This post is not meant to be a thorough analysis of the iPhone in the enterprise. I am sure that much has been written on that from both friends and foes of the iPhone. Instead we would like you to comment on why the release of the iPhone has been good (and still is) for enterprise mobility… and perhaps start a conversation.
Enterprises are not throwing BlackBerry out the window and replacing with iPhones as much as we are lead to believe. Despite the impressive numbers posted by Apple last quarter, it would be irresponsible in an enterprise environment to tear and replace BlackBerry because of the overwhelming consumer response. Plus it would probably be in violation of whatever policies are in place.
We can all agree that BlackBerry has served the enterprise very well over the years. A secure and dependent platform can not be torn apart on a whim or a fad. The BlackBerry solution is enterprise grade and has been so for quite a while. But don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe iPhone is a whim or a fad; however, cautious IT departments should be treating it like one until it is a proven enterprise-grade solution.
A few brainstorming points about the iPhone and enterprise mobility:
The End User is King! Long live the End User!
We sometimes forget about the one critical component in enterprise mobility; the one thing that allows the enterprise to be out there and extend itself beyond its four walls. No not technology … more important than that … the mobile employee; the end user. You and me. Although mobility is about the device at the same time it is more about something else… someone else! As Oliver Starr stated well over two years ago:
It isn’t what the phone does, so much as what is being done with the phone that has lead us to Mobile 2.0.
It is not what the iPhone has done… but what it allows us to do that is so groundbreaking both for the consumer as well as for the enterprise.
We All Win!
The iPhone has all the competitors pushing harder towards improvements in usability and functionality of the devices. Everyone wins in such a scenario; the end user, the enterprise and the mobile industry. You know what… who really cares whether or not RIM started developing their touchscreen device before Apple or as a response to iPhone? At the end what matters is that we have more choice today… a few more examples:
- The iPhone app store has over 8,000 applications. Unheard of 3 years ago. No other ecosystem built around a mobile platform even comes close to that number.
- RIM has announced an app store of their own… who cares if it was as a response to Apple. The main beneficiary will be the end user and developers.
- Developers are being stretched and money is being thrown at them to develop applications for all of us… including the enterprise.
- Choice is good… We are not complaining.
Again … it is not what the iPhone is as much as what it has pushed the industry to be.
Value and Experience
We will talk much more about this in the upcoming Financial Services and Mobility series. But suffice it to say that with the iPhone many folks will finally recognize the strong correlation between the value that mobility brings to the enterprise and the experience of the end user. These two things (value and experience) are not opposed to each other.
Security and Efficiency are the iPhone’s main competitors in the Enterprise
The iPhone’s main competitor in the enterprise is not BlackBerry and it is not Windows Mobile. The iPhone hasn’t broken in because the iPhone is not ready. Its main obstacle is not another platform but its own. The techie in the bowels of the enterprise tasked with managing the deployment does not yet have the tools to manage the iPhone in the enterprise securely, affordably and efficiently…. (please correct me if I am wrong).
Truly it is just a matter of time before the iPhone becomes universally accepted as an enterprise grade solution. I am sure there are many smart people working on that and it will be so. Which platform wins when this happens I believe is still up for grabs… But what we can say for certain is that enterprise mobility will be much farther ahead than what it was before the iPhone arrived on the scene and that it will be for the better!
What do you think?