Apple in the enterprise

The iPad has clearly made great strides with businesses of all sizes, but it’s useful to to recognize why Apple is not a great fit with the enterprise.

Predictability

It’s no secret that big companies like to know where their vendors are headed. When you’re dealing with tens of thousands of employees, technology transitions are painful and expensive.

Apple is neither predictable nor transparent, and has little compunction about pulling the rug out from under customers who are conservative about changes.

At the Fortune 200 firm where I spend a great deal of time consulting, every monitor has a VGA to DVI cable; every laptop is presumed to have a VGA port, despite the many superior digital options available for years. Apple has transitioned video out ports several times in just the past decade, and as far as I can tell has never manufactured a laptop with a VGA port. Floppy drives, optical drives, Firewire, USB, Thunderbolt…Apple has been a frequent trendsetter, both in embracing and abandoning technologies.

And good luck asking them what they’ll adopt or abandon next.

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Sign of the times

[RIM] said on Tuesday that it will launch its new Mobile Fusion device management software in the first quarter, allowing corporate IT staff to set and monitor rules for passwords, apps and software on a range of devices, including Apple’s iPad and iPhone, and smartphones using Google’s Android operating system.

via RIM to offer security features on iPhone, Androids | Reuters.

If you don’t read Asymco, I highly recommend doing so. Horace Dediu and Dirk Schmidt do an excellent job of piecing together the mobile industry numbers: sales, revenue, profit, market share, platform stickiness. Data analysis done carefully, thoughtfully, and in recognition of the limitations[*] of forecasting.

One clear trend emerging from Asymco’s analysis: RIM is in trouble. These days it’s hard to find anyone who will argue against that proposition, but when Horace first began beating the drum, it was a much more controversial assertion. Sales and profit were still growing, but the growth curves did not match the overall industry’s.

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Tech Trends and Disruptors to watch in 2012 | TechPinions

Instead, the [alternative] to the iPad that is really on their radar is Windows 8 for tablets, especially the version done for Intel processors. What they want is the ability to run Windows apps as is on a tablet even though they may actually write their own custom programs for Windows 8 and its Metro UI as well. But this is sort of comfort blanket to them and this Windows 8 tablet has many, especially hard-core Windows shops, waiting to see how good Windows 8 will be when it debuts in Oct of 2012 before making a final decision on what device/platform they will integrate into their IT programs over the next 5 years.

via Tech Trends and Disruptors to watch in 2012 | TechPinions.

Tim Bajarin captures very well what I see for the next year. From discussions with other engineers at MobileIron’s M1 conference this fall, and inferences from sales data from the analysts (disregarding their often odd spin), it’s clear that Android tablets are a non-entity in the enterprise, even in bring your own device environments. RIM hasn’t been able to make any headway with its sales pitch, despite its (admittedly waning) control over the enterprise phone market.

The iPad will see another year of dominance in the tablet space, and well beyond 2012 in the consumer arena, but companies will be sorely tempted to go with the much “safer” Microsoft solution.  Expect to see more in future posts about why Apple is still an uncomfortable fit in the enterprise.

 

Welcome to corporate mobility

For the past year, I’ve been deploying, extending, and integrating mobility management processes and tools for a Fortune 500 company that is deploying iPads in large quantities, and it occurred to me that it was time to start sharing what I’ve learned, what I see (and don’t see) today in this space, and what I anticipate in the near future.

This is a time of significant opportunity and disruption, and I hope some small shreds of insight may help those who are seeking to play a role in what comes next. Enterprise mobility isn’t as volatile as the consumer side, but it’s wild and wooly nonetheless.