iPhones are cool. I don’t have one, but people in my office have been kind enough to let me use theirs. I love that app that picks a restaurant for you when you shake the phone.
But that’s what I associate with the iPhone — fun, not business. I know people who use the iPhone to access corporate email. And I’ve heard of companies piloting the iPhone as a business tool, but they’re still relying primarily on a BlackBerry.
It seems like others share my sentiments. About a month ago, CIOs on a panel organized by SAP for the launch of Business Suite 7 shared their thoughts on the iPhone for business — so did SAP CEO Leo Apotheker. Apotheker said demand for SAP’s CRM application is much higher on the BlackBerry than it is on the iPhone.
Most said they didn’t use the iPhone for business very much. One CIO even went so far as to say it wasn’t a business tool, according to one blog.
But things are not always what they seem. The BlackBerry may have started out as a business tool — but consumers wanted more. Now you can get many comparable iPhone apps (granted, most aren’t as cool) on the BlackBerry. You can look at your Facebook page, check your Gmail or jump on YouTube for a quick laugh — all between using it to log into CRM to check your company’s sales goals for that month.
Now, many people are relying on their “business” BlackBerrys as their primary form of personal communication as well.
So as SAP and Sybase announced this new effort to make SAP mobile applications for the iPhone and BlackBerry this week, I couldn’t help but think of the consumerization of IT and some of the challenges it presents not only to productivity, but to IT departments.
In this CIO blog, the author talks about some of the security challenges this trend presents — such as when a user cancels his iPhone or BlackBerry service, and doesn’t tell IT. And this article from sister site SearchWINIT.com shows that CIOs are split on the concept — not knowing if they really want to sync up company documents to a phone a user takes to the bar on Saturday nights.
What challenges do you think the consumerization of IT presents to your company? Do your users want SAP business applications on their iPhones and BlackBerrys? Do you?