In part one of this series, we presented a list of questions that you should ask yourself to determine the "must haves" for smartphones in your enterprise. In this second and final part of the series, we tell you what to do once you've answered those questions.
You will first need to decide which operating system(s) you want to support. Smartphones with certain operating systems can be integrated into your corporate data systems more easily than others, based on their viability for corporate use.
You can be assured almost without exception that any BlackBerry will include all of the capabilities listed in part one of this series. Microsoft's Windows 7 has not reached the marketplace with a large number of devices, but from past releases, you can be 99% sure that Microsoft will continue to integrate corporate device management and security in all of the phones that run on its Windows Mobile operating system. Apple has made tremendous strides with its OS and its integration with business basics (email, etc.) on its iPhone, but it still doesn't offer all of the capabilities demanded by the more conservative corporate IT departments. Google insists it will offer a "business" version of its phone soon, but it remains to be seen if Android devices will start including capabilities needed in a corporate environment.
Once you have decided which operating platform(s) you are willing to support, you must decide whether to allow any device that runs one of your selected operating systems or limit devices to a few specific models. Choosing the right smartphones for your employees is not easy. With so many different choices, the decision to allow several types of smartphones into your company could result in hidden costs for provisioning and supporting them.
In addition, most of today's smartphones contain consumer features and applications that might not be wanted. This is one more reason to consider making sure the smartphones you select are capable of being externally managed so features can be turned off (e.g., streaming audio) or kept on (e.g., GPS) during normal business hours. The best way to determine your exact needs is to make a list of capabilities your workforce absolutely has to have, those that might be nice to have, those you don't really care about and, of course, those you don't want at all.
And remember, just because smartphones are the fastest-selling wireless devices does not mean all of your employees need them. A simpler phone with fewer capabilities can often meet the requirements of particular groups of employees. One of the reasons we have such a variety of choices is because this is not a one-size-fits-all world--you do not have to choose a single class of phone for all of your employees.
Andrew M. Seybold is CEO & Principal Analyst with Andrew Seybold, Inc., a wireless industry consulting and research firm. Visit www.andrewseybold.com for more information.