Why Corporate IT Shouldn't Support Your iPhone

[digg=http://digg.com/gadgets/Why_Corporate_IT_Shouldn_t_Support_Your_iPhone]iPhones sales may have made France Telecom bright during the holidays and it could truly be the most memorable new product launch for 2007, but that doesn’t mean your corporate IT organization should have to support it. At least, that’s the conclusion coming out of Forrester, whose analyst Benjamin Gray, lists 10 reasons why the iPhone is not yet ready to be an enterprise-class mobile device.

It’s always possible that some of these obstacles will become history when Steve Jobs takes the stage at Macworld today, but read on for some of Forrester’s thinking…

The iPhone doesn’t support push business email or over-the-air calendar sync natively. Why should you care? Even if IT configures its infrastructure or installs a third-party mobile gateway, the device can only check for new email every 15 minutes. If you’re used to monitoring your new messages as often as you swallow, you may feel like you’re constantly in a state of suspended animation. Plus, you need a proprietary USB cable to sync up with your PC; it can’t be done wirelessly (even though the phone has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth). That means when meetings get rescheduled, you could miss notification.

The iPhone can’t secure data on the device through encryption. Likewise, most users probably don’t create passwords for their devices. The RIM BlackBerry or the Palm Treo both supply IT with full password control, so users have little choice but to follow the corporate-mandated security routine.

The iPhone doesn’t handle third-party applications well. If your company has a line-of-business program for its mobile sales force or mobile customer reps, it can’t be run on this phone. The official software development kit from Apple will come out in February; but until then, other platforms rule for the enterprise.

IT can’t lock or wipe a lost or stolen device remotely. There’s no management software that can handle it. Forrester expects that mobile device management vendors will incorporate Mac OS X into their list of supported operating systems, but it doesn’t believe that will happen before mid-year.

When the battery kicks the bucket, so does the device. No doubt, third-party vendors will fill the gap, but this isn’t a matter of flipping a cover off and plugging in the new battery. According to Forrester, the device needs to be dismantled, which means typical users will be at the mercy of corporate tech support to handle the job for them. Plus, since the iPhone is so popular for recreational use, the battery will drain faster than if it were purely a business device.

Are you convinced that the iPhone isn’t ready yet for the enterprise or has your company already declared support?

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