Apple iPhone Infiltrates BlackBerry's Enterprise Stronghold

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

Once a realm ruled by the mighty BlackBerry, the enterprise has been infiltrated by the Apple iPhone in recent months. Now enterprise mobility management vendor Trust Digital is giving IT organizations some control over these upstart devices. And Trust Digital is also introducing a channel program for solution providers, service providers and systems integrators.

Solution providers looking to support mobility and mobile phones such as BlackBerry and Treo as a part of their practice have been noticing something different lately. The realm once ruled by BlackBerry has been infiltrated by a young upstart—the Apple iPhone.

During Apple's most recent earnings call, company executives told analysts that iPhones were being used in 50 of the Fortune 100 companies today. It's something that enterprise mobility solution providers have been noticing as well.

"We are starting to get requests to support the iPhone," says Melanie Gray, president and CEO of Movero Technology, an enterprise mobility solution provider based in Austin, Texas. "This is not just something I'm supporting on the side now."

Companies that never would have thought of letting in an iPhone a year ago have allowed employees to start using their devices on the corporate network and now are looking for ways to roll them out to the rest of the staff, Gray says.

This provides more of a services opportunity for solution providers like Movero, says Gray, who notes that she doesn't mind that Apple doesn't really have a reseller program for the iPhone. Her company doesn't make money on device sales; it makes money on services.

"I love all the new mobile OSes coming out," she says. "They are a new challenge to the enterprise. Now you have multiple carriers with different OSes. Now you have iPhone and Android coming in."

Part of the reason why the iPhone is making inroads into this exclusive club of enterprise mobility solutions is that other new solutions are available that make the iPhone more enterprise-friendly. Case in point: Trust Digital, which is introducing a new channel partner program Nov. 16 that incorporates the iPhone into its enterprise mobility management solution.

Trust Digital offers an enterprise mobility management console for iPhones that enables secure e-mail access, the creation and provisioning of device policies, the distribution of device certificates, and the monitoring of device status, and also ensures user and corporate compliance, according to the company.

Nick Turner, vice president of service provider sales for Trust Digital, says solutions such as BlackBerry Enterprise Server provide control and management for an array of devices, giving managers control over the fleet. And lack of that control is what IT organizations don't like about the iPhone.

However, "We fill that hole for iPhone," Turner says. Turner says Trust Digital launched iPhone support in January and it began to take off in June when the iPhone 3GS was launched.

Gray says she is using an iPhone now personally, but the rest of her sales team is still using BlackBerrys.

"That's typical for most of our customers," says Turner. "The C-level executive gets the iPhone first and then it spreads. If you look at how BlackBerry started in the enterprise—well, that's how it started, too."

At some companies, users are now "double-barreling it" with a BlackBerry in one hand and an iPhone in the other hand, says Turner.

"We have a problem today that we are not managing," he says. "Innovation is being driven by the user. We let IT embrace that."

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com