Companies need to get ready for Apple iPhone onslaught

“Apple plans to unveil the iPhone [on June 29]. According to a person close to Apple, the company is expected to fight for this market, currently dominated by players like BlackBerry’s RIM, Palm Inc. and, increasingly, Nokia Corp. and Motorola. If Apple comes up with an acceptable strategy for integrating with business software systems, many companies might change their tunes,” Nick Wingfield and Jessica E. Vascellaro report for The Wall Street Journal.

“Apple’s plan to go after the business market represents a shift for the company, which has never been a strong player in corporate technology. In recent years its focus on the consumer market has accelerated with its products like the iPod and its effort to open a broad network of retail stores,” Wingfield and Vascellaro report.

“The initial plans of many companies to snub the iPhone will likely come as a disappointment to many consumers who are eager to substitute the iPhone for the multiple devices they carry around for music, cellphone and both corporate and personal email services. These users may put pressure on business technology departments to support iPhones even if that means incurring additional expense and changing their policies,” Wingfield and Vascellaro report. “Incompatible technology has become an increasing problem for businesses as hand-held email and phone devices are evolving into minicomputers that can do such things as download music, take pictures and surf the Web.”

MacDailyNews Take: And one device, Apple’s iPhone, is far more evolved than anything else on the market today. The IT dinos will be — gasp! — forced to accommodate the employees; a rarity, we know, but watch and see.

Wingfield and Vascellaro report, “The public’s broad acceptance of the iPod, more than 100 million of which have been sold, has given Apple a hip currency among many professionals, including business travelers for whom iPods are ubiquitous gadgets on the go. That, in turn, could translate into strong demand for the iPhone among business users.”

“Troy Saxton-Getty, vice president of technical operations at St. Bernard Software Inc., a software company based in San Diego, says he currently wants to support only BlackBerrys. The system becomes less reliable when other devices are introduced, he says,” Wingfield and Vascellaro report.

MacDailyNews Take: Then, get a better system.

Wingfield and Vascellaro continue, “But Mr. Saxton-Getty says he is worried that ‘rogue’ employees may figure out ways to route their corporate emails to their iPhone. ‘I am getting a lot of push back, and people saying they are just going to go get it on their own,’ he says, adding that an employee asks him about the iPhone and whether the company will support it about every hour. Jonathan Anderson, who works for St. Bernard Software, says he plans to ditch his new BlackBerry for an iPhone as soon as he can get his hands on one and set it up on his own.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The IT guys are in for a rude awakening and the iPhone is only the beginning. They will have to accommodate the iPhone. Too many important employees will demand it and IT won’t be able to stem the tide. The fact is that business people will decide which device they want to carry and their businesses will adapt to it. Just as they did with “Microsoft-incompatible” Research In Motion’s Blackberry. Apple’s iPhone will be a success with business users whether the IT guy wants it or even whether AT&T and Apple tailor marketing to businesses or not.

Note to CEOs: Who runs the company, you or the IT guy? It’s your job to make the decisions and it’s the IT guy’s job to implement your decisions that relate to technology. Just as with Macs, you need to educate yourself instead of relying on someone with their own, possibly hidden, agendas to make extremely important technology decisions for your company. Most of you could be saving a LOT of money right now, but you aren’t because you’ve delegated an important part of your company’s decision-making to people who, frankly, in our experience, aren’t capable of making good, sound, strategic, long-term decisions. Most IT guys (and we know many) are not open-minded enough to be able to consider new, better, more efficient, more effective options that would benefit your company. In fact, most IT guys we’ve met will throw up road blocks and repeat myths until they’re blue in the face in order to avoid change. Especially change that might make their department less critical or smaller. Bottom line: most of you CEOs have given the IT guy way, way, way too much power. It’s time to take it back.

62 Comments

  1. What integration problem?
    If full Safari is on there and I have webmail from my company, seems like all I need to do is log into webmail. Since Safari is a full browser, no special formatting or anything else which Apple already solved. All the user needs is a connection to the network- dail in or WIFI, probably both.
    We do this with laptops now, how much more difficult can it be?

  2. If the iPhone doesn’t fully synchronize (ie. email, calendar, tasks, etc) with Microsoft Outlook, it can forget it for Corporate use. This should include the ability to at least view (and preferably create) MS Office files and attachments. The Corporate market is all about business functionality – not pretty interfaces or loyalty to SJ, nice as those may be.

  3. I’m sure there are a lot of CEO’s out there reading second rate websites run by a 16 year olds and overrun by a bunch of 12 year olds like MDN, and even more taking advice from them.

  4. I tried to think of Apples long tem plans in the phone business and it’s a tricky call. Does anyone think they will make a
    Less featured “Nano” type phone? Simple phone that plays music to compliment the high end iPhone due out?
    I say it’s tricky because of cannibalization challenges towards just music iPods.
    I think a phone in that $199-200 range would really be a market
    tsunami.

  5. Funny that the RIMM stock is rising as fast as the Apple stock. I wish I would have purchased both when the iPhone was announced in January. Some analysts seem to think the one will stay successful and the other will be very successful.

  6. Doesn’t the iPhone support .mac, pop3 and IMAP email access with the built in email program? So shouldn’t congfiguring the email account be as easy as putting inthe SMTP and mail server along with a password? Issue resolved. IT sucks, espically when they don’t know what they are doing with new technology. Sure they can configure network addresses and whatnot, but they hate to be seconded guessed. I hate IT at my job because they are scared my mac will bring down the whole network of PC’s. I laughed at that when I heard it. Oh well.

  7. Employees need to STFU and realize that for a corporation to have a functional and efficient IT system the IT “dorks” needs focus on a few systems and standards and nothing more. The job of a corporate IT department is not to support every employees favorite gadget.

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