BMC launches service to host private-label enterprise app stores

BMC Marketplace will allow organizations to set up their own public-facing app stores

BMC Software has set up a private-label marketplace service that will allow ISVs (independent software vendors) and other organizations to run their own online app stores.

"It is sort of like an Amazon-like marketplace for enterprise customers or ISVs," said Jason Frye, senior director in the office of the BMC Chief Technology Officer, referring to the popular Amazon online store. An app store can be set up within a few weeks, potentially cutting the time needed to set up a deployment from scratch, he said.

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The BMC Marketplace service provides the templates and tools needed for organizations to set up their own customized online app stores where they can sell their own software and services as well products from their partners.

BMC Marketplace can sell all sorts of software programs -- enterprise applications, desktop programs and mobile device apps -- as well as cloud services. The company is pitching the service to its enterprise customers, telecommunications providers, and ISVs.

The service provides the major elements needed to run an app store, including customer purchase automation tracking capabilities, vendor approval workflows, transaction processing, sales and lead reports, and a consumer-style interface.

The Marketplace differs from the standard private-label e-commerce platforms in a number of ways, Frye said. It is built specifically for technology companies in mind. "This marketplace is not for someone to sell apples and oranges. It is designed for selling very complex offerings," Frye said. For instance, it can sell a cloud service offering that draws on multiple providers, or application that has both desktop and mobile components.

The service is also unique in that it can be accessed from both desktop computers and mobile devices. "If you have a mobile app, the BMC Marketplace can handle the fulfillment, management and installation on that user's device, without having to go back to iTunes," Frye said.

In August, BMC acquired Partnerpedia, which originally developed the enterprise app store software used in this service, called AppZone. After the acquisition, BMC quickly set up its AppZone marketplace, which offers the ability to procure enterprise software online.

While BMC is primarily known for its software that manages the IT infrastructure of enterprises, the move into providing online marketplace infrastructure is a natural one for the company, Frye said.

"It's a new area for us, but it is a very well-thought out strategic move," Frye said. "As marketplaces become more ingrained in the way our traditional customers offer their services, we wanted to make sure our technology was on the forefront of where those customers interactions were happening."

Frye noted that IT analyst firm Gartner predicts that 25 percent of large companies will have their own app stores in place by 2017.

Also helping the company enter this new market is its recent move to buy up its public shares and to go private, a transaction completed in September with the help of an investment group.

"We can do things faster and be more innovative in the services we offer now that we are private," Frye said. "As a public company, we would have to wait for enough market to be there before we could enter it. As a private company, we can anticipate where the market is going."

The cost of the BMC Marketplace service varies on the size of the implementation, based on the sales volume and a monthly fee that is worked out between BMC and the customer.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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