Why does Enterprise prefer iPhone over Android?

Mobile management and security vendor Good released its quarterly device activations report. The report states that iOS dominate Android four to one in the enterprise. This is in spite of Android devices having an equal or slightly larger market share compared to iPhone.

Is it because iPhone is much better tailored for enterprise need?

That is not a likely reason. If you do a feature comparison between iOS and Android the difference will only be marginal, not enough to account for such a large difference.

To understand why it is so, we need to understand how enterprise manages new technology.

Can IT adopt any Technology they like?

IT is always working under the constraint of limited budget. Annual IT expenditure has to be within the allocated budget and there is always a demand to do more with less. So, the CIO faces the challenge of how to allocate the budget among (1) Running existing stuff, (2) New initiatives driven by ROI and (3) Manage technology upgrade.

Major share of the budget always go to keeping existing applications running smoothly. Failing to achieve this is a sure way to ensure that the CIO needs to look for alternate employment opportunity!

Any new initiative which is based on Return on Investment is most likely to be driven by business need. The budget may be a part of IT or it may come from business. The ROI may come from either increased sales or from reduced operation cost. Typically, there will be many possible projects which will vie for the limited budget and not all of them will be taken up for implementation.

The third category, which is entirely under the discretion of IT, is to manage the technology upgrade lifecycle like when to migrate to new version of MS Office or when to start supporting Android devices. Money for such initiatives is always limited and the possible options of upgrade will far exceed the available money.

In short, many promising technologies may have to wait till there is a solid business case and there is money available for adoption.

That means, just because android has become popular among consumer does not mean that IT will work on supporting such devices.

Now the question is …

How does IT choose which Technology to work on?

Only a small percentage of organization is in the business of creating technology. Most organizations, however, look at technology is an aid to designing new offerings and improving existing ones.

Such enterprises will typically have an annual IT budget and a 3-5 year rolling technology roadmap. Any technology which cannot be accommodated within the current budget but are sufficiently important will find a place in the technology roadmap – one, two, three or even five years down the line!

Each selected technology will go through a cycle where once identified, there will be a plan of acquiring and implementing it. This would be followed by a phase where it supported as a part of the effort to keep the lights on. Technology refresh may happen only when budget can be found for it.

If you want to have a feel of the process, have a look at this presentation by IDC.

So, specific technologies may never get chosen for adoption. The adoption may be delayed and in some cases it may even take as much as 3-5 years.


How does it affect the choice between iPhone and Android?

How does a technology enter into enterprise radar?

Typically, the cue will come from any of the four sources. They, in the order of importance, are:

  1. What technology vendors want to sell to enterprise
  2. What technologies competitors other similar organizations are adopting
  3. What technology analysts and technology thought leaders and recommending
  4. What market research and the field sales force are saying about changing customer preferences

Smart phones are not sold to enterprise; it is sold to individual users. So, neither iPhone nor Android device entered the technology radar through this method.

The cue from peer organizations did not come because everybody were looking around and waiting.

Though Apple launched that app store in July 2008, the analysts did not see the trend and gauge the importance till mid of 2010. For example, in the yearly hype cycle for emerging technologies published by Gartner, mobile app store did not appear till 2010. You can check the 2009 presentation by Gartner. In 2010 report, “Mobile App Store” makes its first appearance as a technology “Climbing the Slope of Enlightenment” and expected to be adopted by main stream in less than 2 years.

In short Gartner completely missed the trend.

Enterprises noticed the trend only when customers started accessing their websites from iPhone and there was a huge increase of traffic from iPhone. This pushed the iPhone app and mobile web site into the enterprise technology management lifecycle and IT has started supporting iPhones.

The spurt for Android popularity happened only around middle of 2010. Therefore, Android would have entered the TLM lifecycle much later and you will probably have to wait for a year or two to see large scale adoption by enterprise!

This, in short, is called “Consumerization of IT”

The process of identification and analysis of each of these viewpoints is a complex process. To aid this process 2 popular models are used to describe how any new technology gets adopted by enterprise (1) Technology Adoption Lifecycle Model and (2) Gartner Hype Cycle Model.

Next >> Are the traditional technology adoption models still valid?

<< PreviousWhy Consumerization Of IT Is Happening Now?

4 Responses to “Why does Enterprise prefer iPhone over Android?”
  1. nklata says:

    One another reason maybe the focus on security that is perceived in iOS as compared to Android devices.

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