Enterprise acceptance of iPhones is likely to come with the development of good business applications, according to analyst Jack Gold. Those who open their doors to the iPhone, he says, should also figure out how to support Android and subsequent mobile operating systems.
Though BlackBerry smartphones are the de facto mobile devices in most
enterprises, many iPhone owners are still pushing for IT to support their handsets.
Unfortunately for them, analyst Jack
of J. Gold Associates wrote in a Jan. 13 research note, iPhone adoption in the enterprise is
more likely to be a "long, slow burn rather than a tsunami."
According to Gold, the majority of IT departments are reactive, rather than
proactive, and in order for them to support a new device, a "critical
mass" must be reached and intense pressure must be felt from the user
Given this, "One of the key issues for broader iPhone adoption is: Will the end users find a way to circumvent the IT infrastructure and
use the device anyway?"
Gold wrote, pointing to issues that make
circumvention difficult, such as the need for iTunes on a PC, which many
enterprises prevent from being installed.
For iPhones to be welcomed into enterprises, Gold wrote, the likely key will
be enterprise applications.
"I expect that the lead for iPhone adoption in big companies will be
through business apps, and not through e-mail. BlackBerry is more than adequate
for most companies, where e-mail [is] concerned, and the lack of a hard
keyboard on the iPhone is actually an inhibitor for many users," Gold
wrote in the note. "But [access to] apps, with iPhone's user-friendly
navigation and interactivity, is a highly desirable capability that users could
But if today it's the iPhone they want, tomorrow will it be the Droid?
In making way for the iPhone, Gold said, enterprises should plan on making
it easier to support subsequent mobile operating systems as well.
"That likely means less of a constituency forced to stay on one device
due to the investment, and more of an open policy of supporting many device
types," Gold wrote.
Still, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion shouldn't worry just yet about
losing market share to the iPhone, given how slow enterprises are to make
changes. And, as long as the iPhone is still exclusive to AT&T, few
enterprises are "currently AT&T-focused," Gold wrote, which
doesn't help with iPhone uptake.
"I know some people who are major fans of the iPhone want to see a more
short-term upside for enterprise deployments, but I just don't see a rapid
change in the enterprise market," Gold concluded.
With the June 2009 release of Version 3.0 of the iPhone software, many
believe that Apple made the iPhone more appropriate for enterprise use.
A June report from research company Forrester found that iPhone users are more "mobile-inclined" than other device
meaning for example that they e-mail and go online more frequently.
Forrester also revealed in a report issued Jan. 6, 2010, that enterprise workers who use
iPhones for business purposes are more likely to pay part or all of their
monthly service bills themselves, while enterprises are more likely to pay for BlackBerry bills.