iPhone in the enterprise: Bridging the employee, IT department gap

Employees are using the iPhone as a business phone, but the IT department isn't playing along, according to a poll by TechRepublic. The big question is how that gap gets narrowed over time.

Employees are using the iPhone as a business phone, but the IT department isn't playing along, according to a poll by TechRepublic. The big question is how that gap gets narrowed over time.

In an unscientific study, TechRepublic polled 400 folks in its community. As Techrepublic's Jason Hiner notes the poll likely attracted iPhone converts, but the results do highlight a key disconnect. The employees and IT departments aren't on the same iPhone page. I reckon that's likely to change over time as IT departments will have to do something if their employees are bringing iPhones into work. What are you going to do? You can't check your iPhones at the door.

As a result, Jason argues that IT departments have to at least cook up guidelines and protection schemes for the iPhone. Those policies will likely evolve into full blown support.

Gartner has already changed its iPhone recommendations. In a report earlier this week, Gartner said IT departments should create "appliance level" support structures for the iPhone.

In a release, Gartner said:

“Appliance-level” status permits the iPhone to be used for PIM, e-mail, telephony and browsing applications. It also permits the device to be used for other dedicated functions where the software is supplied by a third party, functionality is kept to a restricted set, the software supplier offers support for a backup platform and IT development resources are not needed to program custom code locally residing on the device.

Gartner's recommendation is a small data point in a larger move to bridge the iPhone gap between workers and their companies. This iPhone gap will probably close as we get closer to June when Apple releases its SDK and next generation of iPhone software with Exchange support and enterprise friendly security features. But the real test for iPhone's enterprise ambitions will come in the second half of the year.