I don’t think that too many people reading this blog would question whether or not being able to get your email remotely makes you more productive. Even employees that work in an office 8 hours a day, everyday, and travel for their jobs 0% of the time tend to be more productive when they are able to send and receive email while away from their desks.
Many companies are more than happy to allow their employees to hook their personal mobile devices, whether they be BlackBerrys, Palm, or Windows Mobile to corporate email. It has generally been a win win situation. The company gets more productivity without really have to shell out too much cost. The employee can get their work email on their personal device.
The iPhone may have thrown a wrench into all this as I see two major issues for businesses.
The first is that BlackBerrys, Treos, and Windows Mobile devices pretty much work with corporate messaging systems right out of the box in a secure and fairly easy to set up fashion. The second is that consumers willing to buy smartphones on their own dime tend to be more technical and can work out many of the configuration issues on their own.
My guess is that iPhone users, like smartphone users are a bit more technical than the average Joe. The problem, however, is that the iPhone is a month old and there is generally no accepted way to hook one up to corporate email. Truth be told, there really isn’t even a generally unaccepted way to do so.
I have a buddy that is the messaging director for a pretty good sized marketing and PR firm that was just told to make his CEO’s iPhone work with his email. I don’t think that he minded so much because he was able to go out and buy an iPhone for himself for “testing” purposes. I just so happens that the CEO sent out a company email telling everyone how cool his iPhone was and now my friend is pulling his hair out trying to figure out how to roll out iPhone support company wide.
I wouldn’t be surprised if many IT managers are trying to figure out how to support the iPhone a lot sooner than they may have initially thought they would have to.