Need a way to manage, store or collect your data? What about managing your customer base? There’s an app for that! In fact, there are several apps for your business and that’s where Microsoft AppSource comes into play.

AppSource allows users to have access to more than 200 business Software as a Service (SaaS) apps, content packs, and add-ins. AppSource allows users to search among different categories and industries to search different apps to optimize their business processes. Finally, all of your business tools are available in one place. Working with any Microsoft service and looking to beef it up a little? There’s most likely an app for that!

For the app creator

Not only is AppSource beneficial for the end user, but for organizations wanting to expand their reach with their app. With AppSource, app creators have access to a pool of end users from various industries. However, in order to successfully take advantage of AppSource, organizations must comply with a number of guidelines including:

  • Have a single sign-on with Azure Active Directory.
  • Line-of-Business SaaS app targeted for business users.
  • Customers must be able to have free limited time access to the app for a limited time.
  • The app must have have a service-level agreement of 99.9%.
  • Must provide a turnkey solution.

While it’s not a requirement, it’s recommended that the app also has the ability to easily integrate with Microsoft Cloud services including Microsoft Power BI, Cortana Intelligence, and Microsoft Azure. Customers using a particular service, such as Microsoft Power BI or Office 365 are most likely looking for an app or add-on to provide business solutions, not more problems.

Azure Active Directory

AppSource should integrate with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) for identity and authentication purposes. Azure AD is Microsoft’s multi-tenant cloud-based directory and identity management service. Azure AD offers a single sign-on access to SaaS applications such as Office365. In addition, for application developers, this allows for simple integration with an identity management solution that has many features including:

  • multi-factor authentication
  • device registration
  • self-service password management
  • self-service group management
  • privileged account management
  • role-based access control capabilities
  • Application usage monitoring
  • Auditing and security monitoring and alerts
  • Cuts costs with self-service application management

Need to connect with Azure AD and your local directories? Microsoft has simplified this integration process with Azure AD Connect. Enterprises can now connect an on-premises Windows Server Active Directory to a tenant in Azure AD by using a wizard to perform all of the steps that used to be done manually.

Before you worry about connecting with Azure AD, your organization might already be connected! Office365, Azure, and Dynamics CRM tenants are already an Azure AD tenant as well. One note however, Microsoft Power BI content packs do not require integration with Azure AD.

Business-process focused

One of the best aspects to hone in on is that AppSource is specifically for enterprises. It’s the LinkedIn of the other consumer-based, social media outlets. As a business, you can access AppSource and know that all of the apps are business-focused to help boost productivity and benefit from a free trial before fully committing to a particular app or add-on and that the apps meet the list of certain criteria. Searching through thousands of apps is intimidating to anyone. How is a user going to find the one app they need? AppSource is very user-friendly by providing the ability to refine search results by category, industry or by product. For example, if your organization is looking for an add-on for Power BI, users can refine the search results for all of the add-ons for Power BI including the most popular apps. Users can refine search results even more by indicating which industry they work in, what tool they need – i.e. analytics – and the product – Power BI. Apps are also available for Microsoft’s new productivity tool, Project Madeira. Microsoft also has partnered with Dynaway, XAPT, AvePoint, and SBS Group.

AppSource is ultimately the toolbox where business users can find key business tools to operate more efficiently, help cut costs with handy apps and content packs, and add on to the Microsoft services that their enterprise already uses to amp up daily operations.