Here’s something that probably won’t surprise you a whole lot: Business’s addiction to the CrackBerry is waning and mobile device management is needed in every company’s environment to protect it from a variety of threats.
According to a recent report from Forrester (News - Alert), business smartphone users are turning to iPhones and Android devices: “77 percent of smartphones used at work are chosen by an employee, and 48 percent are chosen without regard for IT support. That means only 23 percent of the smartphones used at work in the U.S. are delivered as a take-it or-leave-it device by IT. And three-fifths of that 23 percent are BlackBerrys.”
In other words, if you get to pick what you want to use for work, you pick an iPhone (News - Alert) or Android device. If you have to use the company stuff, it’ll be a BlackBerry you’ll be embarrassed to whip out on the golf course or during Happy Hour. “Hey, look at Emma, her company makes her use that! Wanna borrow my iPhone?”
And no, the BlackBerry Playbook isn’t the game-changer. TMC’s (News - Alert) CEO Rich Tehrani recently called the Playbook “a solid tablet,” noting that “new apps come out for it all the time but when compared to Android (News - Alert) or iOS, there will always be less variety. Moreover the lack of a native email app is a drawback which has taken a long while to fix.”
While 75 percent of American information workers are using the smartphone they
chose, rather than the one their IT department gave them, this is a victory for platform choice, which means, as the Forrester report points out, that all your business apps “will be used from any location over any network.”
And if that doesn’t keep you up at night, just bear in mind that now that your employees know they can push you around when it comes to their phones, next thing you know they’ll be demanding to use Macs and desktop virtualization, the Forrester report says.
Any good news in all this? Some, yes: “Okay, Smithers, you want to use your iPhone? Fine. use yours and pay your own bill. Money in my pocket.”
The paper does a good job identifying of what the rise of BYOD or Bring Your Own Device means for IT departments.
“Platform choices mean applications must be platform and network agnostic.” It’s not just putting e-mail on iPhones with ActiveSync, as the Forrester report says, nowadays it’s giving them access to SharePoint or the employee portal on an unsecured personal phone as well.
Sales reps need content pushed to their iPads, and they need to collaborate using that too. An option for this could be a dropbox or a similar service.
“Victory over smartphone choice means new demands for computer choice.” Don’t kid yourself, it’s a victory for employees to be able to pick their own smartphones and tablets and it’ll make it easier for employees to win the next war -- they’ll want to use their Macs for work and you’ll need to provide them all the business apps they need. When you lose this war too, Forrester recommends using virtual machine tools from VMware and Parallels as a way to save face waving the white flag: “Run the corporate image on a VM, and leave the rest of the
“Willingness to share the cost means that a new source of funding is coming online. Because hey, you can probably find some other use for that money you would have spent on BlackBerries and calling plans, right? If they want to use iPhones and iPads, great -- let them buy their own.
David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Jamie Epstein