Verizon Wireless Support For iPhone 4 Opens More Enterprise Doors

Okay, so Verizon Wireless (VZW) now will offer iPhone 4s to its customers on its 3G network. (The official launch date is February 10, 2011). What does this mean for content & collaboration professionals? A lot, as it turns out, as yet another brick is laid in the post-PC future.

Forrester customers can read the new report by my colleague Charles Golvin analyzing the impact on the industry and the consumer market. Here are some thoughts on what this deal means for the enterprise and for content and collaboration professionals. iPhone-on-VZW means:

  • You have yet one more reason to support iPhones. Mobile service provider choice is important on smartphones and tablets, both to provide good network coverage to employees and also to keep competition high hence prices low. AT&T Mobility’s lock on iPhone in the US was one reason some firms have been reluctant to support iPhone. With iPhone-on-VZW (not to mention the aggressive $30/month introductory pricing for an unlimited data plan), that barrier is gone.
  • Yet more employees will bring their personal iPhones to work and ask for your help. Verizon Wireless has been driving the consumerization of Android devices; it will now also spend some money promoting and selling iPhone-on-VZW. This will only increase the “osmotic pressure” of employees aka consumers bringing their personal devices to work. And they will want more than just email on their personal smartphones; they will also ask for SharePoint and the employee portal and and and . . .
  • You will feel yet more pressure to create a smart mobile strategy. Mandate, Devices, Applications (employee and customer), Development, Security, Management, Policy, Procurement: those are the chapters in the mobile strategy guidebook. If you haven’t already, pull together a mobile team that spans IT and business roles to lay the groundwork for your mobile strategy. The mission: Mobilize absolutely everything. Start with a device management strategy so you can provision and secure Apple and Android (and Windows 7 and Symbian and WebOS and and and) devices in addition to the RIM BlackBerry devices you already support.

It’s A Post-PC Future: Design For Mobile, Provision Everywhere

Content & Collaboration professionals need to stop thinking about PCs as the design point for email, workspaces, conferencing, and social tools and start thinking about a world where employees expect and will use tools on any device, including personal smartphones and tablets. In this post-PC world, you and your software and cloud service providers will have to design the service experience for smartphones first, then consider how the service will be used and managed on tablets, work PCs, and home computers. The reason for this draconian shift in the design point is that we need first to overcome decades of muscle memory of designing for a Windows PC on a corporate network. We are so entrenched in this that it will be difficult to design for any device anywhere on any network. But design we must.

There’s a lot to do to be ready for this world. Are you ready?

(Thanks to Charles Golvin, Ben Gray, Jeffrey Hammond, Brownlee Thomas, Christian Kane for help on this post and for being such great mobile analyst colleagues -- mobile will take a village, even inside Forrester!)

Comments

Agreed 100%. I'm thinking

Agreed 100%. I'm thinking that most organizations have two years (?) to get ready for widespread tablet deployment, i.e. hardware, software, technical skills.

Bit of a head-scratcher

Ted,

I was surprised to discover that the CDMA iPhone does not contain a multimode chip, which means it can only roam onto other CDMA networks and not onto W-CDMA networks such as those throughout Western Europe (including those operated by VZW's other parent, Vodafone). It's perplexing given that virtually of the carrier's top line business-oriented phones such as the Droid Pro and BlackBerry Bold are "World" phones that allow their owners to connect virtually anywhere in the world.

Granted, few Americans travel overseas, but for those business travelers who do the Verizon iPhone will be a tough sell. Verizon claims you will be able to use its iPhone in 40+ countries for voice and 20+ countries for data, but a minority of those data connections will be on EV-DO (its flavor of mobile broadband). In contrast, AT&T claims 220+ voice roaming partner countries and 200+ for data.

Given that choosing multimode translates to a higher bill of materials, it seems most likely to me that Verizon decided that the iPhone is primarily for consumers and wasn't willing to pay the premium needed to offer global roaming. In addition, as I've said, Verizon's strategic commitment is to Droid so it makes sense they'd prefer to present phones like the Droid Pro as the preferred option for its world-traveling business customers.

CSG