Verizon’s first Android phones, the Droid Eris by HTC and Motorola Droid, are being released today. The commercials highlight a string of new features not currently available on some other (iPhone!) phones (“Everything iDon’t Droid does“).
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Although this new generation of smartphones seems to be a tech geek’s dream, IT might actually be most resistant to new technology when it will impact the business. IT has to decide early on if it’s going to support yet another new smartphone. The BlackBerry was once the standard, and RIM paid a lot of extra attention to enterprise IT support capabilities. IT spent a lot of time getting applications to work on BlackBerry, only to be faced with the iPhone a few years down the road.
The executives (interestingly not the Gen Xers) were the big iPhone purchasers. The C-level brought these new devices in as primary work phones and expected IT support. And since IT is ultimately there to support the users, if the decision makers want Exchange on their iPhones, well, they’re going to get it. IT would have to manage iPhone support costs and risk exposure while working around hardware and OS limitations.
The problem is, IT then has to worry about a new set of security policies (last year Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android OS both had exposed flaws). Are there remote wipe capabilities? Is there encryption available? Further, the apps the sales team needs to use — for example, Salesforce.com, CRM, etc. — have to work on these new devices.
Although Verizon is offering some Exchange support for an additional fee ($15), recent reports state this will just be a software feature and won’t actually be in the same league as corporate network integration.
Do you really want to manage four sets of the same application (one for each potential device) and four different security policies, five times over?
You have to decide where to draw the line on device support – balancing user needs with business realities.