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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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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.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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