There has been a lot written about the use of the iPhone in the enterprise. That's a good thing, simply because it is a tremendously important topic. The iPhone is the smartphone against which all others are measured-notwithstanding results like those of a recent NPD survey here and there.
The wireless industry, and the media that follows it, arbitrarily segregate the consumer and enterprise users. The reality, of course, is that people shift between the two categories throughout the day. As smart as they are-and they indeed are brilliant-the folks at Apple are missing the boat if they don't do everything in their power to make the iPhone enterprise-worthy. That doesn't mean just the applications and some begrudging set of baseline functions. It means making IT and security departments feel truly secure and supported. It extends to the deeper and more fundamental elements, such as security and management oversight, which are fretted about on a daily basis by IT staffs.
The firm Compete recently released a survey that revealed that 73 percent of iPhone owners use the device primarily for non-business purposes. Seventy-three is a big number, of course, but it also is reasonable to note that the finding suggests that 27 percent of people use their iPhone at work. That's a big number, too-especially considering where Apple's marketing focus has been. It's also probable that many of those entertainment-oriented folks also use the iPhone for work on occasion. Finally, it's also likely that if the non-workers are stripped out -- kids are big iPhone users-the percentages will equalize, at least to a degree.
The thought that the enterprise is too big and rich a market to bypass seems to be a bit of a no-brainer. It doesn't seem to be getting through, however. This eWEEK piece relays the thoughts of Odyssey CEO Mark Gentile. He says that it is impossible for IT to monitor the applications running on the iPhones under its care. The vital information is in the device, but protected in a "sandbox" to which IT doesn't have access. No IT department will find that acceptable.
Apple famously marches to the beat of its own drummer. However, with the sophistication of competitors' devices quickly catching up, it would be smart if it became more serious than it apparently is about the enterprise market.