CIO Jury: It all depends on your Outlook
The Apple iPhone may have got a makeover last week but it's not enough to convince CIOs the device has a place in business.
In the latest silicon.com CIO Jury, IT chiefs were asked whether they're planning to offer Apple's touchscreen device as part of their range of corporate mobile phones - and the vast majority of IT chiefs said they are not.
Tech chiefs dismissed the iPhone option for a variety of reasons ranging from the fact it's only available from a single mobile provider, to poor battery life and even a fear of appearing profligate.
Only two of the 12 IT chiefs were willing to give it a vote of corporate confidence.
However, the remaining 10 members of the CIO Jury are not heading to Cupertino - at least, not yet.
Gavin Megnauth, director of operations & group IT for recruiter Morgan Hunt, said although the iPhone has its attractions there are still big drawbacks to the device.
"While there is clearly some momentum to accept iPhones as a corporate tool we won't be adopting at this juncture. The iPhone battery life simply doesn't compare to that of a BlackBerry and speed of use as a mobile email tool still doesn't compare," he said.
"Our research suggests that companies adopting the iPhone are the sort of companies where the PDA is an executive status symbol rather than a workhorse to genuinely aid the productivity of staff," he added.
There are also too many potential iPhone 'cons' for David Suthers, CIO of Masterlease: "High cost of ownership, lock-in to O2 and potential abuse of company resources via iTunes would be my main reasons [against it]," he said.
For Rob Neil, head of ICT and customer services at Ashford Borough Council, the main reason to avoid the iPhone is the fact it's not available from the Council's corporate mobile telephony provider.
However, he added that there could also be issues around the perception of the device: "Whilst it is undoubtedly a fine email and mobile internet client, with useful GPS apps, I can just see the headlines saying 'council gives free iPod to staff'."
Meanwhile Dr Ben Booth, global chief technology officer for Ipsos, believes security is still a bugbear. "The new model boasts lots more consumer-oriented features but (as far as I can see from the press releases) the basic security weaknesses have not been addressed," he said.
But the iPhone's charms are clearly hard at work elsewhere. While it's "not yet" on the menu at ITN, Ian Auger, head of IT & communications, said: "It is becoming more attractive though."
The Apple mobile is also turning heads at Sodexo - albeit as non-corporate devices. Kevin Fitzpatrick, CIO, Northern Europe, said the company offers BlackBerrys for "enhanced functionality/mobility users" and standard mobiles for the majority of staff but a "large number of colleagues" use iPhones as personal devices. It has no plans to offer corporate iPhones however.
One company already offering iPhones as corporate devices is Harvey Nash. "We already provision the device to senior sales people and see the new version as offering an increased set of capabilities/capacity to widen this pool even further," Alastair Behenna, CIO at the recruiter, said.
Another iPhone fan is Mike Roberts, IT director of The London Clinic, who spoke up for the iPhone's Outlook connectivity skills. "We use BlackBerry now and the iPhone offers better connectivity with Outlook," he said.
When polled about offering the iPhone as a corporate device back in 2007, 11 out of 12 CIO Jury members then said they had no plans to do so, suggesting Apple's hardware has made a degree of limited progress in infiltrating the business world.
This CIO Jury was:
- Ian Auger, head of IT & communications, ITN
- Alastair Behenna, CIO, Harvey Nash
- Dr Ben Booth, global chief technology officer, Ipsos
- Pete Crowe, IT director, Fat Face
- Kevin Fitzpatrick, CIO Northern Europe, Sodexo
- Steve Gediking, head of IT & facilities, Independent Police Complaints Commission
- John Keeling, CIO, John Lewis
- Gavin Megnauth, director of operations & group IT, Morgan Hunt
- Rob Neil, head of ICT and customer services, Ashford Borough Council
- Mike Roberts, IT director, The London Clinic
- Richard Storey, head of IT, Guys & St Thomas Hospital
- David Suthers, CIO, Masterlease
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