One of the most anticipated features of Windows 10 was the ability to manage and deploy Windows Store apps with the Windows Store for Business. Recently, to the delight of many, this feature was finally made available for the general public. Once you sign up for the Store for Business, you can browse and search for all products in the Store for Business catalog. Some apps are free, and some apps charge a price.
Although there are a few options on how you deploy the apps from the Store for Business, in this post we will be focusing on connecting the Store for Business with Configuration Manager 1606 for offline distribution. By connecting the Store for Business to Configuration Manager, you can synchronize the list of apps you’ve add to your inventory with Configuration Manager, view these in the Configuration Manager console, and deploy them like you would any other app. Although fallback to this is not all applications in the Store for Business are available with offline licensing.
Note: to use the Windows Store for Business, Windows 10 devices must be on version 1511 or higher and you will also need to be running Configuration Manager 1606 or higher to sync Store for Business applications.
Azure Active Directory
Before you are able sign up and manage your Store for Business inventory you’ll need an Azure AD account for your organization, and you’ll need to be the global administrator for your organization. If your organization is already using Azure AD, you can go ahead and sign up for Store for Business. If not, you’ll need to create an Azure AD account and directory as part of the sign up process.
Enable Windows Store for Business integration in Configuration Manager
From the ConfigMgr 1607 console, navigate to Administration – Site Configuration – Sites. Choose the top level site in your hierarchy, and select Hierarchy Settings across the top ribbon.
In the General tab, check the checkbox for Consent to use Pre-Release Features and click OK. This will allow us to enable the Windows Store for Business Integration feature.
Now go to Administration – Cloud Service – Updates and Servicing – Features. You will see the Windows Store for Business Integration feature listed here, right-click it and choose Turn On.
You should now see a dialog box informing you that the feature will be replicated on all site servers in the hierarchy. If you are comfortable with this, select YES. Now the next time you open the ConfigMgr console, you will see the Windows Store for Business node under Administration – Cloud Services.
Register in Azure AD
Now that the Windows Store for Business Integration feature has been enabled in Configuration Manager, we will need to register Configuration Manager as a Web Application management tool using the Azure portal to allow the synchronization from the Store for Business to Configuration Manager.
Open up your browser, go to https://manage.windowsazure.com and sign in with you organization’s Azure AD account. Choose your directory under Active Directory, and then click Applications – Add.
Choose Add an application my organization is developing, enter a Name and select Web Application and/or Web API. Click Next.
On the App properties page, enter the same generic URL to be used for the app connection for both a Sign-On URL and App ID URI. This can be any URL and does not need to actually resolve to an external address. In this example, I’m using https://fmtrout.com/businessstore.
Once the Sign-On URL and APP ID URI have been verified, complete the wizard.
Now we will need to create a client key in Azure Active Directory for the registered management tool. Choose the application that you just created in the previous steps, and click Configure.
Under the Keys section, select a duration from the list and Save. This will create a new client key. Ensure the key was created and do not close this page – we will need this data in the next steps.
Configure the Store for Business
If you haven’t done so yet, sign up for access to the Windows Store for Business at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/business-store.
Once you are all signed up, login to the Store for Business.
Now that we have our management application setup in Azure, we need to add Configuration Manager as a management tool in the Windows Store for Business.
Browse to Settings – Management Tools and click the Add a management tool link.
Note: only one management tool can be active at a time, so if you already have another management tool activated, it will need to be deactivated first.
You should now see a dialog box which says Search for tool by name. Type in the name of the application you created in Azure Active Directory in the previous steps (in my case LAB – Store for Business) and click Add.
Before you leave the page, click Activate next to the application that was just added. You will now be prompted to Show offline-licensed apps – click Yes. In the scenario described in this blog, we will be deploying our apps through Configuration Manager like any other app we distribute through Configuration Manger. With offline licensing, organizations can download apps and their licenses to deploy within their network through a management system – like ConfigMgr. Online licensing requires access to the Windows Store app in Windows 10 and an Azure AD for all the users. The online licensing user experience is equivalent to deep-linking a Windows Store app.
The last thing we will want to do is finish up the integration by adding the Windows Store for Business account into Configuration Manager. Before doing this, make sure you have added at least one app to your inventory. This can be done by selecting Shop from the menu and searching for an application in the Windows Store for Business. For this demo, I picked Microsoft Power BI , selected the option for offline licensing, and clicked Get the app.
Register Store for Business account in Configuration Manager
Go back to Configuration Manager console and browse to Administration – Cloud Services – Windows Store for Business. Once there, click Add Windows Store for Business Account from the top ribbon.
Enter your tenant ID, client ID, and client key from the Azure Active Directory application which was created earlier.
Specify a location offline Windows Store for Business applications can be downloaded and click Next.
Choose the languages that should have Application Catalog entries for the apps you sync from the Windows Store for Business and click Next.
Review the summary of the settings and click Next to complete the wizard.
In the console, you should now see an entry with your Windows Store for Business account. Ensure that there was a successful sync by reviewing the Last Sync Status.
To view your Store for Business apps in the Configuration Manager console, navigate to Software Library – Application Management – License Information for Store Apps. You will see all the applications from your Store for Business inventory – including a few Microsoft Office Mobile apps which are there by default. As you can see, the Microsoft Power BI app I selected earlier is showing in the console with offline licensing.
Deploying the Store for Business Apps
Deploying the Store for Business apps with offline licensing is extremely easy and straightforward. Go to Software Library – Application Management – License Information for Store Apps. Select the app you want to deploy – in this case, Microsoft Power BI – and from the top ribbon select Create Application.
Go through the Create Application Wizard, not much you need to do here.
Now navigate to Software Library – Application Management – Applications and you should see the application has been imported for you. Distribute Content as you normally would and deploy just like any other application in Configuration Manager. This can be used to deploy as a required or available application, or through an OSD task sequence.