Gartner in two minds about Apple iPhone

Analyst firm Gartner has found itself caught between two points of view over whether enterprises should embrace or ban the Apple iPhone.

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Analyst firm Gartner has found itself caught between two points of view over whether enterprises should embrace or ban the Apple iPhone.

Gartner has issued two reports thatappear to contradict each other this week.

In the first, a research note, two Gartner analysts warned that the iPhone was "not yet an enterprise device" and urged businesses to "resist general requests from users to admit Apple's iPhone into their corporate environment".

But the analyst firm has also issued a separate press release, headlined: "Companies must embrace consumer technologies as additional opportunities to innovate." The release quotes a third Gartner analyst, Jackie Fenn, who highlights the value of "embracing and leveraging employee experimentation and experience with consumer technologies".

The research note, co-authored by analyst Ken Dulaney, advises companies on “how to plan for user interest” in the iPhone. But it urges that "general requests to support iPhone should not be fulfilled on the basis that the device cannot be fully secured and managed" to appropriate levels.

"IT organisations should refuse to support the iPhone at this time," the research note continues. "If for political reasons this is not an option, then the iPhone should be placed under the concierge support level... meaning that support will be granted as an exception, with the associated costs for support covered by a monthly billing to pay for the dedicated support staff uniquely trained for this device."

The note adds that the resulting total cost of ownership will be double the cost of a normally supported device, such as a BlackBerry or Palm’s Treo.

But the note also urges IT managers to familiarise themselves with the iPhone because "broad employee adoption" is expected to occur outside the workplace.

Despite Dulaney's caution, the prevailing view from Gartner and many analysts may be summarised in a comment from Fenn in the Gartner press release. "The flood of consumer-led technologies into the enterprise is not going to subside," Fenn said. "To fully realise the benefits, IT must embrace these technologies as an ongoing strategy rather than on a case-by-case basis."

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