Much has been made of the iPhone’s potential as an enterprise device, with many still holding out against its usefulness in a corporate environment. A new report from Forrester Research, however, finds that enterprise iPhone users get more than just a communication tool with Apple’s handset; they get happiness and productivity, too.
The 12-page report from Forrester covers three large companies that support iPhone deployment: Kraft Foods Inc., Oracle Corp. and Amylin Pharmaceuticals. In each case, the report’s author Tim Shadler says the evidence suggests that the iPhone not only lead to a “happier, more productive workforce” but also carries lower support costs, which is unexpected considering that the device is still a relative novelty in corporate IT environments.
Apparently the effects the iPhone has on employees depends more on it being what they want than on any specific software or hardware feature it offers. Basically, they’re happier and more productive because they’re using the tools they want to use, which in the cases described in the report, just happens to be the iPhone.
Not everything is roses, though, as problems persist with ActiveSync and calendering when using Apple’s smartphone. Also, tests find that BlackBerry Enterprise Server is much more dependable for messaging. The report recommends leaving phone plan management and hardware purchasing to individual employees, but managing device usage policy in-house in order to avoid even more issues related to ballooning IT costs.
At each of the three companies used in the report, iPhone adoption numbers were strong, and were expected to grow significantly in the next year. Kraft, for example, currently has around 2,000 employees using the devices, growing to an estimated 4,000 by year’s end. Considering some of the new enterprise-friendly features of iPhone 3.0 software, like copy-and-paste, push notification and custom hardware peripheral support, I wouldn’t be surprised if those estimates get revised upwards following the WWDC in June.