iPhone

Over 50% of businesses have iPhone users, but only 27% of IT departments support it

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. As a result, TechRepublic ran two polls to see where the iPhone currently stands in business. Here are the results.

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.

I recently ran two polls in which I asked if people had iPhone users in their business and whether the IT department supported the iPhone.

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.

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.

5 comments
TheGooch1
TheGooch1

First, does it really matter which phone business users use? Second, how the statistics are gathered are important to evaluating them. Knowing was who was asked is just as important as what they actually said. Always show your raw data so that other statisticians can duplicate your calculations. The question could use some work..."do you use your iPhone for business?" should be more like "do you use your company-provided iPhone for business", or you could get more granular and ask "who purchased your iphone" and have "business, self, other" as options. Then have them input the % of phone usage that is actually work related, then maybe ask some question about their environment ( do they use exchange, pop3, etc for work email ) . Also, you have to question the honesty of your respondents, are they who they really say they are? Do they really use an iPhone at work, or is their answer based upon wishful thinking? e.g. if enough people answer yes, then it will look good and affect purchasing decisions of other companies, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. So, interesting as the issue may be to some, hopefully everyone takes the poll results for what they are, and not as some type of objective, thorough research that has a lot of meaning. Its just a fun little exercise to see what some people will say.

trackpads
trackpads

I use the Iphone for all of my meeting notes. After about a month of learning the onscreen keyboard I am very proficienct with it. I miss the ability to draw like with my pocket pc but I can get over that. Once the new applications are out, and hopfully an ability to sync notes with outlook, I think there will definately be a surge of adoption. I on the other hand am in the military and doubt my base IT will ever support it unless forced.... :(

ajaxnii
ajaxnii

Trackpads....the doim is watching...jk! When i was AD i did work in the doim for a while and they were looking at the smart phones more and more then. If you give me a few days i will get up with some of my people there and see what the status of getting support for it is too!

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

Original post: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/hiner/?p=616 Can the iPhone rival BlackBerry in the enterprise? Do you think the iPhone's on-screen keyboard can stand up to large amounts of data input?

IT_Goddess
IT_Goddess

first off, is an iPhone really a business geared gadget? yeah, it's really cool looking... but does your CEO really need movies and music on a device he/she will be taking into meetings? many times I've passed a conference room where a meeting was taking place and noted that many of the participants were not paying attention to what was going on, but looking at their handheld. when smartphones first were coming out, I did lots of research and decided on the blackberry for the standard we fully support. our IT dept is 3 people for 450 users, which makes it difficult at best to give customised support for every smartphone out there. if our people do not want to go the way of a blackberry, they are pretty much on their own. I'll help with the initial set up, but that's as far as I go. the reason why we standardised on BB is that we can forward email to the device, with internet service only, instead of having the device pull from our IMAP server that requires SSL. this has proved to be a very easy way to manage mobile communications with out need of more hardware.

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