Top 10 lessons for iPhone adoption in the enterprise

Top 10 lessons for iPhone adoption in the enterprise

Summary: Is your company ready for the iPhone? Or better, is the iPhone ready for your company?

TOPICS: iPhone, CXO, Mobility

Is your company ready for the iPhone? Or better, is the iPhone ready for your company?

New Forrester research suggests that Apple's iPhone is a worthy platform for delivering content and collaboration applications to an increasingly mobile workforce -- and that there's a case to be made for adopting the iPhone in the enterprise.

It wasn't always that way: only a year ago, Forrester gave IT pros 10 reasons why they shouldn't adopt the iPhone.

A lot changes in a year.

This time, Forrester interviewed two vendors and three user companies -- Apple, Kraft Foods, Oracle, Notify Technology and a California-based pharmaceutical company -- to figure out the benefits and drawbacks of implementing the iPhone at the company.

According Kraft, Oracle and the pharma company, the good outweighs the bad. Each company had a different reason to implement the device:

  • Kraft Foods: Driving culture change. Kraft uses iPhone support to demonstrate that IT is serious about supporting culture change. The company was a part of Apple's iPhone enterprise beta program in April 2008, and as of January 2009, almost half of Kraft Foods’ mobile users have iPhones, with about 400 new iPhones ordered each month.
  • Oracle: Employee demand. Employees began asking for email and calendar support for iPhones they bought themselves, and Oracle was able to respond using the open standards included in its own Beehive collaboration software. iPhone's support for IMAP and SMTP streamlined the rollout, and the upcoming support for CalDAV in iPhone 3.0 will help further. The company now has 4,000 iPhone users globally.

  • A pharmaceutical company: An internal advocate. Thanks to the company's IT senior director, the iPhone has become the company's "enterprise netbook," with support for the campuswide wireless network. With Apple's support for ActiveSync with iPhone 3G, it took the company three days to get the systems running to support the device. The company saw significant cost savings for data and voice plans.

Should your company adopt the iPhone? Is the device ready for the enterprise? The answer's yes, according to the survey.

Here are the top 10 lessons of iPhone adoption in the enterprise:

1.) It's more than just another device

Mobile collaboration opportunities are greater on iPhone, thanks to a better user experience and a growing developer tool kit and ecosystem. The Internet feels natural on an iPhone and like a chore on a BlackBerry, and document viewing, WebEx presentations and Internet access is just better on the iPhone. As developers build new applications for SharePoint access, data analysis, multiway conferencing, and training, the workforce can leave their laptops at work.

2.) It gives employees freedom to choose their own tools

Sometimes it just makes sense to give employees the freedom to choose the tools they want. If an iPhone makes an employee happy, then supporting it will deliver collateral benefits of a happier workforce and a new line of communication between IT and employees.

3.) It changes the support model to self-service

Community-led iPhone support can mean lower support costs. Your internal iPhone community can support itself if you provide a moderated wiki (to keep inappropriate security workarounds from being widely shared). Your own help desk can contribute its expertise to the community support site.

4.) It can save money

A hard look at the data and voice plans sometimes reveals hidden savings. In at least one case, an iPhone adopter found that the data plans for previous mobile devices were more expensive than the consumer plans AT&T is offering for iPhones. This company was able to reset its baseline plan pricing 30 percent lower for all phones because it supported the iPhone.

5.) It helps IT stay out of the device & mobile plan business

When an employee buys an iPhone, he or she gets hardware and accessories from the Apple Store. That's good for enterprise IT. And with the standardized pricing of iPhone services from AT&T, you can stay out of the plan business as well. You have, in effect, outsourced responsibility for the device, network, and plan to others, while retaining control over device policies and management.

6.) It allows IT to use policy profiles to implement security requirements

In some of the companies Forrester interviewed, employees who purchase their own phones, including iPhones, had to sign an agreement to abide by the firms' security policies (PINs to access the device, 90-day recertification, agreement to allow a remote wipe if leaving the company, etc.) VPN configuration, digital certificates, and other policy information is automatically configured when an employee first sets up his or her iPhone.

7.) It allows IT to adopt self-provisioning for apps and configuration

Apple has made configuration and application tools available wirelessly through a URL. This gives  enterprises a scalable way to walk users through a self-provisioning and installation process. Though some applications -- like Cisco's WebEx, Oracle Business Indicators and Salesforce Mobile -- are available through Apple's AppStore, the best way to put a corporate application or digital certificate on an iPhone is through a portal link or a URL sent through email or SMS.

