What these data show is that both mobile usage and mobile diversity are on the rise, so organizations that cling to the old "it's a corporate-issued BlackBerry or nothing" model are fighting a losing war.
Another war IT (and the CFO) can stop fighting is the telecom expense management war, at least when it comes to mobile devices. Rather than have burdensome processes to monitor mobile bills and usage, companies are already using an economic method instead to handle the issue more simply: Having employees pay for their mobile devices and plans, perhaps with a fixed monthly reimbursement for work use (what the telecom industry calls employee-liable devices). Forrester found this trend is particularly pronounced among lower-level employees, perhaps because their mobile access is considered an employee convenience, not a employer requirement. On the flip side, Forrester found that high-level executives' devices and plans are paid for by the company, either as a perk or a job requirement.
That shift to employee-liable devices also forces IT to deal with multiple mobile platforms, as employees who are told to pay for their devices insist on the right to choose the one they prefer. As I've noted previously in this blog, the management and access control tools available today to deal with this mobile heterogeneity are largely immature. The BlackBerry remains the easiest device to manage and secure, with Windows Mobile next, followed by the iPhone and Symbian OS devices; Android and the rest are the hardest to manage.
Typically, you need a third-party management tool to manage and secure these devices (BES for BlackBerry, Good for Enterprise for most of the others), and more and more vendors are entering the fray here, typically starting from a telecom expense management or help-desk support perspective but branching out into management and security. Sybase, Zenprise, Trust Digital, and BoxTone (which sponsored the Forrester survey) are among those branching out from their telecom expense-management and mobile help-desk support platforms to help IT manage multiple mobile platforms.
The infrastructure is lagging demand, but that should soon change
With all the frustration over AT&T's poor 3G network and AT&T's suggestion that users should do less so as not to overburden the AT&T 3G network, you might wonder if there really is a mobile future. If the networks can't handle the load, the mobile promise can't be realized.