Our Insights Post 5 mins Dave Thorpe Exploring Deployment Options for Your Internal App: Going Public In the ever-evolving landscape of digital solutions, companies often find themselves with internal applications that need to be shared with partners, stakeholders, or even a select group of employees. When faced with the need to make these apps accessible to a wider audience, one of the first considerations is deploying them on public app stores like the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. This article explores the key aspects of deploying your internal app to public stores and the implications this choice may have on your deployment strategy. Discoverability vs. Exclusivity One of the primary advantages of publishing your app on public app stores is discoverability. Anyone with access to the app store can find and download your application, making it readily available to a broad audience. This approach is well-suited for consumer-facing apps, where attracting a large user base is essential. However, for applications designed for internal purposes, maintaining exclusivity may be more appealing. Pros and Cons of Public Deployment App Store Optimization (ASO) as a Marketing Tool Public app stores offer a unique opportunity for marketing through App Store Optimization (ASO). By optimizing your app’s presence with compelling visuals, descriptive text, keywords, and other assets, you can attract more users. However, for internal apps with a captive audience, these efforts may not yield significant benefits. User Payments, Hosting, Updates, and Security Publishing on public app stores provides the convenience of having Apple and Google manage hosting, updates, and security. They also handle payment processing, albeit with a percentage cut. This can be advantageous for public-facing apps but might not be necessary for internal deployments. Analytics Both app stores provide built-in analytics tools to track performance, engagement, and financial results. While valuable for public apps, these features may not be essential for internal deployments where the focus is on a limited audience. Alternative Approaches When considering deployment options for internal apps, it’s essential to recognize that public stores may not align with your goals. In such cases, alternatives like Mobile Device Management (MDM) or manual APK distribution (on Android) could be more suitable. Google Play Store Google Play Store is known for its relatively relaxed app quality standards compared to Apple. To release your app on the Play Store, you’ll need a Google Developer Account, requiring a one-time registration fee. Adhering to Google’s quality guidelines regarding design patterns, compatibility, and security is essential. However, creating a comprehensive store listing with graphics and detailed descriptions may be more effort than required for an internal app. Apple App Store Deploying an app on the Apple App Store involves Apple’s strict review process. To begin, you’ll need an Apple Developer Program account and a Mac OS X computer with necessary software installed. Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines outline technical, content, and design criteria, which may change over time. Meeting these guidelines can be challenging, and success may depend on the interpretation of the reviewing agent. Other 3rd Party Stores For Android, third-party app stores offer an intriguing alternative. These stores can provide access to apps that wouldn’t pass Google’s guidelines. However, they may lack the same level of security and are typically niche-oriented. In conclusion, deploying an internal app to public app stores can be a powerful strategy for accessibility and marketing, but it may not always align with your goals. Consider your specific needs, audience, and security concerns when deciding on deployment options. In cases where exclusivity and limited access are crucial, alternatives like MDM or third-party stores may offer more suitable solutions. Next Steps While public deployment can offer widespread accessibility and visibility, there are circumstances where privacy and exclusivity are paramount. In the next section, we’ll delve into the world of private apps, shedding light on their unique characteristics and the scenarios in which they become a strategic necessity. Join us as we uncover the compelling reasons behind the discreet realm of private apps and why they hold a pivotal role in certain organizational landscapes.