Aan de slag met Windows Store for Business

Met de Windows Store for Business kan de admin zelf bepalen welke apps geschikt zijn voor de organisatie. Hij of zij kan ze aanschaffen en distribueren via een eigen store. Dit betekent controle en de gebruikers hoeven niet meer het hele internet af te zoeken naar wat ze nodig hebben.

De Windows Store for Business is de tegenhanger van de vertrouwde Windows Store voor thuisgebruikers. Dat betekent dat je dezelfde universal Windows Platform apps kunt vinden in allebei de stores. Het verschil is alleen dat de Store for Business alleen werkt met apparaten die draaien op Windows 10 en Windows 10 Mobile, terwijl de store voor consumenten ook apparaten ondersteunt met Windows 8 en 8.1.

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Setting up a private store within the Store for Business gives your organization control over acquisition and distribution, and lets you publish your own line of business (LOB) apps for internal consumption. Thousands of apps are available through Store for Business, such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft Power BI and Skype for Business, as well as third-party apps like DropBox and GoToMeeting. A private store is simply a "space" in the Store for Business that's populated with apps your organization chooses.

After an admin sets up a private store and adds at least one app, a link to the private store appears on the right side of the Store for Business menu; typically the link is simply the name of your organization. Users can then access the private store and install those apps. (Note that it actually takes about 12 hours for apps to appear after they've been added by an administrator, so don't worry if something doesn't show up immediately.)

Private store benefits

  • Purchasing - In the Store for Business, users can acquire a free or paid app as a one-off download just as in the consumer Store. With a private store, an administrator can purchase a single app for a user or purchase apps in bulk, and then distribute them through the private store. There's no need for users to spend time on the payment portion; they can simply visit the private store and install whatever they need. And bulk apps are typically purchased through volume licensing, which can save a great deal of money if hundreds or thousands of licenses for an app are needed. To simplify invoicing for your accounting department, Microsoft will combine Store for Business charges with Office 365 and similar charges, in a single invoice.
  • Finding apps - It's easier for users to find the apps licensed and approved by your organization all in one spot, rather than searching and scouring the entire Store for Business catalog. As the name implies it's also private, so no one outside your organization can see this store without permission.
  • Managing licenses - Administrators use the Business Store portal to make apps available to everyone in the organization or to specific users, to manage licenses and to control updates to apps. If the admin assigns an app to a specific user, that license can be reclaimed down the road when the user no longer needs it.
  • Updates - App updates are handled through Windows Update and, by default, updated automatically. However, admins can choose which updates are pushed to all apps or particular apps using controls in the portal.
  • Setting policy - Using Group Policy Objects (GPOs), administrators can prevent users from logging into the Store altogether, or just let them access the private store rather than the entire Store for Business. For the latter, the GPO setting is "Only display the private store within the Windows Store app."
  • Going offline - Store for Business also supports offline deployment and usage of licensed apps. An admin can acquire an app and add it to an image, then deploy it using Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) or Windows Imaging and Configuration Designer (ICD).

LOB apps

Let's say your organization needs a custom app to manage warehouse inventory. An administrator can use the Business Store portal to add custom-created LOB apps to inventory, as well as apps generally available in the Store.

A software developer, whether in-house or from a third party, must adhere to the rules for app development as specified in the Windows Dev Center. When an app is ready for upload, your Store for Business admin makes the developer an LOB publisher for your organization. The uploaded app is tagged appropriately so it's available only for your organization rather than anyone accessing Store for Business. The Inventory screen in the portal lists all apps and indicates which ones are LOB, as well as the date each app was acquired, number of licenses assigned and so on.

Getting started

To sign up for Store for Business, you need to use a Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) account and be logged in as the global administrator. From there, you can assign roles and permissions, such as assigning other employees as user administrators to help manage apps, and then begin acquiring apps.

Users also need an Azure AD account to access Store for Business, as well as a computer or device running Windows 10/Windows 10 Mobile, a compatible web browser (Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer 10 or later, Google Chrome or Firefox) and the Store app. One exception is that Azure AD accounts are not required for employees who use offline-licensed apps.

Because Store for Business is fairly new (the rollout occurred in late 2015), there aren't a lot of troubleshooting or customer case studies to draw from. What few questions there are on Microsoft TechNet tend to be related to apps not showing up in the private store because an administrator didn't make an app available, or a user tried to find an app too soon after an admin added the app (remember, it can take up to 12 hours for an app to appear).

Store for Business is designed for small businesses through enterprises, so even small shops with, say, 40 users should find the experience to be manageable and productive. The best way to find out if a private store will work for you is to set up a test store and run a pilot with a select group of users from various parts of the organization. You'll figure out pretty quickly if this works for your situation or not.

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