Analyst firm Canalys has used its Channels Forum in Barcelona to urge resellers to look beyond cloud computing, saying the growth of enterprise app stores represents "the true transformational force within the enterprise software market".
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Chief analyst Adam Daum said the technology suggested that cloud was still having a more limited impact than many channel players realise.
"Cloud is certainly one aspect of the changing enterprise software landscape [but] it is not the key driver. The trends underlying enterprise app stores are much more fundamental," he explained.
Close to 80% of all EMEA channel partners recently surveyed by Canalys named software-as-a-service as the key cloud opportunity for them, leading the analysts to suggest that app stores are potentially the best platform from which service providers and resellers alike can generate revenue from the cloud.
Canalys claims a number of overarching trends are behind this shift. These include consumerisation and the move to mobility, which have seen employees familiar with Apple's app store or competitors such as the Android Market begin to ask for similar services in the workplace.
The app store model also helps end-users deal with the security and governance implications of decentralisation of enterprise IT policy, which has seen some firms begin to devolve certain tasks away from a central IT department as a cost-cutting measure.
Similarly, a shift in the perception of enterprise software architectures, again tied to budget constraints, is seeing hard-to-manage CRM installations replaced with simpler apps with open APIs, and this also lends itself to the app store model, said Canalys.
"IT has been seen as a barrier to business agility. By using enterprise software as a means for an image makeover, IT can embrace creativity and portray itself as an enabler again," said Daum.
Daum suggested that resellers who had profited from "inefficient, complex enterprise software" would need to change their tune as a result, and start to focus on custom app development and app store management if, as he predicts the supply of installation and licensing work dries up as a result.