By Dave Hannon
As the recent SAP TechEd conference, there was obviously a LOT of talk about mobile solutions in the enterprise. SAP is certainly preparing for this wave and most IT users seem like they are ready to go mobile as well. But there was one unanswered question that sort of popped up in a few of the mobile sessions at TechEd: Who owns the mobile device that the enterprise apps will run on?
In case you haven't noticed, there's a gradual transition from the company paying for and issuing mobile devices to the use of personal smart phones and PDAs for work-related tasks. When the first generation BlackBerries came out, they were primarily issued to high-level executives who were deemed worthy of such technology. It was a status symbol of sorts in the corporate culture. Then it was the salespeople out on the road--sure that made sense. We need those folks to be in touch. And soon everyone was asking for one, and companies realized they can't afford that.
But as smartphones have become more common--and more of a personal preference--many companies have stopped issuing devices to people and just ask them to use their personal devices for work purposes. And I, like a lot of people, was somewhat reluctant to use my personal mobile phone, which I pay for, for work purposes early on. "Hey, if they want me to be in touch 24/7, they have to pay for it" was my thinking. (A Sybase presenter at TechEd, by the way, admitted that Sybase pays the monthly fees for employees' mobile devices).
Of course, that's changed and I call, tweet and text for work on my personal device. B
ut I think it might be another story if I'm asked to hand my personal phone over to my company's IT organization so they can install the necessary software or security tools to make sure it's capable of accessing corporate data securely. I'm not sure most of us are ready to do.
But in reality, that's what is going to be required for mobile enterprise applications to take off. Few companies will be willing to spend the cash to issue devices to all employees, but they sure don't want people accessing the company's sensitive data with any old clunker. And they'll likely need to install or at least service installed apps to provide that access.
So are YOU willing to hand your personal mobile device to your IT org? Take the poll here: