Custom Deployments

Drew CrawfordNews

Many of our clients want to list their applications in the App Store for download by consumers. Since the AppStore provides a wide distribution network, this is the best (really, the only) deployment strategy for consumer-facing applications.

But we’ve had an increasing number of clients interested in custom apps to be used internally to their organization, whether that organization is 10 employees or a large branch of the U.S. Military. The iPhone is not just for consumer applications but it can also be a powerful asset to new or existing business applications to provide your employees a competitive advantage and distinguish your organization from the rest.

At DrewCrawfordApps, we’ve overseen custom deployments ranging from a 5-person salesforce to large enterprise, government, and military deployments. While the AppStore process is familiar to many iPhone users, doing an internal deployment is less familiar, and often our clients have questions. I’d like to “take the lid off” this often-misunderstood deployment strategy.

How many devices can run our custom software?
You can deploy custom software to as many devices as your company owns. In practice, there are a few more hoops to jump through if you are planning a deployment of more than 100 devices.

Do the devices have to be physically present to have custom software installed?
No. We’ve written custom software to do “over-the-air” app deployments so that your mobile workforce can install and update your apps with only a data connection, without the need for a computer, iTunes, special software, or having their devices on-site. If you prefer, it is also possible to deploy apps to a device from a Windows or Mac computer via USB.

For any deployment, from one device to a hundred thousand, we can leverage our proprietary technology to take care of all aspects of the deployment. Alternatively, if you prefer to leverage your existing IT or Logistics infrastructure we can provide support and training to your team as needed.

How does Apple Review happen for custom deployed applications?
Only apps that are submitted for inclusion to the App Store are reviewed by Apple. Apps that are distributed only within an organization are not listed on the App Store and do not need to pass Apple Review.

Can I use a custom deployment to distribute or sell my app to the public?
In general, no. The Apple AppStore is the method by which consumers expect to install applications, and custom deployments are designed to deploy an app only within an organization. You can, however, submit an app that your organization uses internally to Apple for inclusion on the App Store.

What can custom applications do for our business?
The sky is the limit! Your employees can track and manage inventory from their iPhones or iPods. Your IT staff can remotely access and control desktops, laptops, servers, or custom business applications. We can write iPhone and iPad native clients for your databases and business intelligence software to let employees access key information on the go without the need to carry a bulky laptop. Mobile dashboards can let you monitor your business operations remotely and gain quick at-a-glance information. Push alerts can keep you up to date on high-impact problems.

Enterprise iOS software means that the same “magic” that makes great consumer applications can be leveraged to boost employee productivity and create easy-to-use enterprise apps.

At DrewCrawfordApps, we’ve managed custom deployments from small sales teams to enormous enterprise installations. Contact us to find out what iOS software can do for your company.