iPhone Knocking on the Enterprise - Page 2

 By Richard Adhikari
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Here come the third-party vendors

Support from major players such as Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) and Oracle, (NASDAQ: ORCL) who have announced that they will launch applications on the iPhone, strengthen its possibility for enterprise use.

Almost all Oracle's applications are Web-based, which means they will be accessible on the iPhone as well as other mobile devices, vice president of product management for Oracle business intelligence Paul Rodwick told InternetNews.com. "The strategy is to have thin-client Web-based applications that run on a variety of platforms," Rodwick added.

Salesforce.com, meanwhile, sees its twin strategies of platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) (define) as very well suited for the iPhone. "Our mobile technology will enable any of our CRM applications and the more than 72,000 Force.com custom applications developed by our customers to work on the iPhone," vice president of Salesforce Mobile Chuck Dietrich told InternetNews.com.

The company will keep investing in the iPhone platform because "Apple and Salesforce have a shared vision of what can be done on mobile devices -- Apple's leadership and interface, and the flexibility and customization capabilities of the Force.com platform make the iPhone and Force.com platform a powerful combination," Bruce Francis, Salesforce.com's vice president of corporate strategy, told InternetNews.com.

With the pace of business constantly increasing, BI is becoming increasingly critical, and BI offerings from vendors other than Oracle are already available on the iPhone. Information Builders and open source BI vendor Pentaho offer access to their BI applications from the iPhone.

Meanwhile, on-demand enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor NetSuite (NYSE: N) has been providing users access to data in its systems through the iPhone since July 2007. Users get access to the company's enterprise resource planning (ERP) (define), customer relationship management (CRM) (define) and e-commerce functions on the device.

Third-party vendors also offer products in this area. Apptix, 123Together and Elephant Outlook have announced hosted Microsoft Exchange 2007 services on the iPhone through ActiveSync. According to 123Together, its application lets a company's IT staff remotely wipe a user's device if it's lost or stolen, to prevent loss of corporate and personal data.

Meanwhile, Transmedia is offering advanced Microsoft Word document support with automatic desktop synchronization and version control on the iPhone through its Glide OS 3.0 product. And Managed IT service provider mindSHIFT Technologies is offering enterprise application synchronization through Microsoft ActiveSync.

One alternative to Exchange is the Linux-based PostPath Server, which offers Linux-based enterprise messaging collaboration. It works out of the box with the iPhone, supports the Exchange ecosystem -- Outlook, BlackBerry Enterprise Server and ActiveSync -- and can be managed with Active Directory tools, PostPath's Miri said.

Wireless enterprise e-mail and personal information manager (PIM) (define) synchronization support for Microsoft Exchange users is not enough, Notify Technologies contends. It is extending this support to 12 other e-mail suites through its NotifyLink Enterprise Edition product.

Earlier this year, Sybase released iAnywhere Mobile Office, which provides secure delivery of Lotus Domino and Microsoft Exchange enterprise e-mail to users. Sybase plans to enhance other iAnywhere Mobile Office components and support the iPhone e-mail and PIM services.

Meanwhile, GoTrusted.com has launched a Web-based application that makes it easier to add WiFi data security to any Apple iPhone or iTouch device by creating a subscription to its Internet security service. That service encrypts all local network traffic.

Enterprises using hosted Exchange or PostPath applications will be able to use the servers' encryption services. Those using Lotus Domino can leverage Sybase's secure delivery of Domino enterprise e-mail.

Further, the iPhone 3G supports Cisco IPSec, (define) VPN (virtual private network) (define) and WPA2 (define) Enterprise with 802.1X authentication, according to Apple's site. This will enhance security, because enterprise iPhone users can tunnel through to Cisco's VPN from the iPhone using IPSec, PostPath's Miri said.

Ultimately, the question of whether an iPhone is secure enough for mobile workers boils down to how much data will be compromised when a device is lost. "Would you rather lose a laptop, which may have three years' worth of sensitive data and enterprise information on its 120 G-byte hard drive, or an iPhone, which has 8 GB which you can remotely wipe in three seconds?" Miri asked.

Sure, hurdles exist now, but an ecosystem is forming for iPhone in the enterprise. Analysts and industry observers alike say it's not a matter of if, but when the iPhone in the enterprise starts to take root.

Article courtesy of InternetNews.com

This article was originally published on Jul 15, 2008
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