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Companies are finding that the iPhone holds some key advantages, though adoption is still fledgling

When the iPhone first came out, there were those who labeled it sure to fail.  The initial hardware -- and initial OS (1.0) -- left much to be desired.  While employees might have pleaded for the stylish-looking new phone, which doubled as a music player, business owners by and large chose to stick with traditional offerings like Blackberries.

Then came the iterative improvements to the iPhone.  First there was the iPhone OS v2.0, the iPhone 3G, and the introduction of the App Store.  And more recently, there was the announcement of iPhone OS v3.0, and rumors of another hardware update.  Somewhere along this way some businesses, which had formerly been doubters, became believers.

A new report from Forrester research, titled "Making iPhone Work In The Enterprise: Early Lessons Learned" looks at three companies that have come around and embraced the iPhone -- Kraft Foods, Oracle, and Amylin Pharmaceutical.

It finds that two main factors have driven the companies to embrace the iPhone: user satisfaction and the promise of the application platform.  The report states, "
If the iPhone is just another messaging device, then don't bother with it.  (But) it can be far more because it is a capable platform for mobile applications. The right sponsor will have a mobile scenario that needs supporting, perhaps a view of much needed third-party applications, or at least a vision for how to get more information to mobile workers."

Looking at the first factor -- user satisfaction -- the report finds that employee requests were a major factor in deciding to adopt the iPhone.  Employees wanted the iPhone, rather than Blackberries, no doubt thanks to its stronger music, gaming, and internet browsing capabilities.  What the companies discovered was that by giving the employees what they wanted, the employees were more motivated to explore the phone on their own. At all three companies, active wiki communities to troubleshoot problems had been created and managed by employees.  This in turn made interactions with IT less frequent and more positive, cutting cost and hassle.

Another strong draw was the application platform.  While the enterprise software market for the iPhone is still relatively young, with
30,000 programs in the App Store, there are some useful tools out there.  Best of all, the platform is easy enough to develop for that businesses can create their own custom-tailored applications.

However, challenges still remain.  The iPhone's
integrated messaging and calendar programs are weaker than the Blackberry's.  Furthermore, central IT management tools for the iPhone are also nonexistent, whereas RIM provides the Blackberry Enterprise Server Suite as a streamlined IT management solution.  Finally, security is also a major concern.  Employees with iPhones tend to use them more for personal business, putting corporate data at risk.  The iPhone's VPN setting also makes many companies uncomfortable with letting them inside the corporate firewall (though a fix for this is likely in store in OS v3.0).

In short, the iPhone has managed to score a few big early adopters, thanks to its improved business viability.  While adoption is going well at these firms, it still has a ways to go, though, before it can truly hope to see broad adoption across the business community.

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iPhoney for business = fail
By Motoman on 4/14/2009 2:21:53 PM , Rating: 1
1. No real keyboard? Fail.

2. The Blackeberry's biggest win? Exchange integration. Without that, iPhoney also fails for business. I don't know if that's there or not...I suspect not.

Anyway, #1 is the biggest fail of all. While I preferred my Palm Treo to the Blackberry that was foisted upon me by my employer, at least either one was an acceptable typing device. No device with a touchscreen for a keyboard is acceptable. And almost certainly never will be. Buttons please, or keep the damn thing.

RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By elgoliath on 4/14/2009 2:33:48 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree. The OSK for the iPhone/touch is one of the best I've ever used and I am much faster on it than on any of the 'normal' type of keyboard setups on small devices.

I do agree regarding the exchange integration, but I have a feeling that it isn't too far off in the future, but I could be wrong.

I say good job to those companies and their IT departments for pioneering the use of such a powerful device for something other than music, pictures and games.

RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By JAB on 4/14/2009 3:39:16 PM , Rating: 2
I am seeing 10 times more I pones being used for work than all the other handholds- even am seeing it used by the anti technology crowd. The last is a bit of a shock. Even the people that refused the others as too hard to use.

They are doing something right with the keyboard and as soon as they get the next version I plan to get one too.

RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By dice1111 on 4/14/2009 3:00:32 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, it does have exchange server support. I use it on the daily. E-mail, Contacts, and Calendar. I don't think the calendar is 100% though for meeting schedules (who's all going to be there) and the odd thing, but it is quite useful.

I have gotten over the lack of a real keyboard. My texting and e-mail is maybe now 80-90% of what it was on the blackberry. The only complaint is the keyboard can't be used on its side to make it larger. However this is being addressed in version 3.0 of the OS.

Being completely anti-mac, PC wise and having used a blackberry, and now my iPhone for business, I have to admit I really like the iPhone. I never thought I would be using it as much as I do. Much more then the old berry. Over all it is just really well done. The applications are really much more useful then I ever thought.

Trapster is my fav! :)It's an application for all speed traps and camera's in your local area integrated into a GPS type navigation screen.

RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By bhieb on 4/14/2009 3:06:49 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed I too was shocked by how much I like it. Considering most emails you just want to read not necessarily reply to, the slower keyboard is no big deal. I used to have a tilt and the iPhone is basically 1/2 the size (thickness wise). So one just needs to ask themselves do I want to carry around the equivilant of 2 iphones just for a keyboard I only occassionally use?

BIG selling point for me was visual voicemail (others have it I know but my tilt did not nor did the fuze). I hate voicemail, my work voicemail is delivered as an email so it is easy to check. Nothing ticks me off worse than a voicemail on my cell followed by one at work. Not having to "call in" to my mailbox to delete messages I know I have already taken care of is a HUGE help.

RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By SLEEPER5555 on 4/15/2009 1:36:07 AM , Rating: 2
trapster as well as many of the other ifadphone apps are available for BB, where have you been I will agree blackberry devices pre 4.5 lacked but 4.5, 4.6 and 4.7 have made huge strides, the new 5.0 available later this years has made even bigger changes. that is the one thing i do like about the ifadphone though it has made RIM step up and that they have.

RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By bhieb on 4/14/2009 3:00:46 PM , Rating: 2
#2 it has active sync now so it is not an issue. The no real keyboard is a fail for some (originally myself included). Although I like my iPhone now, the vast majority of the business need was to get emails. I only reply to a handful of them on the phone.

Also regarding
At all three companies, active wiki communities to troubleshoot problems had been created and managed by employees. This in turn made interactions with IT less frequent and more positive, cutting cost and hassle.

I am IT and yes they bothered me less because, if they insisted on getting a device I was unfamiliar with, then they were on their own to find answers. I'm sure that is not the case in most businesses, but for me it was not officially supported so if you ordered one you were on your own so to speak. I would help with what I could, but generally they actually tried to find the answers on their own first.

Now I have one though, so there goes the neighborhood.

RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By hiscross on 4/14/2009 3:14:20 PM , Rating: 3
you are just plain wrong

RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By stubeck on 4/14/2009 3:30:52 PM , Rating: 2
Don't comment when you don't know what you're commenting on. Exchange was one of the big things about 2.0, its even better than Blackberry is some regards because it brings over contacts and other exchange features which blackberry requires BES for (which is expensive.)

Yes, the onscreen keyboard sucks, but its not an immediate fail.

RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By iberrydumb on 4/14/2009 3:45:02 PM , Rating: 2
Take your own advice.This is an article about using phones in the corporate/enterprise market. So you bring up functionality outside of Exchange? Let me help here, right now iPhone is consumer, Bberry is business. iPhone doesn't sync tasks or memos, is that fixed in 3.0? Can I invite someone to a meeting?

Apple runs this "Best Phone for for Business. Ever" campaign That doesn't make you laugh? Really? Really? Really?

I'll consider an iPhone when it's on a real network and th device matures.

In the end it's awesome to have this device in the market fostering innovation and competition. We should all hope Apple doesn't use it's patents to prevent smartphone progress, time will tell.

RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By stubeck on 4/14/2009 4:26:31 PM , Rating: 2
When did I bring up functionality outside of exchange?

RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By SLEEPER5555 on 4/15/2009 1:40:25 AM , Rating: 2
tasks and memos are part of exchange

RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By SLEEPER5555 on 4/15/2009 1:38:27 AM , Rating: 2
BES is free for the first device and just $99 per each additional license so cost wise it isnt bad at all.

RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By Drae on 4/15/2009 9:09:36 AM , Rating: 2
Did I miss something somewhere? Blackberry Enterprise Server is $2999, that's for Exchange Server integration and (the "free") 1 user licence. It's $3999 for 20 user licences. Additional licences are indeed $99 per user.

RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By SLEEPER5555 on 4/15/2009 9:50:04 PM , Rating: 2
upto 30 users this is how it works free for the first and then $99 per additional user for our second and third users.

If you have more than 30 users then it is $3000 plus 99 for each additional

RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By snownpaint on 4/14/2009 3:39:57 PM , Rating: 2
I use to agree with the lack of keyboard. I have big fingers and would miss-type stuff all the time. After some use I have become much better and wouldn't want a double thick iPhone for a keyboard. It just takes practice, like anything.

With Cloud computing, 50Gb of storage, and an attachable keyboard+ video+ mouse, I wouldn't even need a laptop or desktop computer.. I see a future where these devices are your computer.

RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By omnicronx on 4/14/2009 4:06:53 PM , Rating: 2
NewsFlash: IT does NOT want you do download tons of stuff on your phone.

I also don't believe the test one bit in which these IT departments were claiming users would 'figure out problems on their own'. Most IT departments will support your phone calls, emails, texting and maybe browsing. Now please explain to me how on earth the iPhone is easier than say a Blackberry for doing any of these things.

RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By abond on 4/14/2009 4:15:02 PM , Rating: 1
I totally agree. Must have a real keyboard. I have a Blackberry Bold, Treo 650 and an ipod touch. Don't get me wrong, I love the Touch for it's applications. But the OSK it awful for all buyt those mundane of things. The OSK on my Nokia n810 is far better and I would not trade it for a keyboard either.

RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By omnicronx on 4/14/2009 4:22:27 PM , Rating: 2
I said the same thing before I bought my HTC diamond (had a 6700 and 6800 previously which both had slide out keyboards), you get used to it very quickly. In fact because the keys are so small on most devices (and their are no dividers), I can now type just as fast or faster. Of course phones with well designed keypads (like the Bold with its dividers) are still better, but I don't find the extra real estate required to be worth it.

RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By Keeir on 4/14/2009 4:40:33 PM , Rating: 2
I don't find the extra real estate required to be worth it.

I agree... Overall, the extra screen space on an average iphone over a similar sized keyboard smart phone makes the end user experience for my usage pattern bearable.

Of course, my work relies alot on images and graphics to convey information rather than straight words.

RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By hiscross on 4/14/09, Rating: -1
RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By SLEEPER5555 on 4/15/2009 1:44:43 AM , Rating: 2
thats why the ifadphone makes a good toy, it is not a serious device to compete with the BB in the business world except for those who use it more as a toy and want to be cool. those of us who use thier phone for full emails and such need a real Keyboard, the touchscreen doesnt replace the keyboard and wont until it provides real feedback. (no not even the bb storm is good enough feedback wise)

RE: iPhoney for business = fail
By Villains on 4/17/2009 3:23:04 AM , Rating: 1
Dude you bitch about the keyboard every time the subject of the IPhone pops up.....we get it, you cant grasp the new concept of typing on touch screen. Your old and like things how they were.

The IPhone is the better device, hands down. Get over it.

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad

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