The retail arm of Barclays bank is creating an internal app store for its staff to use to download apps, which will let them carry out core business functions and network with one another.
Speaking to Computing, Barclays COO Shaygan Kheradpir (pictured) explained the dual purpose of the app cloud.
"It's for business-focused apps that employees need for their daily activities, but also for internal social networking and collaboration," he said.
The app store will also be used by various layers of the organisation, including customer-facing staff.
"Many of the tasks that happen in the front line of the bank are app-oriented. They are specialised tasks like applying for a mortgage or a credit card," he said.
"And what are apps? They are deep and narrow. They're not like PC applications which are broad and shallow. You want apps to do one, often complex, task."
Kheradpir said the firm cannot upload the apps to Google's or Apple's existing app stores due to security concerns.
"Obviously, you can't stick it into Google's store or Apple's store, so you have to be able to deploy it where you want it, very securely. That's the basis for an internal app store," he explained.
The firm is also in the middle of a project to roll out tablet devices among staff, on which the apps will run.
The apps will be designed to work across multiple platforms, so some staff will be free to select the device they feel most comfortable using.
A mobile device management (MDM) solution from Mobile Iron will keep track of these devices, and their owners.
This will enable Barclays to know who has downloaded which app, and control when and where they are used. Further security will be provided by mobile device security firm Good Technology.
The app store project will be deployed this year, following trials in 2011.
"We did the pilot project in 2011. Now we know it works and where the apps are most appropriate, [and] this year we will go for scaled deployments," concluded Kheradpir.
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