8.) iPhone and ActiveSync is a work in progress for calendaring

This is the single biggest enterprise end user problem that Forrester identified, and until Apple and Microsoft figure out how to make this work for both Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2007, it's "buyer beware." iPhone 3.0 may address this problem.

9.) A lack of management tools and full support for VPNs may be a deal-breaker

Compared to BlackBerry Enterprise Server, management and guaranteed message delivery tools for iPhone are weak. Moreover, iPhone 2.x provides native Cisco IPsec VPN support, but password caching and a requirement to explicitly invoke the VPN may make it a nonstarter to let iPhones inside the firewall. This may be fixed with iPhone 3.0.

10.) Early-generation tech butterflies make for a frustrating user experience

Cut and paste, landscape mode for email; click-to-call and Flash support are all sorely missed. Some will be fixed with iPhone 3.0.

The full report can be found on Forrester's site.

What lessons do you have for iPhone adoption in the enterprise?

Topics: iPhone, CXO, Mobility

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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  • Based on what I've heard from some this is a bit of

    a shocker is it not? I think I've heard the the iPhone is NOT a
    smartphone being claimed by some. That the iPhone can not work in
    the enterprise and yet here we are 3.0 isn't even out yet and yet some
    enterprising enterprises are using the iPhone and well strangely
    enough being productive...hmmmmm? Now I'm not an enterprise type
    user myself so I have to take people at their word... now that I have
    examples to the contrary I'm truly confused.

    Could it be this simple? Not every enterprise has the same needs
    even when it comes to mobile devices?

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn

      Another very insightful post Jim.

      About a year ago, I was at a web optimisation event for SMEs in the
      UK. When we split off into groups to attend sessions dedicated to
      different aspects of the industry: Mobile Computing etc., I opted for
      the Mobile Computing one because it was relevant to my needs.

      But when it became apparent the guy presenting was loading his
      presentation towards Windows mobile, I asked why? His candid reply
      was that he was paid by Microsoft to present the advantages of Windows mobile, but was "prepared to discuss other options". He
      threw in Blackberry, the Symbian options, and the then only really
      rumoured Google Android.

      When I asked what his experience of the iPhone was, our MS IT Guy literally TURNED WHITE! When he recovered, he asked if I had one. I
      told him I was I the middle of an Orange contract and was waiting for
      the next generation, but I'd already obtained enough information and
      experience of the iPhone to work out that it eclipsed everything else.

      What happened next was the most interesting thing of all. Nearly
      everyone in the room turned around and wanted to engage me in
      conversation about... the iPhone. I swear, if I'd actually had one, I'd
      have been mobbed! and the session would have turned into a group
      iPhone awareness day!!

      Some will dismiss this as 'hype' - whatever that means. But what was actually happening, was a disparate group of business people from
      sectors as diverse as medical and engineering, who were complete
      strangers to each other, were responding to the viral effect that a
      great product creates - in an intelligent environment.

      And all I did was ask if the speaker had any experience of the iPhone.

      What we learn from Apple innovation is that there is a lag effect.
      Firstly an idea is born of a need. Multiple players have a go at fulfilling
      that need, and spend millions in the process.

      Apple watches from the sidelines for a while and plays with solutions
      out of the public view. This ship doesn't leak from the top.

      Then, learning from the competition's mistakes, they launch a holistic
      solution that addresses most, if not all, the issues users have with the
      existing solutions. Apple grabs sizeable market share.

      Anything from six months to five years later, the competition tries to
      copy Apple's model, but fails to understand why Apple's model works.

      Whatever Steve Jobs faith is, every day he must surely give thanks for
      Shawn Fanning, Luddite music industry execs, mobile phone
      manufacturers with no interest in user experience [or ability to design
      a GUI], and Al Bundy's brother in Redmond!

      Graham Ellison
      • Im that IT guy

        Do you know WHY he turned white?
        He experience the "HYPE" and knew it for just that.

        We have had nothing but headaches from the brainwashed mactards that think that IT should make support and security exceptions just so they can use the iphone.

        And even when made to work via active sync there have been complaints and accusations that IT has some conspicacy to make the iphone NOT work or have less functionality.

