Okay, so Verizon Wireless (VZW) now will offer iPhone 4s to its customers on its 3G network. (The official launch date is February 10, 2011). What does this mean for content & collaboration professionals? A lot, as it turns out, as yet another brick is laid in the post-PC future.
Forrester customers can read the new report by my colleague Charles Golvin analyzing the impact on the industry and the consumer market. Here are some thoughts on what this deal means for the enterprise and for content and collaboration professionals. iPhone-on-VZW means:
- You have yet one more reason to support iPhones. Mobile service provider choice is important on smartphones and tablets, both to provide good network coverage to employees and also to keep competition high hence prices low. AT&T Mobility’s lock on iPhone in the US was one reason some firms have been reluctant to support iPhone. With iPhone-on-VZW (not to mention the aggressive $30/month introductory pricing for an unlimited data plan), that barrier is gone.
- Yet more employees will bring their personal iPhones to work and ask for your help. Verizon Wireless has been driving the consumerization of Android devices; it will now also spend some money promoting and selling iPhone-on-VZW. This will only increase the “osmotic pressure” of employees aka consumers bringing their personal devices to work. And they will want more than just email on their personal smartphones; they will also ask for SharePoint and the employee portal and and and . . .
- You will feel yet more pressure to create a smart mobile strategy. Mandate, Devices, Applications (employee and customer), Development, Security, Management, Policy, Procurement: those are the chapters in the mobile strategy guidebook. If you haven’t already, pull together a mobile team that spans IT and business roles to lay the groundwork for your mobile strategy. The mission: Mobilize absolutely everything. Start with a device management strategy so you can provision and secure Apple and Android (and Windows 7 and Symbian and WebOS and and and) devices in addition to the RIM BlackBerry devices you already support.
It’s A Post-PC Future: Design For Mobile, Provision Everywhere
Content & Collaboration professionals need to stop thinking about PCs as the design point for email, workspaces, conferencing, and social tools and start thinking about a world where employees expect and will use tools on any device, including personal smartphones and tablets. In this post-PC world, you and your software and cloud service providers will have to design the service experience for smartphones first, then consider how the service will be used and managed on tablets, work PCs, and home computers. The reason for this draconian shift in the design point is that we need first to overcome decades of muscle memory of designing for a Windows PC on a corporate network. We are so entrenched in this that it will be difficult to design for any device anywhere on any network. But design we must.
There’s a lot to do to be ready for this world. Are you ready?
(Thanks to Charles Golvin, Ben Gray, Jeffrey Hammond, Brownlee Thomas, Christian Kane for help on this post and for being such great mobile analyst colleagues — mobile will take a village, even inside Forrester!)