Microsoft to fill SharePoint gaps with Office 365 app store
The app store -- though not officially called an "app store" due to a pending dispute with Apple -- launched in beta this month with 100 applications and 400 professional services from Microsoft partners. The apps and services are available for Exchange, Lync, Office and SharePoint, but SharePoint is the real key for the app store, suggests Gartner analyst Mark Gilbert.
"I've been suggesting to Microsoft that they needed an app store for SharePoint for probably five years now," he says.
MORE ON OFFICE 365: BlackBerry servers won't connect to Microsoft cloud at launch
Despite the previous lack of an app store, a large number of third-party vendors have built applications to add functionality to SharePoint.
But with Microsoft trying to expand usage of SharePoint Online, Gilbert says tools for customizing SharePoint and industry-specific services will be necessary. For example, HR departments or pharma companies want reliable tools that are geared toward their specific needs and help them get SharePoint deployments up and running, he says. In general, SharePoint requires more customization than other Microsoft software.
"Offering a generic SharePoint experience won't really satisfy most users," Gilbert says.
Microsoft is locking down the Office 365 Marketplace with strict requirements for applications to be listed. Applications will have to pass the "Microsoft Platform Ready" test, which will become available when Office 365 exits beta and enters commercial availability. "All software and services solutions will be subject to Microsoft evaluation to make sure those solutions add value to Office 365 customers," Microsoft says.
This approach, apparently more strict than what you'd see with mobile phone app stores, makes sense given that these applications and services will be targeted at corporate users.
It's probably too early to know how much of an impact the marketplace will have on real-world implementations.
"It's certainly a strong move by Microsoft, though it seems to be mostly implementation partners at this point," says Forrester analyst Ted Schadler. "It will get much more interesting once people build tight integrations of their own cloud services and start customizing apps for SharePoint in the cloud."
So far, the marketplace lists 30 tools for SharePoint Online. Tools and consulting services for deployment, implementation and migration seems to be the most common type of offering, and are generally geared at a wide customer base rather than specific industries. One product from CDW provides an "Intranet Accelerator" to help SharePoint customers build portals for collaboration.
According to Microsoft, more than 70% of customers in the Office 365 private beta were small businesses. That number makes Gilbert wonder how effective the service will be for large enterprises. Microsoft will have to prove that Office 365 can scale up to attract big customers, he says.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- What Datapipe customers need to know about the new PCI DSS 3.0 compliance standard This handy quick reference outlines what PCI DSS 3.0 is, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the new...
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Live Webcast Best Practices for the Hyperconverged Enterprise Network To the Age of Constant Connectivity and Information overload
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Government Agency Webifies Outdated COBOL Applications Let this CTO tell you how his agency converted 1980s-era green screens into an e-filing portal for the 100,000 cases handled each year...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the... All Applications White Papers | Webcasts