closed platforms but to quasi open ones as well – like OneForty/Twitter. For web based apps, the app store is the internet itself and open API protocols allow for interchange. I guess you could argue that a catalog is needed by vertical/function.

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    Yea, I agree they work best on a closed platform, but I'd argue that the same underlying concepts can be applied anywhere where you have a niche audience.

    What I'm suggesting is just moving these a degree out; in other words, now app platforms are catering to niche versions of services specific to a device or API (Android, iPhone, etc) but the same principles should govern the entire ecosystem of those products, no? Think what Mashery is doing for API's or San Francisco for Government data

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    I don't think people are confusing them. I get that “app store” is more a metaphor, than anything else. My point still stands, whoever does it right is going to kill in the space. Most people have no idea these services even exist — it's an awareness issue and web 2.0 still hasn't penetrated that deep. Therefore a middle man can really add value and become part of the overall transaction (IMO)

    Thanks for the comment Jevon!

  • http://startupnorth.ca Jevon

    I am pretty confident that middlemen won't be able to offer the value they think they do.

    It is a mistake to think that the iphone app store's value is in helping people find apps they like, that is just step 1. Clicking “Buy this” and having it install on your phone, backup in your itunes, integrate with you app store account, and update automatically are all major components of the experience that others cannot duplicate.

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    I think you're jumping to conclusions here: yes, the apple app store provides a lot more value than what I am referring to; but that's not what I'm arguing.

    The enterprise space could use something designed with the same premise in mind – and that could make someone a lot of money. For example, I read reviews on Amazon before I buy most everything; sometimes I buy from Amazon, sometimes I buy direct.

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    jut an update that GetApp.com is pretty much what I suggested.

    Will be interesting to see what happens:

    http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/01/13/getapp-app

  • getappcom

    Sam, congratulations for your vision! When you wrote this post we were coding ;-)
    I agree with some of the comments that a directory is not an app store but then you are also right, that is not really the point. There is a crying need for a platform neutral, i.e. not tied to a single vendor, place where business users can find apps and also associated services that can help them choose and implement. GetApp.com has started with the basics, listing and organizing apps + an online decision tool to help choose between on-premises and on-demand. We have in our roadmap value add services to help business users find all they need in one place. Next step will be announced in few weeks and then we´ll keep adding. Priorities are set by user feedback (we got a ton!). Please give yours, trust me we´ll take it on board.
    Will be interesting to see what happens ;-)
    Christophe
    Co-founder of GetApp.com

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Sam Huleatt

    Excellent! — congrats Christophe, I think you guys have the potential
    to do very well. Keep me posted and maybe I can do a follow-up post

    Sam

  • getappcom

    Thanks Sam. We´ll keep you informed.

  • alcinasalls

    Apple appstore is the best place to buy the application they even provide demo of some of the application so that you can try it and then use it.
    fitflop

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