AppDirect, a cloud service marketplace company that allows third parties to broker cloud service sales between software providers and end users, has recently revealed that its platform will now be powering the Staples App Center.
For Staples (News - Alert), the move is an extension of its core vision: to be a one-stop-shop for businesses to find office products quickly and conveniently. This time instead of shopping for toner or 24-lb. paper, businesses can shop for enterprise apps.
In addition to purchasing apps at the Staples App Center, users can manage their apps with a single login. They can also view charges from multiple apps on a single dashboard and consolidate their charges into a single bill instead of tracking and paying individual invoices.
In addition to purchasing and management, users can administer the applications that they order, adding new users or reviewing usage as needed. The Center features apps from companies like Google, McAfee (News - Alert) and Symantec.
AppDirect is part of a rapidly growing business sector called Cloud Service Brokerage (CSB). According to Gartner (News - Alert), the sector will generate $100 billion in revenue over the next two years.
"Channel companies today are adopting the CSB role to enrich their traditional IT services capabilities, expand into new markets, differentiate offerings and defend market share,” explained Gartner’s Research Vice President, Tiffany Bova.
Additionally in an article in Forbes magazine, Gartner’s Daryl Plummer, chief of research for Cloud Computing, explained that CSBs seek to add value to cloud services for their customers by customizing the service for the company, integrating and aggregating services or enhancing security.
Plummer even argues that IT departments, as they lose their software and on-premises servers to virtualization, may automatically assume a brokerage role in the company.
The Staples App Center features five categories of apps on its home page including: Data Storage & Online Backup; Office Productivity; Sales, Marketing and Customer Management; Security and Web Conferencing. The company also offers free trials on all of its business apps.
Edited by Jamie Epstein