In an email to developers, Apple has revealed that it is implementing an App Store Volume Purchasing Program (ASVPP) for Businesses, following a similar system that has existed for educational institutions. This system, which Apple claims is “coming soon” will vastly simplify the process in which businesses can offer their employees the apps they need. The program will initially be US-only and will require a valid Dun & Bradstreet Number (D-U-N-S) and a valid physical address.
Once enrolled, the ASVPP can be accessed from the Apple website. This website is where businesses can purchase their apps in volume. The following screenshots highlight the process of doing so, which includes: searching for the app, setting the quantity and completing the transaction with either a corporate credit card, PCard or PayPal.
All volume purchases will result in an email from Apple and they are then added to a particular institutions purchase history which is located on the ASVPP website. Once purchased, an institution gets a redemption code for each app.
The program website delivers these redemption codes in a spreadsheet format that contains multiple codes, one for each app in the quantity purchased. Each time a code is redeemed, the spreadsheet is updated on the program website so you can track the number of codes that have been redeemed by your users.
Apple offers three ways in which institutions can quickly and easily distribute the app to their employees/users. The first is just a simple redemption URL which includes redemption code so that users do need to manually enter it into iTunes. Secondly they suggest posting the codes or URLs to a company portal or intranet page. The third option is to use a “third-party Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution” which offers an easily manageable system of centrally managing and distributing the apps.
Custom B2B Apps for Business
As a side note, the ASVPP also provides businesses “with an easy way to procure custom B2B (business-to-business) apps built by third-party developers.
Custom B2B apps are built to address a unique business need, and therefore are not available to the general public for purchase. Unlike enterprise in-house apps, these apps are not developed internally within your organization, but in collaboration with a third-party developer or business partner.
Such B2B apps are meant to offer tailored solutions to unique problems within an institution, Apple makes some suggestions on what this could mean:
- A customized user interface including company logo or branding Unique features or capabilities specific to a business process or workflow
- Extra privacy protection to handle sensitive data
- A specific configuration to meet the customer’s server/back-office environment or IT environment
- Features targeted to a limited audience, such as a business partner, dealer, or franchise
These apps are distributed directly to a member of the ASVPP with the developer of the application directly specifying an institution that is the authorized purchaser - this is done by sharing the Apple ID associated with the institutions ASVPP. Apps must cost at least $9.99 but apart from that the purchase and distribution process is identical to the ASVPP program for typical apps.
If you are part of a business you will soon be able to enroll in the ASVPP, at the moment the page contains basic information about the service.