Enterprise Mobility Demand Underestimated By IT

The majority of IT managers are not properly preparing for the growth of Apple’s iPhone, handsets based on Google’s Android and all manner of smartphone platforms in the enterprise, according to a new Forrester Research report.

Forrester Research analyst Michele Pelino polled 5,519 technology users in the UK, Canada, France, Germany and the United States from SMB (small and midsize businesses) and enterprise companies with 20 or more employees.

Pelino said most IT managers and even vendors are underestimating demand because they are failing to recognise two emerging segments of employees: mobile “wannabes” and mobile “mavericks,” which together comprise 22 percent of all employees.

Workstation Wannabes And Mobile Mavericks

Mobile wannabes, Pelino explained, are often at their desks so IT does not count them as mobile workers even though they want to use their smartphones for work. Mobile wannabe workers can include executive assistants, human resource workers and customer service representatives. Fitting in with the trend towards the consumerisation of IT, mobile maverick employees buy their own smartphones and download their own productivity and communications apps to do their jobs on the go.

What are corporate road warriors doing on these phones/computers?

They are using mobile apps for email, calendar and voice, of course. However, half of the employees use navigation applications and instant messaging services, and one quarter of those surveyed admitted to using Twitter, LinkedIn and other social mobile apps for work.

Pelino said knowledge workers expect to receive support for from the corporate IT team as they use their smartphones to remain productive while they are on the road. Fortunately for these worker groups, 55 percent of firms Forrester surveyed provide some level of support to mobile devices employees purchase.

“The expanded smartphone support by many enterprises is evident by the fact that 18 percent of employees use smartphones for work, up sharply from 13 percent just one year ago,” Pelino wrote in her report February 16. “We expect this momentum to continue as new flavours of smartphones like Android-based phones make their way into the hands of employees.”

Typical examples of Android smartphone developed for the enterprise include the Motorola Droid Pro, which is heavily integrated with Microsoft Exchange, and the Motorola Atrix 4G, whose Webtop app and docking stations enable users to port their smartphone content to a larger computer display.

Pelino said businesses’ IT departments need to accommodate the wannabes and mavericks, whose numbers she expects to hit 42 percent by 2015. Vendors must modify their solution building and marketing plans for these segments.

As popular as the army of Android handsets has become, vendors should perhaps start first with iPhone, the most popular singular smartphone in the world at this point.

Apple shipped 16.24 million iPhones alone in the December quarter and has been hiring enterprise experts from rival Research In Motion to boost its attractiveness to business buyers.

Clint Boulton eWEEK USA 2012. Ziff Davis Enterprise Inc. All Rights Reserved

View Comments

  • I agreed with everything in the article up until the point that you said, "As popular as the army of Android handsets has become, vendors should perhaps start first with iPhone, the most popular singular smartphone in the world at this point."

    As you say in your last paragraph, Apple of are 'hiring' experts in the field, but Google already those people in place and have an entire enterprise solution which, according to their website, they delivery to 3 million business already! Enterprise functionality on the Android was officially introduced in 2.2 which has been out for some time. That said, a long time before that the functionality of Android for small enterprises was available on previous versions. There's event a team at Google, and a website, that specifically advises on how to integrate Android into business.

    Apple are notorious at locking their machines down and giving very limited access to people; something which IT Managers hate. I can see the Apple iPhone Enterprise Edition doing well in creative markets where if you haven't got an iPhone then people think something's wrong with you! But for the vast amount of business they want something that will be robust and that they can tailor to their needs - this is certainly not (and probably never will be) the iPhone.

    It seems a real shame to write such a good article only to add in a paragraph that really kills off all the good work. I imagine that the first draft had no Apply recommendation but that you were 'encouraged' to add it for balance to fit into the usual status quo of tech journalists who feel the need to over-hype the iPhone.

    I look forward to a more enlightened article in the near future.

  • Sorry, also forgot to mention... your figure of 16.24 million iPhones is correct, but you did manage to miss out that 33 million Android devices were sold in the same period (twice as many!!).

    I realise that this is across multiple devices and , yes, the different screen sizes and UIs can cause a problem for developers of Android apps but an enterprise is likely to pick one brand for all. Also, with Android 3.0 the UI issues are removed, and with fragments developers can create one app that will work on tablets or phones!

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