Is the iPhone 5 Enterprise Ready?

Posted by Michael Runshe

Tue, Dec 04, 2012

Is the iPhone 5 Enterprise Ready?

Once again Apple has hit a home run with the release of the iPhone 5. Consumers have flocked to purchase the latest in a series of successful mobile phones from the once struggling Apple. Today, the iPhone 5 presents itself as a highly useful device not only for the regular consumer’s personal use but also for business and enterprise duties.

Is the iPhone 5 really ready to take on the rigors of the corporate world and function in an enterprise environment?

There were over 200 enhancements and features released with the iPhone 5 that cover the operating system as well as the design of the device itself.

Some of the features that could make corporations take a second look include:

Device management and security – features that have been built and refined by Apple over the last couple of years and the new iOS 6 operating system will keep your iPhone 5 well organized, easy to locate via tracking, and a strong device security system with improved password protection. But the security requirements at the corporate level may not be sufficient to meet the specific enterprise standards for authentication, encryption and other areas.

Compatibility – iPhone 5 has expanded compatibility for printing, presentations, geolocation, document sharing and other typical corporate tasks. However, the device does not easily interface with many enterprise level applications for accounting, ordering, customer relationship management or other corporate software solutions. Typically the enterprise software will provide a Windows or browser client that may or may not work well on the iPhone 5 platform.

Upgrades – the mobile device industry in general has an accelerated pace of upgrades (typically once a year), and the process is much less impactful than a typical Windows upgrade, which occurs around every four or five years. From an enterprise perspective, IT groups do not have an easy process for managing upgrades or enhancements for corporate iPhone 5 employees, and must depend on the individuals to manage their own upgrades.

Compliance – every corporation has its own set of compliance standards, which makes the issue of compliance a problem for the iPhone 5. While the iPhone 5 has a lot of built in security and encryption features itself, for the most part it is up to the enterprise software application to maintain compliance for the corporation.

Ease of use – arguably, the iPhone 5 is one of the easiest devices to learn and use. The wide adoption of the iPhone 5 shows that all types of people can take full advantage of the mobile phone’s features and functions for various tasks including email, scheduling, messaging, collaboration and more.

The mobile device market in general has been booming and is expected to surpass the laptop market in 2013 easily. Tablets, smartphones, iPads and iPhones are in high demand, and enterprises are taking note and adapting to these new standards. Corporations should look carefully at the iPhone 5 as an enterprise ready device, but take heed regarding its limitations and some of its proprietary applications and functions.

Tags: Enterprise Mobility, Mobile Workforce Management, Developments in Field Service Management