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. This country (US) has evolved into two classes: those who have good credit scores and those who don’t. Since I fall into the latter category and almost everything is according to stupid credit scores (even auto insurance and apartment rental, both situations where you pay in advance) there will be no iPhone for me, unless Virgin Mobile starts carrying it. Apple has sided with the “haves” unfortunately.

  2. Macaday: oh, you mean insecure things like Windows? IE? etc. etc. Insisted upon by Management?

    Yes. That’s exactly the sort of thing I mean. Weaning a company off Windows is not easy, but it’s necessary to best support the business goals/mission.

    Peterson – I’m not Reality Check, and I don’t think we even have the same position. RC is saying that it’s not something users will WANT if it won’t do common business tasks (word/excel). I’ve said it’s something I.T. will have to talk CEO’s & other management people OUT of adding to the arsenal because trying to hammer it into a round hole in the business environment would cause more problems than it would solve.

    Until MDN’s take, I didn’t even realize anyone was even thinking about trying to put iPhone in a biz context.

  3. I work for a medium sized government agancy, and I learned last week that the Boss (you know, the one appointed by the Pres?) let them know last week that he wants one. They are going to be scrambling when the 29th comes to get one for him and get it set up and working. what the Boss wants, he gets!

    Oh, and for those that watched the announcement last January where Steve demoed it, there WAS a slide that noted that the iPhone will be compatible with Exchange. He didn’t SAY it, but it was on the slide.

  4. That is 100% right. Too many people on here think that the iPhone is marketed towards business users. But I don’t know how many times I have to say that it isn’t. This is a consumer phone!! This is not for corporate drones to send excel and word documents around. It will not hook up to exchange because as far as I can tell, I don’t see the need for it. Apple does not develop products for the enterprise anymore. The only reason they have moved towards more common PC platforms, such as Intel, and the embrace of Windows was to move people off of their windows machines at HOME, not at work. If they can pick up a couple of small to midsize companies along the way, then so be it.

  5. Too many IT guys are like overpaid janitors, if you spill microsoft water, they get out the microsoft mop, but when you spill ‘mac’ sand, and their microsoft mop doesn’t work, too many are clueless to actually figure out the required actions. Technology personnel who don’t know technology, should be fired immediately for incompetence. Right on MDN !!!

  6. American corporations tend to rationalization (Weber) which ends up building a huge dehumanizing “iron cage” that nobody can think outside of.

    Because such corporations have the aim of acquiring more power to build a stronger cage, rather than serving their clients’ needs, they end up, eventually, folding like a cheap card table. And they deserve it.

    Apple technology is for a different vision. It serves more advanced corporations whose structure is communicative rationality (Jürgen Habermas) which is “oriented to achieving, sustaining and reviewing consensus – and indeed a consensus that rests on the intersubjective recognition of criticisable validity claims”.

  7. So, once it is hooked into my corp email, can I nuke the iPhone from orbit when it is stolen? Is it cryptographically secured? Can I blacklist apps? Control its IP connectivity? Set passwords remotely? Enforce password locks? etc etc

    Also, the condescending attitude towards IT is not appreciated.

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