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.
I have no affiliation with them:
I’m sure loads of IT managers would love to dig in to making the iPhone work on their company’s e-mail server. Whether their bosses will allow them the time and money to do so, as opposed to relying upon the “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” Blackberry platform is another story.
I mean, from a business productivity standpoint, what would be the reason for adopting the iPhone? What can it do – again, from a business standpoint – that a BB can’t already do amply well? Sure, a bigger screen would be nice for anyone, but it seems that the only aspects where the iPhone truly trumps a BB are recreational – MP3’s, movie-watching, picture-taking, personal stock-watching.
Why would a company expend resources to integrate a device that would only increase the odds that folks would goof off using with it?
I currently use an iPhone. I have used a BB for many years. The one feature the iPhone has that I would love to see on the BB is the ability to zoom in on a web page so it can be read.
I know I will be going back to a BB.
Screw the iPhone! I just called the T-Mobile store asking if they sold the 8800 and he said that no stores have them bc they are being replaced with “some new blackberry that’s like the 8800, but with a camera”. I asked if it was the curve and he said “yeah, that’s it”…then I made him say it again just to make sure I wasnt hearing what I wanted to hear! He said its coming out in Spetember! YAY!
The iPhone accomplishes a lot of tasks with the panache Apple is famous for, but it doesn’t really have any killer features for the workplace. A bigger screen is nice, but playing music and movies is hardly something employers are looking to subsidize. And let’s not forget it’s on AT&T’s lame EDGE network. I don’t know that many *business* users who would rather wait a minute for the full NYT homepage to load at dial-up speed when they can view a web-optimized or WAP news page in 0.5 seconds on a 3G EVDO network. (And forget Wi-Fi; I certainly don’t want to be on the hunt for hotspots all the time when I’m on the road.) Personally I might consider an iPhone (2.0, perhaps) for personal use, but for work I think my 8830 is still a winner, despite its far less capable web browser and slight shortage of eye candy.
I agree with Rev: the advantages of the iPhone are purely recreational, and why would business want to pay for that distraction for their employees? It would be like giving each employee a better PC workstation that can play games and DVD’s better.
Businesses want a no frills utilitarian tool, and the BB suits that.
The story you tell is an interesting one, and is in fact, a feather in the cap for Apple. It’s quite amazing to release a consumer phone that so captivates the CEO that he makes his company adjust. However, this is the exception. I notice that the guy works for a marketing and PR firm, and those types of businesses are more into status symbols and luxury items anyway.
It’s the old axiom: blackberry for work, iPhone for maximum fun with multimedia. That’s not to say that some killer business apps couldn’t be developed using the iPhone’s huge screen, but it remains to be seen of that will ever come about.
Just to add one more idea: if there is one killer productivity app in the iPhone, it is visual voicemail. That is an amazing feature, and one that businesses would find quite handy. It is almost inexcusable that this feature was not developed and introduced earlier for all phones.
I am sure that visual voicemail is a feature that will starting coming standard on most smartphones in the not too distant future.
Amit: I hope you are correct about the rapid adoption of visual voicemail, but given the fact that this technology could have been out years ago, I’m not so sure. If it does come to pass, we can all thank Apple for having forced this hand.
Zoom ftw indeed, no zoom = death.
But yeah, visual voicemail should be the norm ages ago imo.