The iPhone as a Business Tool? - InformationWeek

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11/12/2007
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The iPhone as a Business Tool?

Whether IT managers like it or not, the iPhone is worming its way into the enterprise. According to new research from IDC, 70 percent of those polled who own, or plan to purchase an iPhone in the next year, consider it to be for both personal and business use.

Whether IT managers like it or not, the iPhone is worming its way into the enterprise. According to new research from IDC, 70 percent of those polled who own, or plan to purchase an iPhone in the next year, consider it to be for both personal and business use."This is despite the fact that, in many respects, the iPhone is not well-suited to the corporate environment," writes IDC in its release.

It better get there, quick.

IDC's survey revealed that "sixteen percent of respondents to this latest IDC poll plan to purchase an iPhone within the next 12 months, in addition to the 2 percent that already own one. Those polled intend to use the iPhone for various business tasks such as personal information management (contacts, calendar, etc.), corporate email, corporate Intranet, and customer relationship management (CRM)."

Just this past July, Ken Dulaney a vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, is quoted as saying, "[The iPhone] is not considered to be [business-ready] by us. The security is weak." He added: "When someone calls IT to get help on iPhone, they should not take that call because it is not something they can take on today. If IT responds it's implied that they are making sure it's secure, manageable, etc. You can't promise that with the iPhone today."

But as the survey notes, people are already used to using their mobile devices for both business and personal use. Why stop at the iPhone?

"The results of our poll suggest a preference for both personal and business usage among those that own or plan to purchase an iPhone in the next 12 months. This coincides with a growing trend in the proliferation and uptake of other converged mobile devices (those with a high level operating system and cellular connectivity) designed to meet both the business and consumer requirements of mobile workers," says Sean Ryan, research analyst for IDC's Mobile Enterprise Device Solutions. He continues: "On the other hand, individuals intending to use the iPhone for business purposes are not considering corporate requirements for security and manageability of mobile devices in their decision. The use of unsanctioned devices, iPhone or otherwise, in the enterprise adds tremendous complexity for IT managers and executives trying to develop strategies around mobility while maintaining control and security over such devices. IT managers need to be aware of the implications of allowing iPhone access to corporate networks."

As John Paczkowski writes on All Things Digital: "Like it or not, the iPhone is being "user pushed" into the enterprise space. He quotes Mark Blowers, a senior analyst at Bulter Group, who noted with prescience this past summer: "With remote working becoming more popular, there will be increasing pressure on the IT department to integrate a growing number of different mobile devices with the existing infrastructure. The iPhone could well be another BlackBerry that the IT manager will be compelled to adopt."

Is the iPhone wreaking havoc in your company?

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