It's no surprise that a new generation of smartphones is headed for business. What is surprising is how fast those devices are appearing on IT's plate -- and how more and more of those smartphones are not BlackBerrys.
What's more, IT staffs will have to cope with demands from the top of their organizations to support a wide variety of mobile apps, to make those phones part of the full corporate network, and to cope with the reality that smartphones in business are increasingly owned by employees, not the company.
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Those are the major findings of a survey of 150 Fortune 500 CTOs, CIOs, and CSOs commissioned by Trust Digital, shortly before the mobile management vendor was acquired by McAfee in June.
Unlike many surveys that ask decision-makers what they might do in the future, this one asked the IT executives what they already have planned for the next 6 to 12 months, says David Goldschlag, vice president of mobile technology for McAfee. "What surprised me was the desire to integrate those devices with the full network, including the VPN. In the past, enterprises didn't want to do this for phones," he tells me.
iPhones and Androids join BlackBerrys in business
The BlackBerry, of course, has long held the dominant share of business-oriented smartphones. But the runaway success of the iPhone and Android platforms is changing that far faster than one might have expected.
According to the survey, one-third of the IT execs will be managing mobile platforms other than the BlackBerry by sometime next year. Many businesses, says Goldschlag, are already moving to the iPhone and are planning to add Android support. There is less support for Windows Phone 7, Hewlett-Packard's WebOS, and Nokia's Symbian, he said, although the survey did not actually quantify the exact share of each platform.