The concept can be a new chapter in data management and maximizing insights from the data we pay to store.

While mobile apps have changed the way we entertain ourselves and manage our busy lives, they have also changed the way we work.

Today’s IT departments are tasked with identifying new solutions for promoting productivity while keeping an eye on security and the bottom line. IT teams view apps as a way to help people access and share business information outside the office and work wherever they are, whenever they want.

Actually, some of the same principles that have made the consumer app marketplace so successful—simplicity, ease of use, and convenience—have the potential to transform apps in business IT. With more than 1.5 billion smartphones sold every year, the concept of applications and an centralized app store is familiar to anyone with a smartphone.

In the business IT world, companies implementing their own app stores are catching on. Ever since third-party apps entered the enterprise IT market, they have received eager adoption across numerous business functions. We increasingly see companies relying on company-approved apps as a core part of their infrastructure.

But, first, a critical challenge must be addressed that businesses face globally, and that is mass data fragmentation.

Mass data fragmentation for enterprise apps

Backups and archived data make up the vast majority of all enterprise data. However, the data often sits in infrastructure silos that do not integrate, which makes it hard to manage, locate and gain any insights. This problem is called mass data fragmentation and it is an issue that is not going away. Nearly 90% of IT decision-makers recently surveyed by Cohesity believed their secondary data is or will become, nearly impossible to manage in the long term.

The inability to manage data effectively is exacerbated when organizations attempt to utilize applications in the enterprise for any meaningful tasks that involve large sets of data. In order to do that, many organizations are going through the tedious process of having to extract the required source data, move it into a new environment and then attempt to glean insights from that data using the application.

However, this notion of bringing data to the apps is flawed. It increases storage costs, does not use the latest data available, creates IT complexity, raises compliance concerns (as companies often have no insights into what data they have and where), and, perhaps worst of all, it creates yet another infrastructure silo—which adds to the existing management headaches around wasted IT resources.

Enterprise apps are the next wave

Applying the simplicity of a smartphone’s app store to enterprise data has the potential to similarly open up new levels of efficiency. But, how do we bring that simplicity to the enterprise when it comes to applications?

The way to solve this challenge is to bring the applications directly to the data, rather than moving the data to the application, and manage everything (backup, archiving, dev/test, etc.) on the same platform. This reduces storage costs, decreases compliance risks, eliminates infrastructure silos, and opens up a new world of opportunities in terms of extracting value from data. The concept of an enterprise app store realizes the notion of ‘simplicity’ in enterprise applications, just as the app store concept brought ‘simplicity’ to consumer applications, enabling IT teams to select and customize third-party apps for their specific business needs.

Think about having the ability to use an app designed to apply new searches or custom functions to data, the ability to monitor data for compliance and security anomalies, or even exporting specific files to analytics suites. The apps can go far beyond a data analytics use case. There is potential for apps that enable testing and development, workload mobility, malware scanning, and importantly, the development and training of AI and machine learning algorithms for functions we have not even thought of yet.

IDC has predicted that the strongest enterprise AI spending growth over the five-years will be in Japan (58.9% CAGR) and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan and China, 51.4% CAGR). China will also experience strong spending growth throughout the forecast (49.6% CAGR). Deloitte has asserted that up to 40% of enterprises had identified data as one of the principal challenges they face with AI adoption. What if we could start simplifying these challenges simply by enabling enterprises to bring applications directly to the data?

By making this process adjustment, enterprises can have the best of both worlds: not only it help increase productivity but it will reduce the time spent trying to extract value from data. This agility is what enables innovation and closer alignment to business goals—a common desire for IT teams.

From data insurance to data insight

The app store concept revolutionized the way we use and think about our smartphones. It encouraged a new wave of innovation across a host of areas, from social media and music to mapping and photography. Now, businesses are on the edge of embracing the same model. The prospect of bringing apps to non-mission critical data and backup stores, and bringing the compute power to the problem, is a major innovation.

Third-party app makers are turning their attention to business IT issues and leveraging the next advances in AI and machine learning capabilities. We are on the cusp of a new chapter in data management and understanding how we can better use data we are paying to store. Turning this data into a true value-add is a benefit too great to miss.