Shop for AppsEnterprise use of smart phones and tablets is exploding, but letting employees buy applications on their own from the iTunes or Android app stores can become a logistical and security nightmare. Instead, companies are setting up their own stores so they can centralize app procurement; automatically provision and de-provision software; and even distribute their own custom-made apps to employees.

Merit Medical Systems, a Utah manufacturer, began looking at mobile technology a couple of years ago to improve collaboration and training for its sales and marketing staff. At first, it used Web-based tools, which don't require downloading apps, by creating a single sign-on portal for its mobile users with technology from Boulder, Colo.-based Symplified.

"But if users need access if they lose their Internet connections, they need to go the native app route," says Lincoln Cannon, Merit's director of sales and marketing technology.

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