IDC Technology Spotlight: Application Readiness in Today’s Heterogeneous IT Environment

Software distribution solutions primarily focus on moving an application or an operating environment to a new user location. Functions include packaging, distributing, installing, and updating an application or an operating environment. IT managers and administrators adopt software distribution solutions as part of an automated method of dealing with managed desktop environments.

Thanks to a significant number of acquisitions over the past 10 years, this market has moved from standalone software distribution products sold by individual vendors to solutions integrated with IT asset management software, patch management, and other capabilities from a single vendor.

This Technology Spotlight examines the importance of leveraging effective software IT asset management and software distribution practices in today's increasingly complex and dispersed enterprise IT environment. The paper also looks at the role of Flexera Software's application readiness solutions, AdminStudio Suite and App Portal in this strategically important market.


Historically, IT organizations had a great deal of control over the choice and provisioning of IT software used on corporate owned devices. As a consequence, IT supported a relatively homogeneous environment. Today, IT professionals have to keep up with current technology trends in the consumer market and increasingly support access to corporate applications on personally owned devices. IT as well must contend with the proliferation of device types and complex delivery models for IT applications within the enterprise.

As the number of computing devices that interact with backend corporate IT infrastructure continues to grow, IT administrators are increasingly charged with delivering applications at a faster pace than ever before. One critical task is ensuring that the software operates securely and at peak performance across varying device types and supporting infrastructures including traditional fixed client/server, virtualized, and mobile environments.

Additionally, it is becoming increasingly accepted, and desired, to leverage convenient and simplistic technologies in order to perform daily tasks in our personal lives such as scheduling appointments, making purchases, and paying bills online from anywhere, any time and often without any direct contact with a customer service representative. As a result, many employees are now entering the workforce with an expectation that this same service experience will be matched in the workplace when accessing corporate IT resources. Therefore, today, more and more IT organizations are expected to deliver applications in an intuitive, consumer-like manner that is easily accessible to business users.

An IT organization's failure to move at the speed of the business often fosters rogue IT movements such as "shadow IT." Also fueling this trend is the increased accessibility of consumer grade cloudbased technologies which are enabling business users to more easily bypass the IT department and procure resources on their own if internal IT systems and services are viewed as inadequate. Shadow IT is undoubtedly becoming ever more pervasive in the enterprise. However, its long-term effects can be detrimental to both the business and the IT organization, often resulting in higher technology costs and less information continuity across the organization.

Today, IT executives are increasingly being charged with the responsibility of running their organizations like a business by balancing the customer's requirement for rapid application delivery with IT operational productivity, governance, and cost gains as well as simultaneously ensuring continuous licensing compliance and optimized software investments. As a result, it is becoming ever more essential that IT organizations have solutions that allow applications to be properly packaged, provisioned, and accounted for across the enterprise.

IDC is forecasting the market for software distribution to grow to $1.9 billion in 2017 at a compound annual growth rate of 6.4% for the five-year period beginning in 2012. This CAGR represents a slight increase from IDC's previous forecast of 6.2%. IDC anticipates market growth will largely come from Windows devices (see Figure 1). IDC expects, even with the influx of mobile devices such as iPads, Androids, and iPhones, a continued focus on laptops, desktops, and servers within the enterprise as a key driver of this market.

Consumerization is a driver for IT spending, because individual users adopt new devices and services at a faster rate than centralized IT departments. Consumerization even creates an indirect round of spending, as some enterprises invest in software tools to either secure corporate data or police the network. On the downside, it could draw resources away from other IT projects if businesses invest too heavily in trying to control the productivity of their employees.