A long time ago in 2007 there was the BlackBerry – and from an enterprise standpoint, that was pretty much it. But as enterprise mobile IT matured, so did mobile consumers. Soon a scroll pad and limited app selection was not good enough. Employees wanted their work devices to behave more like their personal devices — and in some cases their personal devices to be their work devices. Thus, began the iPhone’s entrance onto the enterprise mobile IT stage.
Enterprise iPhone: A New Hope
The much anticipated iPhone hit the market in 2007 and drastically and permanently changed the face of the smartphone world. At the same time, many enterprises were becoming aware of the need for more flexibility in the mobile devices on their network. Corporations mostly allowed one device, the Blackberry. However, corporate mobile IT was timid in adopting the iPhone – a 1st generation device that had not been field tested. This generally led to an insurgency among tech savvy Apple enthusiasts who found ways to “tweak” the iPhone to receive corporate email, albeit a bit less securely than an enterprise Blackberry.
The Enterprise Strikes Back
The enterprise was resolute; the devices were simply too risky to bring into the corporate environment. Among the issues with iPhone were: limits on the ability to push corporate email; zero on-device data encryption; no integration with third party applications (such as our coveted Microsoft Outlook and IBM Lotus); and the inability to wipe the device remotely. Moreover, iPhones were expensive. By 2009, however, many big name corporations, like Oracle and Kraft, were finding ways to get the iPhone to meet their needs. These devices were powerful and boasted an array of productivity apps that the other makers had not even started developing. Moreover, the customers were adopting the iPhone at alarming rates; which meant the smart money was on building apps and mobile websites that promoted your brand.
iPhone 5: Return of the iPhone
Finally, the dark ages of the iPhone began to come to the end. The release of 4 and 4S as and upgrades to iOS solved many of the problems mobile IT had with earlier models. Building on the enhancements we saw in the iPhone 4 and 4S, the 2012 iPhone 5 brings features that seem to be tailored specifically for the business community. First, the device has an aluminum case, making it more durable than it predecessors. Next, the battery follows the rule of 8 (as in 8 hour work day) — 8 hours of talk or 8 hours of data. Finally, there is a larger screen to ease the user experience for those of us who like to hammer out a last minute budget proposal on the train.
In sum, iPhone is no longer a new concept to enterprise mobile IT. Large enterprise have embraced the technology since as early as 2009, and it may be time for you too as well. Thinking about bringing the iPhone into your enterprise? Yup, we’ve done that – and we have some tips for you.