        The Apple propaganda, or brainwashing machine, serves some very strong cool-aid that turns normal users into complete idiots. They simply dont read into the fact that the iphone has problems, serious ones, that make it fail in comparisons to a blackberry, that "just works".

        the iphones crutch is that it is setup to do, at most, 2 things at a time. Activesync needs to run in the background and cannot with the iphone. This is simply a design flaw.

        So instead of passing on the I-so-cool-lets-talk-about-iphone, why not get a detailed response from that IT guy. This is after he has recovered from you mentioning the iphone!!!

    Only reason you need.
    • It's Crapple

      Its a Crapple product that is enough reason to stay way.
  • RE: Top 10 lessons for iPhone adoption in the enterprise

    Apple and AT&T both are out to get you. Once you buy the iphone you are stuck with it. If it breaks you are forced to purchase a replacement. If only the outer glass breaks and everything still works apple and att have terrible options once you are past the warranty. It cost $200 to replace your phone through apple and $599 to replace your phone through AT&T. If you are prepared to pay for your phone again or buy it at full retail then go ahead. I personally will show everyone I know or is near me when I use it that my screen is broken and tell them about the unfair extortionary tactics they employ. Nevermind how great the phone is, this is a terrible way to treat a customer!
    • How did you break your screen?

      Let me ask that again: How did you break your screen? Was it for
      instance as a result of a manufacturing fault in the iPhone?

      I'm going to take a great leap here and assume not. Please feel free to
      correct this indulgence if I'm wrong.

      So what we're left with is an accidental damage situation for which you
      insured your iPhone, right? Or did you?

      Now, tell us again why you think either Apple or AT&T are responsible
      for your accidental damage.
      Graham Ellison
  • 8 out of 10 WRONG !!!

    1- incorrect
    2- correct
    3- incorrect- helpdesks would simply be given yet ANOTHER device to support. helpdesk would rather give this as an option and ONLY support activesync support and that is all.
    4- Data plans are kind of the same, it does save money if not needed a RIM server (blackberry enterprise), but that is all.
    5- That's a corporate call and NOT an IT choice. Either way, the decision is still the same no matter WHAT device.
    6- No difference in other IT devices.
    7-Incorrect - IT doesnt care except basic communication. They dont wish to be bogged down by every idiot that thinks he/she has a better idea ... for everyone else to use and thus make IT spend more time for support of idiodic ideas by "users".
    8- "work in progress" translation: Doesnt work and missing options that blackberries have.
    9- VPN, maybe, there are some secure ways to use active sync with VPN but it gets complicated.
    10- This is totally agreed upon
  • Another Case of the Big Guys Learning from the Small Guys

    Seems like enterprises going to small to medium sized business way technology-wise is the order of the day. iPhone is already a big hit with small businesses (,3800010798,62049003,00.htm) because of the flexibility it provides, and the ability to access rich corporate web apps over the iPhone browser. Now enterprises are following suit.

    The same is the case with increasing uptake of SaaS based collaboration application by enterprises, though these applications were originally intended for smaller companies.<a href="">HyperOffice</a> recently released a press release pointing out this trend.
  • RE: Top 10 lessons for iPhone adoption in the enterprise

    I don't like the use of an iPhone in a corporate environment especially for some of the reasons that are mentioned in the article.

    First of all, and this is the way Microsoft Mobile works as well, you need to have an email server out on the internet to use these properly. In many corporate environments, email is a departmental thing. Some departments use Exchange, others use Lotus and some even stand by Groupwise. Our email systems are all behind a double firewall and only one smtp distribution point is out in the DMZ. It is not an Exchange server.

    Next, would you allow corporate email out on a device that can have any number of APPs on it? I wouldn't. Even with Blackberries, we set them so a password has to be entered every 20 minutes or so. Did anyone compare the list of BlackBerry security features to those provided by Apple? My department had to come up with over a half a million $$ in postage when two laptops were stolen to notify our clientele. Imagine if people started running unsecure apps on a corporate cell phone.
  • Sounded too much like an advertorial for me..

    My beef here is not with th iPhone, I don't know anything about it. It is, again, the 'journalism' that I (don't) see in the article.

    Maybe it was the rose-tinted language used, but that read more like an advertorial placed by Apple than even a moderately even-handed view of the product. I don't have an iPhone, I don't actually know too much about an iPhone's capability.

    If these iPhomes are as truly wonderful with no issues as presented here i am surprised they aren't being touted to create world peace and be the cause of the second coming.