The iPhone is 5 years old and has had a profound impact on the market. Starting
from zero market share, it managed to capture a majority stake in a few short years. While its share has receded somewhat with very aggressive competitors targeting it directly, it nevertheless profoundly changed the smartphone landscape and how users (and apps) work on these devices. To acknowledge the revolutionary changes it has brought, below we highlight 5 key things that iPhone has forever changed in enterprise mobility.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) - users demanded the ability to use personally acquired devices and got permission to do so, often based on high level execs pushing the envelope and making it happen. This trend has grown over the past 3 years and now has a majority of enterprises adopting a BYOD policy, and with the policy being enabled for even lower level employees.
Democratization of IT - Previously IT had complete dictatorial power to supply devices/connections/apps. After BYOD this changed and IT had to consider end user wants and desires. This revolution fundamentally changed the way apps are specified, purchased and deployed in enterprises. And it fundamentally changed the role IT played in infrastructure, operations and support.
The emergence of a mobile security/management industry - before the iPhone, very few mobile device management, mobile security, mobile application management, or mobile virtualization technology companies existed. The need to manage and secure iPhones (and later Android) which were not always up to the security level required in organizations kick-started a major industry with hundreds of start ups. With a larger market even the major vendors (e.g., McAfee, Symantec, Microsoft, Google) are investing and/or acquiring the capabilities. While most of the smaller companies will likely be acquired or fade away, the market for mobile management and security has been established and is thriving.
App development forever changed- the implementation of iPhone and later devices meant enterprises had to provide a heterogeneous environment to provide users with business apps across multiple platforms. The result was a drive towards HTML5 and standard cross platform development environments like PhoneGap, Sencha, AppCelerator, etc. Mobile enterprise app platform vendors (e.g., Sybase, Verivo, Kony) have expanded to include multi-platform support across all development models (e.g., native, hybrid, SaaS). This will remain the normative mobile app process going forward as no one model is ideal for all uses.
The maturing of mobility - before iPhone and subsequent BYOD efforts, enterprise mobility was generally limited to email and a few corporate apps.
With so many devices and so many users demanding corporate app extensions, the notion of what enterprise mobility is has moved from niche to mainstream and spurred a huge uptake in enterprise mobile apps - so much so that enterprise mobility is now mainstream along with client/server and web for most companies, both for internal users and the customers it serves.
Bottom line: The emergence of the iPhone spurred a new generation of mobile devices, deployments and app models. We expect no slowdown in the pace of change or the diversity it brings. Enterprises need to be prepared for constant change and remain flexible enough to embrace end user requirements. IT must focus on collaboration with end users rather than dictate rules in an ad hoc fashion.
Jack E. Gold
J.Gold Associates, LLC.
Research, Analysis, Strategic Consulting