Study Examines Enterprise Smartphone-User Preferences, Trends (With Advice for IT Admins)
A new report from iPass spotlights current enterprise smartphone-users' mobile usage habits, and offers recommendations for IT.
By Al Sacco
iPass, a “provider of enterprise mobility services,” such as laptop cards and smartphone applications that offer access to iPass-approved wireless networks all over the globe, yesterday released its quarterly study focused on corporate mobility trends, and the report includes a number of noteworthy findings.
The iPass study, called “The iPass Mobile Workforce Report: Understanding Enterprise Mobility Trends and Mobile Usage,” includes data collected from two sources: iPass queried more than 1,100 mobile enterprise staffers of various ages and geographic locations during the month of October 2010 in reference to their mobile productivity, work habits, and related experiences; and the company collected enterprise mobile broadband usage statistics across its user base of nearly half a million monthly users employed at 3,500 different enterprises from July 1 through September 30, 2010.
Notable iPass finding include:
Less than one-third of enterprises had a multi-smartphone [platform] policy in place, while over two-thirds had standardized on a single smartphone [platform]. Of the organizations that standardized on one platform, BlackBerry was the number one choice (51.3 percent), followed by the iPhone (20.7 percent) and Windows Mobile (12.0 percent).
22 percent of mobile employees breached corporate policy using an unapproved smartphone for work when their companies had a standard-smartphone-platform policy in place.
18 percent of the mobile staffers queried have already experienced a relevant security issue with their smartphones. Over a quarter (26 percent) of those 34 and under have had their smartphones lost or stolen, contracted a virus, or hacked.
34 percent of mobile employees did not use their smartphones for work if they were footing the bill – having a direct and negative impact on their productivity.
Over a third of mobile employees (37 percent) believe that a mobile device will usurp the laptop for general business purposes in 2011, and 27 percent believe it will be an iPad or other tablet.
iPass respondents listed the following five factors as the most important when choosing a smartphone platform: 1) Operating system features and capabilities (including ease of use); 2) Battery life; 3) Size and clarity of the screen; 4) Number and variety of supported applications; and 5) Compatibility with cellular network of choice.
iPass also says it saw a notable difference in smartphone buying criteria across age groups.
The study states, “While younger workers appeared to lean towards the Android as their next smartphone, older mobile workers wanted to stick with their BlackBerrys. While the BlackBerry appears less slick and sexy than Android-based smartphones – the BlackBerry is familiar to older workers with its physical buttons. iPhone remains the most popular smartphone across all age groups.”
In addition to the study findings, iPass also offered up some related advice for IT administrators facing mobility-related changes.
“IT should look beyond the consumer hype in planning their smartphone deployments in 2011. While Gartner predicts the consumer market will go to Symbian and Android next year – iPass data shows that employee preference is for the iPhone and the Android. Look at implementing a flexible multi-smartphone policies that take employee preference into consideration.”
“In planning a mobility strategy, enterprises should look beyond the laptop. Increasingly employees are relying more on smartphones and tablets, to stay connected outside of the office. These devices help employees to be more productive, and an inclusive strategy will benefit most enterprises.”
“Enterprises need to figure out how to tap into the extensive smartphone adoption by younger workers. Corporate policies that make it easy for employees to check corporate email from their smartphone is a good place to start.”
“Security issues with mobile technology are real. IT should seek to attract the outliers into the fold with policies that enable employees to use personal devices like their home computers and tablets, but also ensure those devices meet a set security criteria before they get access to corporate data. Effective communications to employees will be essential to succeed.”