Thursday, November 20, 2008

Another resounding SPLAT!

Interesting article in this week's Business Week entitled "The Only True SmartPhones" by Stephen H. Wildstrom.

Link here:

Coming from his perspective - that of user and consumer - I'd agree with him. He makes a number of points, which when viewed solely from the user perspective do indeed possess a high degree of validity and merit.

I just did a quick search on his article looking for the word "business". Didn't find it. Hmm. Isn't this Business Week?

Tried the same thing with "Enterprise". Nope. Struck out.

Because of this he has entirely missed the point of WM (+SCMDM). It's an enterprise product aimed at the business user, period. Everything he points out as being detrimental to the user experience is addressed by a properly managed device (for example, you only want your users to have Opera? Great! You control whether it's there or not - not the OEM's and not the Carriers).

The only way for a SmartPhone to be accepted as a business-class device and as the wonderful business tool that it is, is for it to be treated as such. This means having the capability to manage it exactly as you would a laptop or desktop - exactly as MS have done through SCMDM.

It also means that a SmartPhone must be trusted to the same degree as a laptop or desktop. Without having the mechanism for secure access to mission critical resources beyond just email, a SmartPhone is merely another useful gadget. Given trusted access to, say, a CRM or Sales-Force Automation-type application, however, and it suddenly becomes an immensely powerful tool which also permits the enterprise to save significant $'s - which, given the current climate, is of paramount importance.

As for the huge weaknesses in both the iPhone and Blackberry, well, again this is completely overlooked because of being viewed from the wrong perspective.

iPhone's are beautiful consumer devices. No security (to speak of) therefore unusable in the enterprise. I'd go as far as saying that any mention of the iPhone is simply inappropriate and mis-placed in a business-targeted article such as this. It's not a business tool and any attempt at making it so is going to be as successful as every other attempt to put a round nail in a square hole. On the other hand, SCMDM was built with security baked in therefore there's no need to to try add it on later.

And as for BlackBerry, Business Continuity is one of the key drivers for the enterprise and in addition to failing to scale to the enterprise, introduces 2 horrible single points of failure, the 1st being the NOC itself, which has a tendency to go down every time MS makes another announcement on Mobility, plus the Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) themselves which have no failover or redundancy capability. SCMDM has neither of these weaknesses meaning that it is now viable to consider the SmartPhone an enterprise-class device.

I hope that as the paradigm continues to shift - as it must, given that the domestic (US) market is effectively saturated with little room for differentiation between the various consumer products - that authors such as Mr Wildstrom come to recognize that mobile phone can only truly become enterprise-class devices when they are treated as such. This is exactly what Microsoft have done with Windows Mobile 6.1 and SCMDM.

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