Smartphone Use Will Tax IT Administrators, Says Report
Smartphone use is about to surge, and enterprises should
begin preparing for the deluge, states a Jan. 6 report from Forrester Research.
While 11 percent of U.S. consumers, and 14 percent of the
U.S. "information work force" currently has a smartphone, Forrester
expects those numbers to begin steadily climbing in 2010 and not stop until
smartphones are in the hands of more than 70 percent of information workers.
When asked about the tools they would be interested in, were
their company to support them, smartphones led the pack by far, with 64 percent
of workers saying they were interested in one, versus the next highest-ranking
tool, instant messaging, which 26 percent of workers were interested in
"That means you will see a surge in personal
smartphone adoption and a rise in employee and executive demand to support
iPhones, Droids, Palm, Symbian, Windows Mobile devices, and of course more
BlackBerry devices," states the report.
According to Forrester, IT professionals expect to
"increase smartphone levels to 30 percent of their workforces in the next
three years." The upside, for CFOs wondering how to budget and pay for
all those devices, according to Forrester, is to plan to support more employee-owned
Forrester found that 46 percent of enterprises already
support, to varying degrees, the personal mobile devices of their employees.
That number climbed to 61 percent among smaller business.
Forrester found that employees with BlackBerry devices were
most likely to have corporate-liable plans, meaning that the company pays the
monthly bill. iPhone and other smartphone owners, however, most often have
personally liable plans, in which the employee pays for some or all of the
"How much of the smartphone cost should be borne by
employees, and how much by employers?" Forrester writes. "Our
contention is that firms should consider a comprehensive funding model that
includes corporate-liable plans for business-critical employees and shared
personally liable plans for everybody else. This model should be based on a
segmentation of your mobile workforce."
Forrester recommends that enterprises create a smartphone
strategy that includes a sliding a scale for mobile cost reimbursement, based
on whether individuals or employees benefit more from the device, as well as
creating a "smartphone strategy council" that brings together
various members of the organization to discuss ideas, including the balancing
of risks and rewards.
Finally, pointing to the successful smartphone strategies of companies such as Kraft Foods, the Forrester report offers seven ways to handle the coming growth of smartphones, sure to face enterprises in the coming months and years. These include subsidizing smartphone plans for 50 percent of information workers and investing in mobile device management and experience tracking systems.