As the consumerization of IT hardware has rolled across the enterprise landscape, it has paved the way for the consumerization of enterprise software. Not so long ago, only high-level executives had mobile access to enterprise resources and they probably had to use devices bought and provided for by the IT department. But today, your run of the mill employee has her own iPhone or Android phone, and she probably has access to her corporate e-mail on that device, if nothing else. Corporate employees are also used to going to app stores on their phones for apps they use at home.

Enterprising software development houses have begun taking advantage of corporate employees' readiness to mix their personal and professional lives via their mobile devices and the software those devices run. These employees represent a new market place that has yet to be tapped to its fullest. Application aggregators are pulling together effective modular apps from third-party software developers big and small and leveraging Web infrastructure to package these apps conveniently for the corporate workforce masses.

Over at SearchSOA.com, our friend Stephanie Mann writes:

An app store marketplace offers the opportunity for businesses, developers and applications to come together in the same place, each party having more knowledge and control over what it creates, buys, sells or resells. APIs are central to that model, but they are greatly simplified versus traditional APIs. They are built from the ground up, to leverage existing Web infrastructure -- that means HTTP and REST (Hypertext Transfer Protocol and Representational State Transfer) protocols.

Her article on the effects of app stores and IT consumerization on software development efforts goes on to explain some of the benefits and side effects of this new trend for both software developers and their enterprise customers.

What do you think? Is consumerization just another buzz word? Will app stores revolutionize the way we develop and consume Web applications at work, the same as they have at home? Where do you see consumerization taking your next Java development project? Your experience helps keep us all informed.