When Apple recently announced its SDK and Exchange support for the iPhone it unleashed a lot of talk about the iPhone becoming an enterprise powerhouse and even a BlackBerry killer. I thought it would useful to see where the iPhone currently stands, so that we can track its progress over the next 12-24 months and see what kind of traction it gets in the enterprise.
The first poll revealed that over half of businesses have iPhone users.
The second poll showed that there’s a much smaller percentage of IT departments that actually support the iPhone.
Keep in mind that this was not a scientific poll, and that the percentages and the number of respondents are as of March 20, when I am writing this post. The polls are still open so the number could still fluctuate a bit. Also, since this is a voluntary poll it’s likely that it attracted people who were interested in the iPhone to respond. Thus, the number of businesses where there are iPhone users could be a little high, and so could the number of IT departments that support it.
However, one thing that is clear and undisputed is that there are a lot of companies that currently have iPhone users who are not supported by IT. This is the type of situation that I was talking about in my recent column “Sanity check: Should IT support user-owned smartphones?” The idea is that it’s better to support user-owned smartphones and at least have some idea of what you’re dealing with — and maybe even put a few guidelines and protections in place — than to say ‘No’ to supporting user-owned devices and have a bunch of users putting business data on their devices behind your back.
This user-owned smartphone issue isn’t exclusive to the iPhone, but based on TechRepublic’s data, the issue is definitely acute for iPhone users and their IT departments. Apple’s iPhone SDK and recently-announced enterprise improvements should definitely get more IT departments on board to officially support it.
However, it will likely take a couple years before it becomes a major threat to BlackBerry’s enterprise dominance because BlackBerry has been working with IT departments for almost a decade to tailor a solution to their concerns and needs. I also have my doubts about whether the iPhone’s on-screen keyboard can stand up to the large amounts of data entry that is done on enterprise-class devices.
Will your IT department embrace the iPhone? Join the discussion.